How to pray for a relationship to be restored

Question

I am 23 years old. One year ago, I was living, working and studying in the Middle East. While there, I met a young, God-fearing woman who was also doing the work of the kingdom in that dark place. Over a five-month period, we became very close friends, but due to cultural norms never spent time just the two of us, only in groups of other believers.

In the spring, I began to fervently pray about pursuing a relationship with her. In mid-summer, after we had both returned to our respective homes in the United States (remaining in close contact via telephone), I finally expressed my interest in pursuing a deeper relationship with her. She eagerly explained that she had been desirous of the same and had been waiting for some months for me to lead and pursue her. Thus began a long-distance relationship, under the guidance and blessing of our parents.

She returned to the Middle East in the fall while I stayed in the U.S. to work and complete my undergraduate degree. We talked on Internet video chat at least twice a week, and often four or five times per week, for hours at a time. The distance was hard, but we were committed to each other and to having a relationship that honored God in every way.

By November, I was certain I wanted to marry her and saw the hand of God in bringing us to each other. I spoke to her father on the telephone, and over several conversations over the course of a few weeks, received his permission and blessing to propose to her. She flew to my home and spent 10 days with me and my family during her Christmas break, in which time I proposed and she enthusiastically said “yes!” We then visited her family for 10 days before I had to return home and she to her work in the Middle East.

Less than three weeks later we had the first noteworthy miscommunication/conflict in our relationship. We both used words and said things in ways that we would come to regret.

After several days of frustrating phone calls, we took two days to just breathe. I emailed her, expressing my sorrow over the situation, asked forgiveness and sought to work together to strengthen our relationship and communicate better in the future.

The following day, she called me. The first thing she said was, “I got your letter. I forgive you, but I can’t marry you.” The rest of the conversation was a blur. She offered a few “reasons” that didn’t make sense and refused to answer any questions. Her father then contacted me and instructed that I cease all communication with her, and if I had anything to say, I should speak to him.

Here is my dilemma: I love her. I don’t know why she ended the relationship (the conflict was minor, from my point of view). I promised her when I proposed that I would fight for her, that I would love her and that I would give myself totally to building a godly relationship with her. But I’ve been instructed not to contact her. So how do I fight for her?

I have spent nearly a month praying, fasting and coming into a deeper and more intimate relationship with my Savior than ever before. And I am more convinced than ever before that God brought us together for a reason. He does not delight in the suffering of His children, He does not delight in the pain of sin and broken relationships, and He can restore. This I know is true. But do I continue to fight for her? If so, how?

She is an adult (25 years old). She submits to her father’s spiritual authority and as such, where our relationship is concerned, so do I. I have spoken with him several times, but he has offered very little encouragement toward restoration. In the absence of any contact from her, what can I do? Scriptures on fasting, praying and especially waiting on the Lord are constantly on my mind and in my daily prayers. But how long is too long to wait? How long is too long to hope?

Some friends and family suggest I “just let her go.” Others admire me for fighting but admit that they wouldn’t. I know that God could have another woman “out there” for me … but my heart tells me that I don’t want to love any other woman. So I am torn. The waiting seems endless.

Psalm 27:13-14 is my constant encouragement: “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” So how long is it wise to wait and pray for this relationship, to believe in restoration? Your thoughts would be deeply appreciated.

Answer

You are doing exactly what you should be doing. You’re handling yourself with a lot of emotional maturity and trust in God’s goodness. You’re being intentional and not passive. You’re letting God use the situation to reveal more of His heart to you, and, as you noted, you sense a greater connection with Him as a result.

All things being equal, it seems highly unusual that she would break off an engagement based on the first significant miscommunication. Let me give you some of my thoughts about that.

First, it could have caused her some shock to discover the ugliness that can boil to the surface between two people, even two people with such strong affection for one another.

I remember when my wife (then soon-to-be fiancée) and I had a similar first fight. I can’t even remember what it was about, but I do remember being stunned that it happened. How could two people who love each other so deeply be capable of such hurtful words and actions? I thought we were different than all those other couples!

