Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Infant Steps: How do I help a Backsliding Friend?

Beloved EROLyrics Readers,

Hope your week has started out beautifully. Covenant grace and peace be to you in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior, who reigns forevermore.

Today’s question on the Infant Steps Series has to do with backsliding but in this case, not the person asking the question. What will you do if someone you love is backsliding? How can you help? What if you try and all your efforts seem futile? Have you ever been in such a situation? Please read Patience’s question below and help her out with your spirit-led suggestions. Thank you.

Dear Rita,

I love my best friend. What brought us together was her leading me to Christ. This happened when we were in secondary school. She has been amazing. She followed up on me. She taught me most of the principles I know in walking with God. We have been friends all through secondary school and now in the University. I felt we were inseparable.

Recently, my friend started having problems at home, which I would not like to disclose. It was quite traumatic for her. Initially, she was praying and believing God for a favorable solution to the situation. What she expected did not happen. I noticed that after a while, she was not interested in going to fellowship or church service. She always claimed that studies were making her too busy. We used to make out time each week to pray together but all of a sudden, she could not meet up with the appointments. I haven’t seen my friend doing anything out of the ordinary but I feel strongly that she is backsliding. I have been praying for her.

I had a talk with her and she told me I was misunderstanding her, that nothing has changed in her relationship with God.

Am I wrong in what I suspect? Is there anything I can do for my friend to help reignite the fire she had for God? If she eventually walks away from God and I cannot help her, will I be at fault?


If you have any questions you would like to discuss on the Infant Steps Series, please drop me an email at esurunma@gmail.com or leave the question as a comment in any of my blog posts.

If you want to view past questions and answers on the Infant Steps Series, please check the list on the sidebar right of the blog.

All posts on the Infant Steps Series will be posted on Tuesdays, 9 AM West Africa Time.


BBB said...

I think you should just continue to pray for her,
because too much pressure might mean the loss of your friendship,
just continually remind her about prayers and show her that you are there for her, thats the best you can do

bArOquE said...

Patience, I would love to sound very cliché & say, keep on praying for her but I like to be real (sue me)…hot kettle, na cloth them dey use carry am for handle…you guys need to sort out whatever THAT her ‘personal’ issue is. She apparently doesn’t see the point in dragging herself around town in the name of fellowship when she will only go back home to her problems. If you want to help her from backsliding then you should be more concerned with her problems...my honest opinion

Anonymous said...

I agree with BBB and Baroque. Please keep praying for her but also do your part to listen to her problems. Make yourself available to her when she needs a shoulder to cry on and someone to confide in.

HYAW said...

i think she should pray for her, then keep telling her testimonies of her bad experiences and how it finally worked out for good. some christians have not understood the bible verse that says that 'everything works out together for good to them that love God...' so they tend to get cold with god whenever something happens out of their wish. she should continues to remind her friend of that bible verse and the likes of it and keep praying for her

olaoluwatomi said...

A time of seperation can be a good thing and make her appreciate you and God more.
Like everyone else has said pray for her, do not put pressure on her and remind her in gentle ways (not pushy) that you have got her back!
Thats what friends are for!

Philip said...


You do have a genuine concern.
From a broad perspective, your friend is probably reacting to an overwhelming experience howbeit, not in the best way. The word of God declares that when our heart is overwhelmed we should come closer to God (Ps 61:2). Another possibility is what you fear: that the enemy is quietly at work providing valid excuses to draw her away from God's presence which generally makes us vulnerable to the devises of the enemy.

In any case, i advise the following:
(1) Be patient with her. Dont be all over her with the backsliding jingle. Backsliders dont like to hear that. Its like telling a drunk that he is drunk. he actually thinks you are the drunk.
She was there for you. Now is your time to be there for her, not to condemn her but to be the vessel of strength and encouragement.

(2)Continue praying for her and maybe get one or two trusted people to wait on the Lord with you on her matter. It's particularly tough when you have prayed and trusted God for something and even have a confirmation in the spirit that all was well, and then the worse happens. I've been there before. Subconsciously, her faith can be imparted and she can begin to question God in her heart or more cunningly, she may have just re-evaluated her level of commitment to the things of God. This is the point where a christian begins to think he/she alone can help themselves or that prayer is a time waster.

Only God can give her a divine visitation that will bring her back to her best.

God bless you for your faithfulness.


David C Brown said...

I think you should go over with her the help she has been to you. And speak to her simply about Jesus.

aloted said...

Keep being her friend..dont judge her..listen to her and be there for her during her trying times...she needs u now more than ever...love her like Christ loves us and keep praying cuz it is only the holy spirit that can convict her if she is indeed backsliding..

I believe she will appreciate u later on for standing by her and not judging her in her dark period

sunnyside said...

pray for her/him, it works just fine

Myne Whitman said...

Others have said it all. Continue to pray for her but more importantly, be there for her too. I have seen some christians who pray without being practical. If her problems are such you can help solve or counsel her, then go ahead and do so. Remember that faith without works is dead.

Tricia said...

I'd say just pray for her and be there for her when she needs you..she may have been defensive when you asked her about her relationship with God going down,but maybe she is silently crying..so just be her friend and be there while you pray.

Telekinesys said...

All you can do is be a good friend and keep praying.God will handle the rest.Don't be hard on yourself, it's not your fault.

jhazmyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jhazmyn said...

Just to add to wat others have said cos they've said basically most of what there is to say...

We are different as humans and i believe u know her better than most pple do, if she's the kindda person that deals with real challenging issues alone (like me) then trying to get her to talk when she's not ready, might seem more like an invasion than help. Continue to pray for her, for strength, for grace, for her "fire" to keep burning, and ask God to show u how to be there for her...even if its just by ur silence.

I pray she comes thru this season...for all you know, she might not be backsliding, she might just feel really overwhelmed right now

Gee said...

the fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much---
that is pretty all u can do, and dont be weary in doing it.

Uzezi said...

i think u r doing the right thing. keep praying for her

Afrobabe said...

Seems like the story of my life right now, except I am the one backsliding!!..so will read the comments here and find out how to guide myself back...

Kafo said...

i don't need to sound like a broken record and repeat what has been said

but yeah
our relationship with christ is personal and it isn't your fault

prayer is the best you can do
and listen when she wants to talk

Anonymous said...

Hello, as you can see this is my first post here.
Hope to receive any assistance from you if I will have any quesitons.
Thanks and good luck everyone! ;)

Anonymous said...


just signed up and wanted to say hello while I read through the posts

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...


It is my first time here. I just wanted to say hi!