Prayer to Be the Friend You Want to Have
By Meg Bucher

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20 NLT

The sight of six girls sleeping in the loft of our new home instantly made my heart skip with gratefulness and joy. Over the past several years, I’ve been on a journey with those girls and their small group Bible study. They haven’t always gotten along. Each has gone through their own growing pains. Some didn’t show up for a while. But there they were, together and talking about how much they appreciated the friendship for which they had fought so hard.

Because that’s what it is. It’s a fight. When we say, “be the kind of friend you want to have,” it’s a bold and beautiful statement. It’s also extremely hard to flesh out. It means forgiving friends when we’re hurting, and they aren’t apologizing. It means welcoming friends back after they’ve ditched us for a while. And it requires us to love unconditionally.

We all want friends who will love us like this, like Jesus loves us, but we often aren’t willing in our double-standard and hypocritical tendencies. We don’t want to take the plank out of our own eye and be that kind of a friend to our friends – to the other people God has placed in our lives.

The Message paraphrase of today’s verse says, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” 

The Amplified Bible translates Proverbs 13:20 like this: “He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.” 

“One who walks with the wise becomes wise,” the Voice paraphrase says, “but whoever keeps company with fools only hurts himself.” 

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Each girl in my daughter’s small group has been guilty of moments of foolishness. They have also each had their turn to grow in wisdom. When they graduate, I’ll need a bulk supply of Kleenex, because I am already so proud of the way they have learned to be the kind of friends they want to have. They have learned it’s important to leave room for people to grow. They hold each other accountable, encourage one another, and rally around each other when the bottom falls out of one of their lives.

Let’s pray to walk with the wise, become wise, and give mercy and forgiveness generously to the foolishness of which we are all guilty. Let’s pray to pull each other back into the fold of mercy and love – over and over again.

Father,

We praise You for the friendships You have formed in our lives. You did not create us to do life alone. It’s not easy for us to get along with each other, to see everything eye to eye, or even to walk through the minefield of conflict and forgiveness. Even when we follow You faithfully and obediently in these regards, they are difficult doors to walk through and hard realities to face.

Lord, I pray we can choose to be the kind of friends we would like to have in this life: Christ-centered, forgiving, honest, loyal, compassionate, sensitive, loving, generous, understanding, sympathetic, merciful, and present. Teach us to be good listeners, Father, to see each other through Your perspective. Guide us in every situation of conflict. Help us to navigate disagreement with grace and condition, gentleness and understanding.

Let us have, and be, friends who reflect Your glory, Your goodness, Your mercy, Your compassion, Your peace, Your forgiveness, Your love, and Your Light. Father, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to live among us, sacrifice His life for us, and leave for us an example of how to live.

In Jesus’ Name, 

Amen.

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