A Prayer for Intentional Friendships and Connection at a New Church - Your Daily Prayer - May 25

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A Prayer for Intentional Friendships and Connection at a New Church
By Chelsey DeMatteis 

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” - John 4:13-14

I'll never forget the falling apart of the church we had called home for so many years. It held my most cherished memories and friendships that were so dear, and honestly, it's the place where most people really knew me. The last part of that sentence was the hardest part for me to move on from. I was known so deeply by the leadership of the church and its members. It takes a while to get to that vulnerable place, and once you find yourself leaving where you once felt so safe, it makes wanting to connect that deeply even harder.

When we finally decided to make the change and find a new church, we sat down to talk about the things we were looking for. My heart felt grief wash over again. Aside from wanting a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church, at the top of my list was wanting a church that desired to truly know its people.

When we look to scripture we see the stories all throughout of people wanting to be known not just by the people in their communities, they wanted to know they were fully known by God, also. I think of the woman at the well in John 4. While we know she was known in her community, it didn't seem to be for good reason. The people in her town seemed to stay away from her, and she clearly chose to stay away from them out of what we can gather to be fear, condemnation, and shame. 

I assume she wanted friends, I'm sure she wanted to have deeper connection with the women in her neighborhood. If I could go sit with her today, I wonder if she would tell me that she was praying for real, authentic, heartfelt relationships. We also know from what unfolded with Jesus that she, even in her apprehension, wanted to know that God sought to connect with her, too. 

Her deepest longings were suddenly met when Jesus pursued her at the well. John 4:13-14 says, "Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

At a moment's notice, this woman knew she was known, all because Jesus pursued her. Her story reminds me, and hopefully paints the picture for you, that it only takes one encounter to feel seen and known. Both by the Lord and also by the body of Christ. It also nudges me to look at things from a different perspective. Part of this is because that season of my life is more distant now than new, but I've also seen God's work in my life through this journey. Instead of wishing that someone would've come to talk to me or invite me to go to an event with them, I could've been the one initiating those conversations when we first joined where we now call home. 

After three years of journeying through desiring to be known at my church and hoping to build deep, meaningful relationships, I can say both things have happened. That said, it has taken time and intentionality. This didn't happen overnight. It took me asking the Lord to lead me to the people He wanted me to connect with while also giving me the boldness to put myself out there with others.

Being bold is hard, but not trusting God in this area of my life would've led to harder things. We were never meant to be in isolation. We need friends, we need our church community praying for us, and we need to trust that God has the very best people in mind for us. This week, try connecting with someone new at church. Whether you've been there for years or this is your first weekend, find a new face and introduce yourself. Let them know that God sees them, and while being the hands and feet of Jesus that way, you'll be reminded that He sees you, too. 

Let’s pray:

Father, making friends is hard, and getting connected at church can be a struggle. Help me be confident in reaching out to people while also being open to accepting invitations from those I don't know to get to know them more deeply. I pray for clarity and connection. I pray for intentionality and trust. Thank you for sending your Son to show us how important it is to pursue others. In Jesus' name, amen.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Kadirdemir

Chelsey is the voice behind the Living with Less Podcast and author of the 52-week devotional More of Him, Less of Me: Living a Christ-centered Life in a Me-centered World. She writes devotions for Lifeway Women's Journey Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and iBelieve.com. She also writes Bible reading plans for the YouVersion Bible App. Chelsey lives in Ohio with her husband and two children. You can connect with her on Instagram @chelseydematteis and at her website ChelseyDeMatteis.com.

Related Resource: Remember God's Enduring Love for You in this Guided Meditation on Psalm 100!

This guided Christian meditation from Psalm 100 will help you experience and praise God for his unending love for you. Become aware of God’s presence with you, and praise God for his loyal and enduring love from the beginning of time and into the future. Listen to every episode of the So Much More Podcast on LifeAudio.com, or subscribe on Apple or Spotify so you never miss an episode!

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