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173 People Prayed
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Father God, help us grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. Free us from the bondage of connectivity without real connection.

Bill Clinton says it’s his favorite song. It’s a Beatle’s classic still played 50 years after it’s debut. It strikes a chord with multitudes because we so identify with its theme.

“Ah, look at all the lonely people. Ah, look at all the lonely people.”

The spotlight shines on an aging woman then transitions to an unappreciated pastor.

“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?”

She dies. “Nobody came.”
He officiates then meanders away.

“All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?”

How could you not guess the memorable, “Eleanor Rigby”?

A century before, Henry David Thoreau captured the same issue of loneliness. He stated, “The mass of humanity live lives of quiet desperation.”

From a biblically-informed perspective, we know there are three basic needs of humankind:

  1. Transcendence – reaching beyond physical to spiritual
  2. Significance – having purpose in life
  3. Relationship – having human connectivity/friendship

God designed us for meaningful human interaction. He stated in Creation, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). Romans 14:7 tells us, “No man lives to himself, alone.”

In civilized societies, the ultimate punishment for serious repeat offenders is long-term solitary confinement. Recently released Turkish prisoner Pastor Andrew Brunson said that weeks in this condition brought him to a place of despair and near suicide.

The Loneliness Pandemic

This year the United Kingdom made political history by instituting a new government position, “The Minister for Loneliness”. Facing a serious national health problem stemming from increasing social isolation, the initiative was launched because of alarming numbers of people experiencing dementia, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and suicide. Social scientists postulated that the long-term health effects of loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

Cigna health insurance company conducted a nationwide study revealing nearly half of the respondents said they feel alone or increasingly left out. 40 percent stated they “lack companionship” and “their relationships aren’t meaningful.”

Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published in the Harvard Business Review his same concern. “During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

We must face the brutal reality of  a serious crisis, a growing epidemic of loneliness in our society today. Ironically, research shows its most prevalent among younger people who feel they’re the most “connected” yet in reality lack meaningful relationships and real interpersonal support.

Primary Reason for the Problem

Augustine said, “Thou hast made as for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.”

The father of our faith, Abraham, came into relationship with his Creator and scripture said he was not merely a servant but “the friend of God” (Jam.2:23).
Likewise Jesus reassured His disciples they were not just coworkers but “friends” (Jn.15:15). Friendship is a basic human need designed by God and He intends for us to first and foremost find it in Him.

What a difference this represents in Christianity from other world religions having a distant, angry “Allah” figure or multiple, mysterious “Krishna” entities that must be appeased by performance and good works.

So in our society increasingly drifting from authentic relationship with the true living God, it should not surprise us when the void is left unfulfilled. “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every human being that cannot be filled by any human thing but only by the Creator Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ” said 17th century French theologian Blaise Pascal.

“And in the naked night I saw, 10,000 people maybe more. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs that voices never shared. No one dared. Disturb the sounds of silence.” – Simon and Garfunkel

So we trot out reruns of favorite TV shows like “Friends” and “Cheers” and cry in our beer singing nostalgic songs like “You’ve Got a Friend” (James Taylor) all the while wrestling with nagging loneliness within.

Friendships fizzle so people in desperation opt for other alternatives: perpetual singleness; LGBTQ alternatives; drug and alcohol escapism; suicide; or simply settling for the safe companionship of a friendly dog which the American Heart Association confirms reduces health risks and can lengthen lifespan.

The Social Media Solution

Mobility in society, casual divorce, dissolution of the family, deception of the “Gay” lifestyle, unsatisfactory promiscuity and “one night stands” all exacerbate lonely living and the continued quest to satisfy the friendship factor.

“What about social media and the advantage of incredible connectivity?”

Unfortunately the reality is the opposite of what scores have come to believe. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the many modern-day supposed friendship-building, connectivity-enhancing devices give scores the illusion of multiple friendships that are often simply superficial substitutes for human contact. This is not the same as quality interaction and intimate friendship.

