In this part of the retreat you will pray with a modified version of Carole King’s song, “You’ve Got a Friend” (performed by James Taylor). Use each prayer as a reminder of the many people who care about you enough to call you “friend.”
When I’m down and troubled
and I need a helping hand
and nothing is going right
I close my eyes and think of you
and soon you will be there to brighten up
even my darkest nights.
Grab a piece of paper and something to write with. What qualities make a good friend? Quickly—what are the first three things that pop into your head? Write them down.
Next, who are your friends? Write down the first three names that pop into your head.
Sometimes we can think of our friends in a certain way. You see one friend as dependable, another as the funny one. Read the first name you wrote down. Then read each of the three qualities you listed. How does this person show these qualities? What makes her or him the kind of friend you want to have? Write your answers next to where you have written your friend’s name.
I just call out your name
and I know wherever you are
you’ll come running to see me again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
all I have to do is call
and you’ll be there
I’ve got a friend
Under the Influence: Positive Pressure
Think about your own personal values—the things you believe in no matter what. Many factors can shape, affect, and change your values. On the same piece of paper you used earlier, write down three of your values. Look back on your list of three friends. How does each friend affect, influence, or enforce these values? Write down your answers.
It’s good to know that I’ve got a friend
People can be so cold
They’ll hurt me and desert me
Well, they’ll take my soul if I let them
There are moments that remind us that our friends will always be there for us. Think of a time when each of the friends you’ve chosen has been there for you when you need them. Draw a symbol of that time by the friend’s name.
Look over what you have written about your friends. What you have written may reveal some new elements of your friends you might have overlooked before. What surprises you? How has this changed the way you look at your friends? Whether this activity has radically changed the way you look at them, or simply reaffirmed what you’ve known all along, remember that in these three people, you’ve got a friend.
Loving God, my second corner is my friends, and for them I am thankful. They are my spirit mirrors. When I look within myself, I will find them. When I look to them, I will find myself. They will be there for me whenever I need them. They forgive me when I have done wrong and give me strength when I feel weak or am afraid. In them I trust. Help me to be for them all that they are to me. Let me be a beacon of trust, compassion, and love for the people who are most important to me.