In my personal experience, faith and friendship often go hand in hand. My faith is what it is today because of friends who, being strong in their own faith, were able to nurture me and help me grow in mine. I have friends in my life who became friends because of a shared faith in Jesus Christ. I have friends in my life who are there because they needed me to mentor them and help them grow in their faith. And I have a few special friends in my life who, when my faith was weak and wavering, were willing to share their faith with me.
Paul tells us we are to “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” [Galatians 6:2]. Friends are there for each other when times are tough; providing courage, strength, hope, encouragement, or whatever else is needed. When I was about 9 years old, a friend helped me through a frightening situation by reminding me that God was there, and He would take care of us. She shared her childhood faith with me when mine was wavering, and I have never forgotten that loving act of friendship. There have been many times in my life that a friend has helped me through a difficult time by sharing their faith and helping me carry my heavy burden.
In Romans 12:10, Paul writes, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Friends love and respect each other. They treat each other with kindness and compassion. Friends find joy in honoring each other and in lifting one another up. I have many friends who encourage me and build me up when I’m unsure of myself. I’m blessed to lead a women’s ministry that includes some truly amazing women who have faithfully offered me their friendship, support, and time. They willingly share their faith with me which helps to strengthen mine.
Proverbs 27:9 says, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Good friends compassionately offer wisdom and guidance to one another. They help each other make difficult decisions. They lovingly offer a nudge back on track when a friend wanders off course. My best friend has always been there when I needed a word of wisdom, and I have tried to do the same for her. We’ve been through many life changes together, and gently offered a listening ear or a word of advice when needed. We’ve helped each other discern God’s direction for our lives and offered a hand when we’ve struggled to stay on the right path. There have been many times she’s shared her faith with me, and I hope my faith has been there for her too.
Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer. ~Charles Finney
Friends pray with and for one another. Praying for our friends is important. Asking God to bless them and watch over them puts them where they need to be––at the feet of Jesus. It helps us let go of what we cannot take care of and turn it over to the One who can. Praying with a friend can be quite powerful. It can create an even stronger bond of friendship as we open our hearts to the Father and to each other. I have been blessed with many praying friends and I know they pray for me.
I believe, as women of faith, it’s important for us to develop and nurture friendships with other women of faith. God created us to live, work, and worship as a community of believers; therefore, we need each other. Let’s invest some time and energy in our friendships––we don’t want to walk our journey of faith alone.