When most people think of prayer and relationships they often think of that prayer of “Lord, send me someone.” Then, you get that person and you just pray “Lord, keep us together.”
I think prayer is much more than the bookends of a relationship and I’ve listed a few prayers here that can change the way you relate to others in many common moments of the day.
The “I got this” prayer
The “I got this” prayer is the prayer of confidence that you are going to get what you want. You pray confident that your needs will be met. In no area of life does doubt become as evident to us as in relationships.
If you learn to ask confidently in prayer I think asking and doing confidently in person comes easier. Many men rank a lack of confidence as their number one obstacle in dating. I wonder if their prayer lacks confidence also.
“Did I contour my make-up properly?”
“Is she going to shoot me down, if I say hi to her?”
Confidence means your needs will eventually be met. In prayer I don’t think it happens to often that we get off our knees and the pony we asked for just falls through the roof; but we do know that our needs will eventually be met.
In the same way, the relationship or single person who is confident knows he will eventually get what he needs. It may not be now. It may not be with the person in front of him or her. It may not even be what he asked for, but he will eventually get what he needs. This is confident prayer.
The “Where is this going” prayer
This prayer is great when you wake up just plain lost on a Saturday morning, wondering if you’ve accomplished anything in life for the past five days other than make some money and keep your health insurance. Where am I going?
Prayer centers you on what is really important. At the end of the day you are not really going to work, driving to a date, or going to pick up eggs—you are on your way to eternal life.
I tend to be a fairly planned and methodic person but there are plenty of moments in relationships when I say to myself, “I’m not really sure where this is all going.” And it does not really matter.
I know I’m headed to some place beyond or at least that’s what the GPS says. I don’t need to know everything else or every stop along the way.
The “I’m Too Tired to Talk” Prayer
Every relationship has moments of silence. Sitting in the car on a long road trip too tired to talk, out of podcasts, and not interested in hearing “Despacito” in your car speaker for the 400th time, you sit in silence.
There are moments of emotional silence when you don’t feel strongly about someone but you just know that they are there in the other room working on a laptop and that is good enough.
There are moments of silence when you don’t text each other for an entire day because work is exploding and you do not even know what you would say to someone should you have time to open your phone.
Doing the I’m too tired to talk prayer and sitting there in silence prepares us to appreciate rather than fear relationship silence, as well.
Quiet is good; it is when things grow. Give God a chance to work without you whining in his ear and give your relationship a chance to grow, recharge or just be in silence.
On this note I’ll add a quote from Roman Guardini,
“When we come into church from the outside our ears are filled with the racket of the city, the words of those who have accompanied us, the laboring and quarreling of our own thoughts, the disquiet of our hearts’ wishes and worries, hurts and joys. How are we possibly to hear what God is saying?”
Take baby steps. Try driving to Church in silence for starters. Don’t try to be a Carthusian monk overnight.
The “You are Number One” Prayer
“What are you going to say to people when you’ve said nothing to God?”
A priest once told me that when I was in training in seminary. I was rushing to a morning appointment without having said morning prayers.
Since then, I’ve tried to always start the day with meditation and prayer, just to show God he is number one. I think people who can tell God He is number one have an easier time telling people they are number one.
Many men especially struggle with giving priority to one person in a relationship in face of the many options that networking and technology offer. A woman may struggle with making a man number one amidst competing requests from family and friends.
I think people accustomed to making God number one are more likely to make people number one when the challenge arises.
The morning prayer is a time to prepare what you are going to say to people by practicing with God first and tell him he is number one. That does not compete with making someone else number one. God can’t compete with people; he just makes them more beautiful and attractive.
What it comes down to is that a relationship is never all about someone else. Nobody wants that responsibility to be your “everything” and shoulder the burden of making you completely happy.
We’re not good enough for each other for that. We all need something more and that is where God comes in and the prayer to make him number one.
The “This is out of my hands” prayer
If you told me that my entire career depended on what I say or do today I’d probably be too scared to make a decision, enter into decision paralysis and get nothing done in my job.
There are times we put a lot of pressure and blame on ourselves to make a relationship work and it leaves us so scared we deliberate for a whole minute on which emoji to send or a whole afternoon on wearing a dress or jeans. It can be scary when it all depends on us.
You’re usually not yourself when you are scared and you are definitely not fun. Prayer takes the pressure off and saying the “This is out of my hands” prayer at least once a day reminds us that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is at work in relationships also.
The end goal of prayer is certainly not a relationship but try these daily prayers and see if your relationship changes. See if your dating life becomes happier and more enjoyable.