Dating, in our culture, is how we go about finding a marriage partner. This whole ritual of boyfriends and girlfriends is littered with potential pitfalls which means that very few people escape the process unscathed. Many of us carry the scars and broken hearts of dating relationships gone bad, and some of those wounds will be with us the rest of our lives.
Because dating is so dangerous it is essential for the Christian guy to approach dating with wisdom and guidance. Please remember guys, we are not out on a hunting party trying to find meat for supper, but we are in pursuit of a life partner who we can love, cherish, and lead. Dating, as exciting as it is, is also a huge responsibility.
As we date we need to keep in mind that the girlfriends that we have are daughters of God. That means we have the responsibility to help her grow spiritually and to encourage her to use her talents in ministry. This means that we have to hold her life as a sacred trust for as long as she is a part of our lives. As Christians our dating experiences cannot be all about fun, but they also need to be about mutual encouragement as we grow in our faith. Now I believe that it is the man who is to lead the relationship in this aspect. If you are not leading your girlfriend spiritually it is your responsibility to stop dating until you are spiritually mature enough to lead.
How do we go about leading our girlfriends spiritually? We begin to lead our girlfriends spiritually though prayer. I don't mean some wimpy little prayer that so many of us like to pray: “God, I would just like to ask that You will just be with my girlfriend and just grow her spiritually…”
I am afraid that such a prayer isn’t going to do too much. You see prayer doesn’t start with the act of praying, but it starts with our motivation for praying. For our prayers to be effective we have to believe that God hears our prayers and that He has our best interests at heart. Then prayer has to become so important to us that we set aside time to pray each and every day. If we are just praying to mark “prayer” off our religious to do list, well then it isn’t going to accomplish much.
When it comes to praying for our girlfriends we have to answer the question: “Do I want my girlfriend to grow in her relationship with God?”
Don’t be so quick to answer that question. We have to stop and consider some of the potential consequences of our girlfriends growing spiritually. What if God shows her that the next step in her journey is to break up with us, would we be okay with that? What if God uses her to bring up issues in our lives that we would rather remain hidden, would we be okay with that? Our prayers will be effective when we can come to the place and say, “God whatever Your will is I surrender my life to it.” Remember our will is not always the same as God’s will, so one of the purposes of prayer is learning to trust God more than we trust ourselves.
When it comes to praying for our girlfriends I think it is important to remember that we need to also pray for them with them. It is one thing to pray for her in your room while you are by yourself, but it is another thing to reach over and grab her hand and out loud express your heart’s desire for her life to God. She needs to hear this because she needs to know that you want God’s will for her no matter what happens in your relationship. Make sure you set aside time on your dates to pray with her and for her.
With that being said I want to give you a few practical prayers that you need to pray for your girlfriend if you are going to help her grow spiritually.
- Pray that God will keep both of you on the same page. This has proved essential to me in the last two relationships that I have had. In both cases when it came time to call it quits God revealed that truth to both of us. While there was sadness that accompanied the end of the relationship, we both knew that God wanted us to go our separate ways, and we were able to part on good terms. There is no way to avoid the pain of a break up, but with God’s wisdom and guidance we can make it sting a little less.
- The apostle Paul at the beginning of his letter to the Colossians reveals to them his prayer for them; And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10; ESV). Ask God to fill your girlfriend with a knowledge of His will and with spiritual wisdom and understanding. Remember the important thing in her life isn’t that she will become your wife, but that she will live a life that is worthy of Christ Jesus. This is such an important prayer for us to pray, not only for our girlfriends, but for everyone we pray for.
- In Ephesians 6:13-17 we have what is called the Armor of God. The apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that we are in a battle, a spiritual battle, and that means our girlfriends are out in the middle of it. Daily we need to ask God to clothe her in His armor. To do this we need to take the time to walk through this passage and mention each specific piece. The reason we need to pray this prayer is to help them to have the ability to stand firm in the face of the enemy's attacks. This is also a prayer that I use for myself each day, I need to be clothed in God armor otherwise I will fall.
- A fourth prayer I pray for my future wife I adapted from the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10). I ask God that His Kingdom come and His will be done in her life as it is done in heaven. The best life that we can live is lived in accordance to God's will, and so I want my wife to know God's will and receive the strength and courage needed in living out His will for her life.
- The final prayer I will mention is that we need to thank God for bringing such a beautiful woman into our lives. Because we are thankful we ask God to give us the wisdom and guidance we need to be an encouragement to her. A relationship with a beautiful woman is a great blessing, especially when she is a follower of Christ Jesus, and so we need to thank God for that wonderful blessing. Like all blessings there also comes a responsibility, and that responsibility is to lead and encourage her in her walk with Jesus. In order to do that effectively we need God’s wisdom, and as James told us (James 1:5) if we lack wisdom we need to ask God for the wisdom we need to spiritually lead the woman we call our girlfriend.
Dating is dangerous and it leads to a lot of wounds. That is why the wise Christian man will take the time to pray and invite God into the dating relationship that he is in. As single Christian guys we want to make the dating relationship a positive and encouraging experience that will help both of us to grow in our relationship with God. So if we are really serious about being a Christian boyfriend we will be a boyfriend who prays.
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