While some of us think it’s frivolous to ask a higher power for help with love, many religious leaders disagree. They believe that God wants to help us in all aspects of our lives.

“It is never wrong to pray about anything,” says Bishop Noel Jones of San Pedro, CA-based City of Refuge. “And what is more significant, next to my relationship with God, than my relationship with someone I am in love with or someone I am seeking to spend the rest of my life with?”

“I am admonished by God ‘to acknowledge Him in all thy ways and He will direct thy path,’” explains Jones, author of The Battle for the Mind. “The decision to release yourself to anyone because of your subjective need for love is a task not to be taken for granted, because good people are hard to find. Therefore, it seems that God is the only one who can find them, and if you find one, then you have received ‘...favor from the Lord.’ This seems like a serious reason to ask the powers that be for help.”
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What the Bible has to say…
Asking for divine help in finding a mate is not a new idea, points out Rabbi Yitzchak Goldman, an Orthodox Jewish educator in Seattle. “In the Bible itself we find Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, praying for all the qualities in a woman that would make a suitable match for Abraham’s son Isaac,” he explains. “And his prayers were answered.”

Of course, you have to be careful what you ask for, Goldman notes. “It is important when praying for a relationship not to be so specific that you actually have a particular person in mind,” he counsels. “Praying is so powerful that you might actually end up with that person—and it could very well be the wrong person for you. I know a case where a guy prayed fervently that he could marry a particular woman. They got married and then divorced only a few weeks later.”

What exactly should you pray for?
The proper approach? Pray for “the right one”—whoever that may be. Melissa Wilson, a religious single person in Columbus, OH, agrees. “I believe praying for love is the perfect way to find a person God knows you would be a good fit with,” she says. “It can’t be about your wanting the person you think is right for you. You have to pray and be open to meeting the person who God knows is right for you, and it will click!”

What else do you need to do?
But don’t expect the powers that be to do all the heavy lifting, says L.A.-based comedian Ian Coburn, author of God is a Woman: Dating Disasters. “People are always praying, ‘God, why’s it so hard to meet someone?’ and ‘God, is it too much to ask to meet someone?’ and so forth,” he notes. “But I don’t think people should just sit back and wait—they should take some steps to help move things along.’”

So sign up for online dating. Join your faith community’s singles group, or volunteer. Do anything that will put you in the path of prospective dates. And keep an open mind. Wilson did just that. “I had it happen with my boyfriend (the man I know I’ll marry), and it is truly a blessing,” she admits. “I was in a crappy relationship before and, once I got out of it, I decided to pray to find the right person instead of trying out multiple people who attracted me at first glance. It saved a lot of time and wrapped up feelings and emotions.”

North Carolina-based writer Margot Carmichael Lester writes the Ask Margot advice column and has written extensively about what happens when faith and dating collide.