5 tips for a powerful single prayer life
My Grandfather remarried in his 70s after my grandmother died. His new wife was an enthusiastic, sunny Californian who would regularly smile at me across the dinner table and say how happy she was to have found my Grandpa, because “the greatest blessing of marriage was having someone to pray with”. As I grew up I started to question what you’re supposed to do if you’re not married with a built-in prayer partner to spur you on. The truth is your prayer life can be as full and exciting whether you’re single or married – you just have to be more intentional.
Embrace your unique relationship with God
In fact, I think my prayer life is stronger right now than it might be if I were in a relationship. Being single is a unique opportunity to walk with God as your closest ally. I don’t have someone to talk to about my day when I get home, or to fully lean on when times are hard. That could be a recipe for loneliness, but I try and see this as an opportunity to lean on God and share everything with him.
During the pandemic when we were in total lockdown, it was the loneliest time of my life, but my relationship with God was better than it had ever been. There was no one else around, so I had to talk to God. As a result I grew in trust and intimacy with my creator in a way I never thought possible. Of course we also need human relationships, so it’s also really important to invest deeply in your friendships as a single person (Read 6 ways to develop great friendships).
Find a prayer partner
My step-Grandmother was right that we need someone to pray with, but it doesn’t have to be a marriage partner. A few years ago I lived with a friend from church, and we started praying together on a Monday morning. I’d never prayed regularly one-on-one with someone before, and it completely changed my prayer life. When I moved out we started to call each other every time we, or anyone we knew, needed prayer.
It was so comforting to know that someone had my back, and I wasn’t alone in the hard times. If you’re struggling to pray by yourself, find one or two other people who also need someone to pray with regularly, people you’d feel comfortable confiding in, and give it a go!
Praying for a romantic partner
Can you pray for a partner? How much should you do it? Everyone has a different opinion on this and you have to do what feels right for you. Personally, I think this is a very important part of dating. I’ve found I’ve made much better decisions once I asked God what sort of person he wanted me to look for rather than going for my usual “type”, who have caused many a heartbreak and emergency chocolate trip. Involving God and my prayer life in the process of dating has brought me a lot of peace.
But it’s important to listen to your heart. It can be exhausting and disheartening to constantly pray for years and feel like you’re getting nowhere. I try and balance my prayer life with seasons of praying regularly and intentionally for a partner, with times of rest to recharge and remind myself of the positives of my single life. You also have to be aware of anger or resentment towards God – be honest with him about how you’re feeling. Bring him every emotion, including anger and disappointment, and ask for his perspective and peace.
Pray specific prayers
I’m a big fan of a specific prayer. Sometimes praying generally for a partner can feel like an overwhelming and abstract concept. Praying for specific things – for an opportunity to talk to someone you’re interested in, to match with someone new online – can feel easier and more tangible. It’s also comforting to bring God into every part of our dating lives.
God cares about the little things as well as the big. When I’m nervous about a date, I pray for all the details – for a quiet place to sit, for the conversation, for a non-awkward goodbye. I feel so much peace giving all the small things to God and trusting that he’ll take care of them.
I’ve talked about this on the blog before. As a single person it’s especially important to regularly count your blessings and thank God for them. When your prayers for a partner feel like they’re going unheard, remember the faithfulness of God, the prayers he has answered, the times you’ve felt his presence and love. Give thanks for your friendships, for small things that have brought you joy. Ask God to show you the positive things about your life as a single person. Ask him for contentment to walk each day with him, and for a strong prayer life, whether you find a partner or not.