Sometimes when we have a pressing need we haven’t identified, God answers a prayer we didn’t pray. In becoming the answer to another person’s prayer, we can find our own needs addressed in ways we least expected.

It happened to me a few months ago. The Philosopher (husband/carer/general dogsbody) and I found our health problems escalating over the last year and his ability to care for me/the household exponentially diminishing.

We felt overwhelmed and drowning, so we sought help and support from our church. Before very long, it became clear that there was no-one both able and willing to come to our aid.

Finally, a casual conversation the Philosopher had with a friend brought a possible solution. His wife was lonely and in need of close Christian fellowship and friendship with someone near at hand. She was also pretty nifty with an iron, vacuum cleaner and duster, hooray!

The couple called round unexpectedly one day to state their intent. It was after lunch. I’d made it downstairs but I was feeling exhausted, wearing my oldest PJ’s, hair awry, in need of a shower, and decidedly discomfited to be seen in such a mess.

I knew the husband pretty well but his ‘late-in-life-God’s-gift-of-a-wife’ was almost a stranger to me. However, she was charming, kind and concerned. We decided to make arrangements and see how things went.

I thought if she’d already seen me (and the house) at our worst, then there wasn’t much left to be concerned about, was there? A few months down the line, and I am awed and amazed at how well it has all turned out.

What unites us in our need

Despite our different nationalities, culture, language, experiences and expectations we clicked straight away. Deep at heart, where it all counts, we are soul sisters in Christ.

hearts entwined - soul sisters and friends in need
Both of us know what it’s like to be wounded (yes, even by fellow believers), to feel marginalised, ostracised, rejected and lonely. Both of us needed a close, spiritual, giving and receiving, prayerful faith-sharing relationship. Only she had been fervently asking for it and I was unaware of my need until I had it.

We came together cautiously and soon became good friends. Our common ground far outweighs our differences, fascinating as they are. She knows I am an unreliable friend in terms of making definite arrangements to get together. But it’s always worth it when we do, even if no housework gets done.

Although all forms of communication in general drain me considerably and have to be a paced event, our sharing time can vanish in a flash because it feeds my spirit and energises me briefly to be in her company.

The benefits of a soul sister friendship

She is a calming influence, a prayer support, an encourager and a great reminder of God’s love and grace. The main topic of conversation is our life with God, His goodness, mercy and amazing love, especially in the midst of life’s challenges.

If you’d asked me a few months ago if I needed another female friend I would probably have said No. My life seemed full, rich maybe with such friends… even if the great majority are on social media due to the limitations of living with M.E and being largely housebound.

But in answering my need for help in the home, God allowed me to answer her need for friendshipNothing beats having a Jesus-with-skin-on real life friend and soul companion. They are precious indeed.

two girls walking together - friend and soul companion quote (C) joylenton

There may be more new friends to come who I have yet to meet, because who ever has enough genuine friends or grows out of the need to be a true friend for others?

That’s the wonder of God. He knows our inmost needs before we’re capable of giving them shape or thought. Jesus is a friend in need and our best Friend indeed.

And those inner heart cries for help? The ones we fail to voice? We can be reassured He hears, records and answers every word.

Not all answers are as unexpected as mine was, nor swift either. But we can trust God’s heart even when His hand seems slow to save.

Don’t give up hope, my friend. God is well aware of your needs…yes, even the most practical and prosaic ones..and will meet them in His own way and timing as you wait upon Him.

How has God answered a prayer in an unexpected way for you? Have you had a new friend come into your life when you least expected it?

Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.Your words matter. I love to hear from you, even if I may be slow to reply sometimes.