The Weight of Singleness Part III: Praying While You Wait

Over the next few days, people all around the world will celebrate Valentine’s Day with their significant other. Chocolates and flowers and over-sized teddy bears will be given to show infatuation for someone. Restaurant tables will be reserved, hotel rooms booked, and babysitters hired. “Love” (by the world’s watered-down definition) is most definitely in the air this time of year.

Although Valentine’s Day is known as a day of showing love, there is a large demographic that often feels left out: singles. Many people will spend this Valentine’s Day alone, whether it be for the first time in a long time or for the 25th straight year. February 14th can be a really hard day for single people, especially those who are Christians.

Single Christians oftentimes do not know what they should do on Valentine’s Day. They are obviously not going to (read: shouldn’t) look for a hook-up last minute and do not want to tag along as a third- or fifth- or seventh-wheel with their friends. Maybe they’ll just buy a gallon of moose tracks and sit alone at home and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy (no? just me?). Or they could ride around in their car, bawling their eyes out, listening to the playlist they’ve created for their eventual wedding (that one can’t just be me).

As funny (or realistic) as those scenarios may be, there is no doubt about it: being a single person in a world where your relationship status holds just as much importance as the career you have or the property you own is extremely difficult. My biggest recommendation for people who are unhappy with their singleness is to pray about what the Lord is doing in their life.

If you have read either of my first two articles about singleness (The Weight of Singleness and The Weight of Singleness Part II), you know that I truly believe in the importance and power of prayer. Praying is one of the greatest gifts that the Lord has given us. We get to communicate with God the Father anytime, anywhere, for any reason. By praying when the weight of our singleness gets almost too heavy to bear, we are “casting [our] anxieties on Him, because He cares for [us],” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV).

However, I want to suggest some prayers to the single Christian that do not specifically pertain to singleness but, rather, holiness. I think a lot of us have forgotten that our end goal in life is not to have a family and a successful career and the nicest house on the block but to know Jesus and make Him known. One of my favorite theologians, A.W. Tozer, quoted this in his book The Pursuit of God: “The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.” We should put our holiness far above our happiness. We should put our relationship with the Lord far above our want for a relationship here on earth.  When we take our eyes off of our current circumstance and focus on the greater picture of becoming who the Lord is calling us to be, we not only start to see our singleness as a blessing – more importantly, we start to see Christ as our greatest treasure. Use these years of singleness to start allowing the Lord to work on who you are becoming as an individual, Spirit-indwelt person. You may not have these years much longer.

1)    Pray for your sanctification

As Christians, the way that God makes us more like Jesus Christ is through the process of sanctification. In my first article on singleness, I stated: “Prayer is about being in awe of who the Lord is and surrendering everything to Him.” I should add, “prayer is also about becoming more like Jesus.” When we pray for the Lord to sanctify us, He gives us opportunities to become more like Jesus by the situations and circumstances He has put us in. Sometimes it may hurt to do the Christ-like thing, sometimes it may be awkward, sometimes it may result in embarrassment, but it is beneficial every time. Pray that the Lord would give you opportunities to be an example of Christ every day in your community, in your workplace, and in your home.

Verses for reference:

Romans 6:19, 22

“…For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification…since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification – and the outcome is eternal life!”

Example prayer:

Father God, I pray that You would continue to sanctify me and make me more like Christ. Thank you for saving me from the sin I was in and giving me the gift eternal life! Give me opportunities to put Jesus on display in my everyday life and help me be an obedient slave to righteousness, no matter how hard or awkward or embarrassing it may get. Amen.

2)   Pray for your study of God’s Word

In your pursuit of the Lord, the only true way to know more about Him is by studying His Word. Although it is sometimes hard to understand and we can often get too busy to study the Bible, it is important to pray for the motivation to dig into God’s Word at some point during your day. Tell the Lord that you want to learn to love His Word and you long to better understand it. Once you start praying for it, let the Lord guide you to figure out the best time for you to read your Bible.

Verses for reference:

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Example prayer:

Lord, thank You for Your Word and that You have given it to me in a language that I understand. God, I pray that You would give me the motivation to get out of bed early in the morning or stay up late in the afternoon to really dig deep into Scripture. I pray that I would see Your Word as a guiding light for me, showing me more of who You are and more of who You have called me to be. Lord, use Your Word to teach me, rebuke me, correct me, and train me in righteousness. I ask that You would judge the thoughts and intentions of my heart through Your Word, God. Amen.

3)   Pray that God would reveal your sin

Asking God to convict us of sin in our lives is never an easy thing to do. But in reality, sin is what separates us from God, and we should always want to be close to Him. When He reveals our sin to us, we are able to see His goodness at work in our lives. Sometimes our subconscious sin is so hard to see that we need the light of God’s holiness to shine on our hearts and reveal it to us so that we may be made clean. Then we can repent and ask for forgiveness knowing that He is gracious to forgive us through His Son, Jesus.

Verses for reference:

Luke 24:47

“… and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

Acts 2:38

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.”

2 Peter 3:9

“The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”

Other Scriptures: Psalm 38, Psalm 51

Example prayer:

God, I know that I am a sinner and that there are things that You see in me that I do not even see in myself. I pray, Lord, that You would help me recognize my sin and give me a repentant heart so that I turn away from it. Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die on my behalf so that I may be forgiven of my sin. Help me fight the temptations that come my way and not fall back into the sin that once enslaved me. Amen.