The simple answer is that despite belonging to Christ, we still wrestle with what Scripture calls the flesh, and the flesh is capable of some shocking ugliness. Of course those kinds of boil-overs shouldn’t be a daily occurrence, but it does happen once in a while, even in a healthy relationship.

We all know about the flesh, but when that junk comes roaring up to the surface for the first time in the most significant relationship you’ve ever had with someone, it can be deeply disturbing, so much so that it might cause you to question the entire relationship.

Doubtless, you and others have tried to encourage and comfort her with these same words, but if not I throw them out there for everyone’s consideration.

Second — and speaking of others — I do think it is significant that her parents appear to be supporting her decision without any indication — at least none that you mention — that she is acting unreasonably.

Her parents are in all likelihood aware of those facts of the flesh I mention above, so it makes me wonder if there’s more to what’s going on than this single event.

At this point my thoughts turn to those “other reasons” you mention she shared with you that didn’t make sense to you. Whether they make sense to you isn’t the main issue. They make sense to her, at least for now, and that has settled the issue from her standpoint.

At this point, I advise that you get as clear as you can on her reasons for not wanting to marry you. You might write those down as best as you understand them to be.

Then contact her parents by phone and let them know you simply want to do your best to get total clarity on why, from her standpoint, all this has happened so that you haven’t missed anything. I’d ask permission to contact her one more time personally. If they say yes, great. If not, then do this with her parents.

Check your list with their list. If something comes to your attention that you think could clear the fog, then pursue it. If there are no new revelations, then let them know that you love her deeply, that you want to do all that is within your power to reconcile and contend for her heart, but that you also want to be honoring to them and to her by respecting their request to not contact her, as difficult as that will be.

Let them know that you are leaving the communication line wide open for them to be in contact with you should there be any reason for it, and that you hope there might still be some chance for a change of heart down the road.

Then loosen your grip, and leave it in God’s hands.

I wish I could tell you how long to wait, but I can’t. It might be a month, or six months or a year. I just don’t know. God has His timing. I can only tell you that if you keep in step with God, I think you’ll know it when it’s time to no longer contend for this relationship.

If nothing turns with her, then over time you’ll feel a release and discover the ability to have affection for someone else. I know that sounds hard to believe at the moment, but it’s true.

As a final piece of advice, I’d say stay close to a mentor, someone you trust to give you good counsel and keep him up to speed on how your heart is doing with all of this. You really need a sounding board to help you think this through as it progresses.

And please keep us posted.

Blessings,

JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2010 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.

www.boundless.org

I have a friend who says that relationships are like gardens, they must be cultivated. She also said that the most difficult thing to restore is a broken relationship. Though it is difficult to do, broken relationships can be restored and as with other issues of life, the Bible has guidance for this. Here are 5 Biblical steps for restoring broken relationships.

Be Sure All are Committed With Love

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Loss of commitment in a relationship will lead to a breakup. Cultivation of a relationship requires hard work and much love. Lovingly remind others in a broken relationship that you care for them. Tell them you are committed to restoring the relationship and keeping it healthy. Ask them if they are willing to do the same. Commitment to the relationship is the first step to restoration and all parties in the relationship must be committed to it.

Humble Yourself

Commitment, humility, time, forgiveness and proper communication …

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Proverbs 6:3

One of the greatest things you can do to restore a broken relationship is to humble yourself and admit where you were wrong. God loves a humble heart and He will be glorified when you take this brave step forward and admit how your actions contributed to the breakup. Your humble attitude will show the love of Christ and possibly cause others to do the same.

Don’t Rush It

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:14

Remember that sometimes the Lord gives us trials in our life so that we take time to cultivate our relationship with Him. When our relationship with the Lord is right all other relationships on earth fall into place. Don’t forget to “take time” to examine your relationship with the Lord, spend time daily with Him in His word and ask Him for his guidance with restoration. Then when He gives an answer trust Him to make it happen.

Ask Forgiveness and Grant Forgiveness

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

Just as it is important to humble ourselves and admit when we are wrong, it is important to ask for forgiveness. When you ask forgiveness the forgiving party forfeits their right to ever bring it up again. We can choose to remember the transgressions no more, just as the Lord does (Isaiah 43:25-26). The same holds true when you grant forgiveness to another, put it behind you and don’t bring it up again. Forgiveness is a key component to restoration of a relationship.

