Singleness can be a long, lonely, and confusing road, especially when it's unwanted. Through most of my twenties, I felt like I was born wanting to be married. God finally gave me a wife a little more than a year ago, but not before walking with me through a winding decade of temptation and sometimes failure, of waiting, wanting, and wondering why not yet. Over many years, I learned that God does not guarantee temporary joys for his children like physical health, marriage, success at work, or children. And that's because he is utterly, relentlessly committed to giving his precious sons and daughters what's best for us, when it's best for us, and only if it's best for us. Never, otherwise (Romans 8:28). No matter how good the gift seems to be in the moment, or how much we want it, or how long we have waited, God will not abandon the greater good he has promised us (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).
But we may be tempted to abandon him, to give up on his plan for us, or at least turn our backs for a little bit in disappointment. We really do convince ourselves that we know better, that we can choose better for ourselves than God can — the same God who came and died at infinite cost to save us. But we don’t, and we can’t. When we begin to feel overlooked or forgotten, or to doubt God's love for us, we distance ourselves from him, when we should be running to him. Instead of walking away, we really need to kneel down and pray.
If you don't know where to start in prayer — how to begin talking to God daily, or how to surrender your desires and difficulties in singleness to him — here are nine prayers for the not-yet-married life, each with God's words to help shape your longing and waiting.
1. Not my will, but yours, be done.
"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42)
Not my will, but yours, be done, O Lord. If those seven words and the faith beneath them were enough to carry Jesus through the cross for my sake, they should be enough to carry me through anything in this life for his sake. Prepare me to make the most of marriage or singleness, whatever you have chosen and planned for me. If it’s not your will for me to marry, help me see all that you have planned for me — in gifting, ministry, and singleness. Either way, anchor my heart firmly in you, and not in marriage.
2. Reveal as much of yourself to me as possible while I'm still single.
"[May] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe." (Ephesians 1:16–19)
Show me more of yourself and shape my life to reveal your glory. As I walk back out on the raging sea of life and of singleness, still my faith in you and set my eyes on you standing strong and reliable above it all. Reveal how much bigger and more beautiful you are than marriage, or any other dream or desire I might have.