4)   Pray for your ministry

One of the greatest things that we can become a part of is the local ministry. No matter where you are at in life, you have the opportunity to minister to the people around you. Ministry can be done with any group of people from any area of the neighborhood with any type of background. If you are part of a ministry already, thank God for giving you that opportunity. If you are not yet part of a local ministry, ask Him to open your eyes to see where you can be used in your community. Just like many of the things on this list, it is good to get started in ministry while you are still single as a lot of couples do not make time for it once they are married.

Verses for reference:

2 Corinthians 5:18

“Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”

Example prayer:

Dear Lord, show me how I can become more involved in a local ministry. I want to help people know more about You. Give me eyes to see where there is a need in the community around me. I do not want to neglect this time I have to get started in ministry. I pray that I would accurately share Your Gospel message with those in my community. Surround me with other ministry-minded people so that we may proclaim Your truth together. Amen.

5)   Pray for joy in your responsibilities

Whether we like it or not, we are all responsible for things in this earthly life. Though many of our responsibilities differ, there are a few things that we are all responsible for: our jobs/everyday tasks, our money, our health, and our relationships. By praying for our responsibilities, we are better able to understand them and take better care of them. We start to see our responsibilities as a gift to be enjoyed rather than a burden to be despised. Spend time in prayer asking the Lord to reveal your responsibilities to you and give you an appreciation for them each day.

Verses for reference:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

Proverbs 17:17

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.”

John 15:13

“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”

Other Scriptures: Genesis 24

Example prayer:

Father, thank You for this life you have given me and for the ways that You have blessed me. As I go throughout my day today, help me take care of the things that You have blessed me with. Give me wisdom when it comes to spending money, give me peace as I do my everyday job today, help me take better care of my body today, and show me how to be a better family member and friend. I know that these things can sometimes get stressful, but I pray that You would allow me to see the beauty in them all and that I would start to enjoy them. Amen.

6)   Pray that your distractions would be limited

As believers, our focus should be on Jesus always. When something gets in our way to disturb our view of Him, we have become distracted. This can happen when we spend too much time on social media scrolling through pictures of our crushes or pictures of random couples. We start to fill our minds with the relationship we want rather than filling our minds with truth. Do not allow yourself to get so preoccupied with this world that your relationship with Jesus starts to feel like second best. Pray that the Lord would limit your distractions so you may constantly keep your eyes on Jesus.

Verses for reference:

Matthew 6:33

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Example prayer:

Dear God, I know that I can easily become distracted with everything going on in the world around me. Show me how to stay focused on You and seek Your Kingdom over everything else. Give me the motivation to stay off of social media and fill my mind with more of Your truth. You are my greatest treasure and I want to keep You in the forefront of my mind at all times. Amen.

7)   Pray for patience and contentment

Whenever we get anxious and worried about our current or future relationship status, we should ask the Lord to give us patience and contentment. These are two characteristics we see in the Bible a lot, but we don’t see them lived out well in the people around us. As a society, we have become less patient and less content with our circumstances. People have started to take things into their own hands rather than waiting patiently on the Lord to act. Being discontent is now an accepted state of mind for a lot of people throughout the world. Ask the Lord for a sense of patience that only He can give and for contentment in Christ alone.

Verses for reference:

Psalm 40:1

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.”

1 Corinthians 13:4

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited,”

Galatians 5:22-23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Philippians 4:11-13

“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content- whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Example prayer:

Lord, thank You for teaching me in the way of patience and contentment. I pray that You would give me patience that only comes from You and help me find the secret to contentment that Paul found: that Jesus alone should satisfy me. God, help me wait for the earthly love that You have prepared for me and not try to do things on my own. Let me be an example to the world around me that waiting for You to act and being satisfied in You alone is far greater than trying to do things on my own. Amen.

8)   Pray that you would trust God’s plan and His timing

I have a question: when it comes to God’s plan for your life, are you really okay with all that He may (or may not) have in store for you? God’s plan may not mean that you get a six-figure job, it may mean that He wants you to move overseas and be a missionary. His plan may not be that you use your beautiful voice in that singing competition but use it to teach worship in your community. God may not plan for you to be married and start a family but to start a singles group at a local church. If we are not okay with any of these three scenarios, we should pray that whatever God wants for our lives is what we want for our lives. We have to trust that God’s plan for us is greater than our plan for ourselves.

Verses for reference:

Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”

Proverbs 16:3

“Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved.”

Proverbs 16:9

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.”

Luke 22:42

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me – nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Example prayer:

Father, I’m sorry if I have questioned Your plan for my life lately. I know that You have a great life in store for me even if it looks nothing like what I expected it to. I pray that I would trust You with every single part of my life. I pray that not my will, but Thy will be done. I know that Your timing is perfect and that I will not miss out on anything as long as I am following You. Guide my steps so that I will be in accordance with Your plan and not my own. Amen.

I know that I did not spend a whole lot of time in these points discussing how to become a suitable spouse to your future husband or wife. The reality is that praying these things will help you become more like Jesus which will make you more than just a suitable spouse – they will make you a devoted follower of Christ. Strive to become a better Christian, not a more dateable person. The Lord will bless you with the amazing future He has already planned for you if you trust His plan and submit to His will.

As a single person, you have so much time to really seek out the Lord and understand more about yourself and more about Him. Remember that God has your best interest in mind all the time, regardless of whether or not it is something you want for yourself. God has ALWAYS been good, and He will ALWAYS continue to be good. Pray the above points with a heart that loves the Lord and wants to obey His calling. You will not be disappointed.

Grace and peace,

Bethany