Remember the Rules of Communication

Moving forward with a healthy relationship requires proper communication. These four simple rules are easy to remember and priceless when applied. Memorize them and teach them to those with whom you have relations. You will be blessed.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ephesians 4:15

1. Be Honest – Speak the truth in love and remember shouting does not make it true.

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

2. Keep current – Resolve your issues today and once they are resolved do not bring then back up tomorrow.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:29-30

3. Attack the problem, not the person – Take care to speak kindly to one another. Avoid absolutes like “always”, “never”, “ever”. For example instead of saying “You NEVER take out the trash” consider saying “It would be helpful if you take out the trash more often”. When we are not careful how we say things we are grieving the Holy Spirit because He would NEVER prompt us to do that.

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. (Proverbs 18:13,15,17,19)

4. Act, Don’t React – I believe this is the most difficult thing to bear in mind when we are communicating. It is so easy to respond in an ungodly way when we are in the heat of discussion. It is only when we take care to think about the information being presented and then slowly respond that we are able to act instead of reacting.

In Summary

Relationships, just like gardens are hard work. They require constant cultivation. Commitment, humility, time, forgiveness and proper communication are all steps that will lead to restoration in a way that will please the Lord. I pray that if you are struggling with a relationship that you have the courage to read, meditate upon and share this article with others and that you will soon be on your way to restoration. May God bless you as you choose His way.

Resource – The Holy Bible, King James Version

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Prayer for relationship Strengthening, Restoration and Guidance. Our relationships with friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues shape our lives. We demonstrate our love for people with communication, time spent together, patience, and compassion.

When we move to a new town, start a new job, or attend a new school, we can feel lonely and disconnected, we feel like we lost something very important. Simply put, we all want to belong.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, after human’s basic needs (physiological and safety) are met, humans need to feel secure in intimate relationships and friendships (MacLeod, 2016). That’s why we need prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration, an guidance.

That’s because God designed us to live and work in community. Have you stopped to think about the Greatest Commandment? (Matthew 22:34-40) It boils down to “Love God and love others as yourself”.

Praying about our needs

Prayer is communication with God. We can talk with Him at any time – all we have to do is speak His name! 1 John 5:14 – “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us”.

This also means that we can talk to Him when we feel lonely, a need for connection! God hears and answers prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration and guidance.

Putting it into Practice Prayer for Relationship Strengthening, Restoration, and Guidance

How can be put prayer for relationship strengthening, restoration and guidance into practice? (I mean, how often are we told, “Just pray about it” but not given some kind of guidance?) I suggest following these steps:

  1. Begin with Praise.
  2. Ask God to bring people into your path.
  3. Ask God to protect you from people who aren’t in His will for Your life.
  4. Thank Him.

1. Begin with Praise

When you pray, begin by thanking God for what He has given you or done for you. Not sure where to start? I find myself saying:

God, I praise You and thank-you because You have given me hope and a future. You love me enough to extend the gift of underserved grace through Your Son, Jesus.

Doing this puts our hearts in line with His. If you’re not sure where to start, meditate on Psalm 145.

2. Ask God to bring people into your path

Like I said, before, prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God. I love that I can be honest with Him:

Lord, I am feeling lonely. I need some friends to connect with! Please restore my lost relationships with my friends. Please bring people who can be solid friends into my life.

This is the time when prayer for relationship really comes into play. What characteristics are you looking for in a friend?

3. Ask God to protect you from people who aren’t in His will for Your life

A friend in college told me about prayer and, at first, I thought it was odd. But I believe it fits here as we’re talking about prayer for relationship. My friend shared with me that when she started praying this, she saw man she was interested in dating get redirected to different classes, jobs, or even schools.

I’ve said this prayer many times and people (even other Christians) have moved on from my life. It’s hard to understand why things happen, but this prayer has given me peace that God has an active and loving hand in my life.

Lord, You are a God of love and You protect Your children. Give me wisdom regarding the people I come in contact with. Lord, give me guidance and please protect me from people who are not in Your will for my life.