Real friendships take much more than simply “friending online” producing shallow relationships all the while deceiving us into believing we have thousands of Facebook “friends”. Authentic friendships require an investment of time, what Aristotle called “sharing salt together”- not just sitting together passing salt across the table but sitting with another across the course of their lives, sharing it’s savor.

“The desire for friendship comes quickly; friendship does not.”    – Aristotle

Addressing an Addiction

Admit it or not, Americans are distracted by and addicted to social media rather than socializing. Survey numerous studies that show similar findings: 33% would rather text than talk on the phone; 3 in 4 Americans bring their phones to bed; 25% say the last thing they see before retiring is their phone; 93% sleep with their phones within arms reach; 55% acknowledge they are missing out on valuable time with family and friends but still do it; and, 45% of Americans admit they have not made a new friend in five years.

Defeating loneliness and developing substantive versus superficial friendships starts by repenting, receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then committing to obey His Word as revealed in Scripture.

Next, we use our smart phones and computers wisely and purposefully. We make a quality decision to not let them become a substitute for real friendship building. We also purpose to drop the excuses for a lack of meaningful friendships like:

I’m introverted.
I don’t like going to new places.
I’ve been betrayed/dumped.
Texting is more convenient.
Human interaction is risky.I fear being rejected.

Dealing with loneliness and developing meaningful friendships are significant for our emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Jesus in His humanity modeled for us the need to grow in 4 major areas: Mentally. Physically. Spiritually. Socially. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man” (Lk. 2:40 KJV).

Here’s the deal: Because of the prophetic significance of this topic and the tremendous potential it affords Christians in helping hurting and hopeless multitudes, I plan to continue this commentary. I’ll provide you next week with a biblically-informed overview of the 10 characteristics of friendship and 10 proven ways to make and maintain meaningful friendships in your life.

Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy advisor with Liberty Counsel. His innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see Hear his weekly podcast here.

173 People Prayed
711 People have read this article

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  1. Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ, I can really relate to this topic!! My major Prayer is for the Lord to release a Great Gigantic Powerful Movement to release Healing Prayer & Massive Compassion, combined with a Fasted Lifestyle, like Daniel and his friends, in every Bible Believing Church. That is, the Incorporating of His Inner Healing and Transformation Teachings, which are really the Teachings of Jesus, being really absorbed, lived & taught. Such ministries started basically with Agnes Sanford,,, Leanne Payne,, David Seamands, Healing Damaged Emotions, to name a few. The thing is, that a lot of us have been emotionally wounded in our lives and we need to learn how we are still operating in our “woundedness”& and operating in our “old natures”. In our churches we have Sunday morning & other days sevices, Sunday School, Bible Studies, etc, but do we have any teaching and training in the healing prayer ministries I have mentioned? Maybe there are many churches that do have these healing ministries available, but this needs to be in EVERY Church. That is my Prayer. Lord, release the laborers! A lot of people in our country are fatherless, and parentless, suffer a lot of abuse, dysfunction, abandonment. A lot of us need to be re-parented and recognize what we need to repent of, find healing & transformation,provided by Jesus’ ministry, of compassion & Love. Through many twists & turns, I learned I came from a “dysfunctional family” where I experienced some emotional & sexual abuse and ended up going down the “wrong” path until I was about 37, when I had the opportunity to ask Jesus into my life. I still had a lot of pain in my life, but after many years I was introduced to the Holy Spirit! and the Lord led me on a journey, introducing me to His Ministry of Transformation & Inner Healing. Along this journey I discovered many churches & God’s people seemed to lack support for a ‘battered wife” with three young daughters. There were some people along the way now and then, but it has been basically a long & lonely road. Thanks be to God I didn’t give up on the Lord & He hasn’t given up on me! I am strong in Him and His Mighty Power to reach out to those in the road who are suffering & life of wilderness. And the Lord Always provides Manna I need since He is the Bread of Life for me. The Holy Spirit Always guiding me how to minister and pray for others especially my daughters. Restoring what the locust has stolen!!
    BTW there are ministries for “Cities Transformed to Christ”,, george Otis, Jr., Ed Silvoso

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