An incredibly earnest and honest comment came in in response to an article I wrote about ending friendships. The response was about the heartbreak that followed after a friendship that was cherished for many years ended.
This person reached out sharing the depth of the friendship and how hurtful it was to let go even though it was clearly time to move on in order to continue to pursue God in her life.
The question she asked was simply,
How do I pray?
She isn't the only one experiencing this (I have proof in the stats on that article!) and I know that it can be confusing to know how to approach God in prayer through or after a friendship break up.
Here is a how-to guide on praying after a friendship break up:
Start with Thanks
Praise and thanksgiving is always a good starting point! God is so gracious and kind to us. He has given us more than we could ever need by giving us salvation.
Start by thanking God for the season of friendship you enjoyed. Get specific and thank God for the ways the friendship shaped you. Look back with gratitude as you make room for the future that God as for you.
If the friendship was difficult, thank God for the ways that the friendship has grown you in the fruits of the Spirit as you've learned patience and gentleness and self-control through dealing with a friendship that ended in a difficult way or had some hardships throughout it.
Thank God for providing the friendship for the season He gave it to you in, and thank Him for His presence in it.
Forgive (Her and you!)
Then, move into experiencing God's forgiveness. Take time to acknowledge the hurt, pain, or disappointment you have experienced in the friendship or in the friendship ending. Ask God to empower you to forgive your friend for any part she had in it, and ask Him to help you to live unoffended moving forward.
A broken friendship usually comes with many emotions. Feel all the feels and don't rush through this experience, but don't get stuck there either. Unforgiveness can be incredibly damaging to our life with God, so make sure you truly forgive your friend, and yourself.
I have personally felt guilt and shame when a friendship ends. I wonder if I'm not good enough, if there's something wrong with me, if I should have worked harder, if there was something I could have done differently.
Those are all voices of guilt and shame and "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Sit with Jesus and receive His forgiveness for your part in the friendship ending, and remember that you are made holy and blameless through Him. Even if the friendship break up was hard and messy, you are forgiven and can walk in that identity moving forward.
Ask & Expect More
God will never abandon you. He is our provider and that includes provision through the people we need for each season. Losing a friend can be a confusing and disappointing experience. Especially when it's someone who is so close to our hearts and has been a big part of our life for a long amount of time.
It might feel like there's something missing for a while, but God is a God of restoration.
The biblical definition of restoration doesn't just mean putting something back to it's original order. It actually means making it better than what it was before. God is restoring the heavens and the earth, and we can pray and expect for restoration in our friendships too.
We only have a certain amount of capacity for relationships, so when God calls you to leave a friendship behind, it's likely because He is bringing new relationships into your life that He's asking you to make room for.
Start praying for your next friend. Pray specific prayers for the person you need in your life, and pray specific prayers for a person who you can equally serve and invest in.
God made us for community, so you can expect Him to provide godly community for you.