4. Thank Him

When I think about God’s character, I am reminded that God is always motivated by love.

God, thank You that You listen whenever we call Your name. Thank You for what You provided me with today . You are a loving Father and I am grateful! Amen!

I know that He will answer prayers in His time and He will meet all my needs. I love to meditate on this verse when I need a reminder: “Do not be about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 )

What are the fruits of the prayer?

The Lord is faithful and He is always looking out for our best interest. God will bring people into your life to meet your relationship needs. When that happens, remember to thank Him for His demonstration of love.

Also read: PRAYER OF FAITH – Faithful Examples in the Bible

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people were easier?

If every parent, child, sibling, spouse, neighbor, and friend could get along blissfully?

But we don’t. Relationships are messy!

And unfortunately, some end in brokenness.

Everyone I know has had at least one relationship end unpleasantly and many that had ended painfully leaving heart scars behind.

Because…

The closer the relationship the deeper the wound when it ends.

I’m guessing you have someone who came to mind … some strained or broken relationship that causes you sadness or heartache.

So, today I’m going to the Lord to pray for my broken relationships and I’d like to invite you to join me and pray for yours as well.

how to pray for a relationship to be restored

5 Helpful Verses to Pray for Your Broken Relationships

Romans 15:5–6

May the patience and encouragement that come from God allow you to live in harmony with each other the way Christ Jesus wants. Then you will all be joined together, and you will give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NCV)

Father, Your Word tells me you want us to “live in harmony” with each other. What a good word. We don’t have to “sing in unison” we just need to blend well — not always agreeing but listening to understand and work together. Help me! I can be so stubborn. Please forgive me. I often think of how much better life could be if everyone just agreed with me. But You made us each unique and wonderful. Help me listen. Help me love like Jesus. Please work in my heart and the hearts of those who have grown distant and heal what is broken for our good and Your glory. Amen.

James 3:2

We all make many mistakes. If people never said anything wrong, they would be perfect and able to control their entire selves, too. (NCV)

Father, Your word says, “everyone sins.” It also says, our tongues “are wild and evil and full of deadly poison.” It shouldn’t surprise us when we hurt each other with words and actions. Please forgive me for the thoughtless and unkind word I’ve said or thing I’ve done. And help me forgive _________ for the things he/she did that hurt me. We need You. Amen.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. (NCV)

Father, forgiveness is hard, especially when I’m hurt and angry. I want to be kind and loving consistently but oh my, I fail. And when I come to You sorry for the things I’ve said and done, I trust Your faithful love and amazing grace to forgive me. I need Your help to forgive _________. Please fill me with Your Spirit. Remind me of the countless times You have forgiven me and tender my heart to be more forgiving.

Father, I also ask that you would help _________ forgive me. Give me the courage I need to humble myself and repent of any pain I’ve caused. Restore what is broken by Your grace. Amen.

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. (NCV)

Father, this is hard. I don’t wait well. I want to do or say something that will magically fix this. Help me remember that You may be using this time to work on me and to work on ___________. I don’t want to get in the way of what you’re doing but I get so impatient. It sometimes takes more courage and strength to wait than it does to act. So, I will come to You today and every day asking for Your guidance. Help me wait when that is Your will and then, help me know when and how to act when the time is right. I need Your help. Amen.

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Colossians 3:12

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (NCV)

Father, I need a wardrobe adjustment. When I think about how often I fail to wear mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience … I’m ashamed! And You love me even with my tattered attire. With Your help, I believe _________ and I can do a better job of loving each other. So, today I’m asking You to show me where I need to do better and love well. Heal our hearts, Father. Help us forgive. Help us to love like Jesus and by Your grace, heal our relationship. In Jesus name, Amen.

I would love to pray for your broken relationships. Please leave a prayer request in the comments or if you don’t want to leave your name you can go to our Blessing Counters Pray Page and leave one there.

God bless you, my friends, and encourage you with His grace, mercy, and love.

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how to pray for a relationship to be restored7 Admirable Qualities Every Christian Must Choose to Embody

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how to pray for a relationship to be restored

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