Q: Is it OK to ask God for something you really, really want … like a boyfriend or girlfriend?
A: I remember when I really, really wanted a girlfriend. I’d tried asking girls out, presenting myself better, even ignoring the whole thing by telling myself, “Oh, the right person will just find me.” And yet here I was, still single.
A friend suggested I pray. Now, I was raised with a love for Christian Science, and I’d had healings and found answers by praying about things in the past. In fact, I’d come to expect help whenever I turned to God, because God is divine Love, and the nature of Love is to lovingly protect, guide, and care for all of us.
But this relationship issue? Nope. Hadn’t prayed about it at all.
“I don’t think I can pray about this,” I told my friend. “I can’t ask God for a girlfriend!”
My friend’s response caught me by surprise: “You can pray about anything you want.” But then he added this caveat: that I did need to be willing to listen for whatever God told me—even if it wasn’t the answer I expected or thought I wanted.
I’d had healings and found answers by praying about things in the past. But I hadn’t prayed about this relationship issue at all.
Huh. For some reason I’d thought you could pray only when you were feeling all tidy and sure of everything. God wanted only neat requests and statements of truth, didn’t He? But as I thought about what my friend had said, I realized that there was no basis in the Bible or in the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, for thinking I needed to be all squared away before I could “approach” God. Take a look at the book of Psalms in the Bible, for example, and you’ll see how often the writer’s dejection, fear, and misery introduce these psalms and prayers … and then how quickly, upon their reflection of God’s love, that misery is transformed.
So, that very afternoon, I told God directly, “I’d like to be with a girlfriend.” And then—this is key—I stopped talking. It took a little while, because I’d been so used to filling up my thoughts with all the sad things I had to say that I wasn’t very practiced at just listening. But soon, once I started thinking of myself as being in conversation with God, I started hearing really wonderful, and really specific, ideas about my peace and goodness. I gained a wonderfully clear assurance that my satisfaction was not dependent on some outside circumstance or person, and that God was truly right here, truly giving me all I needed—and that didn’t have to come through the one specific avenue of a girlfriend.
I really can ask God for anything; it’s just that the flip side of that asking is being willing to also listen for what God is saying.
Interestingly, after that time in prayer, I very naturally stopped wanting a girlfriend and became much more interested in learning to be a better man.
When I did end up dating someone, we were able to bring so much joy to each other—joy we already had within us—instead of thinking that the other person was the source of our joy. That relationship ended a while later, but the lessons about God’s gift of ever-present peace and satisfaction have stayed with me. And several years after that, during which I spent a lot of time learning to feel a deep sense of completeness on my own, I met someone very special who also really enjoyed being complete—with me. We got married later that year.
I was so glad to learn that I really can ask God for anything; it’s just that the flip side of that asking is being willing to also listen for what God is saying. Listening and watching for what God is doing shows us the good that divine Love has already given us, expressed in tangible ways in our lives—sometimes as new relationships, and sometimes in a deeper awareness of what we already have. We can take comfort in the fact that what God gives is always good, and it’s a joy to know we can always ask about anything.