Praying For Whatever It Takes
Lord, cause my children’s actions to reflect the true state of their heart, so I know how to pray for them. Lord, open their eyes to their need for You. Cause them to grieve their sin and lead them to repentance. Lord, do whatever is necessary to save them. Lord, give me patience and wisdom. Create in me an urgency to pray for my children. Do not let me fall into a slumber of false security.
Pray What You Mean and Mean What You Pray
I meant every word of that prayer, but I was in no way prepared for God’s answer. I expected the victory without the conflict. I sought peace, forgetting that parenting happens in a warzone. Raising children in the ways of the Lord is an all-in, no-holds-barred, the enemy-fights-dirty battle, and eternity is at stake.
Raising children in the ways of the Lord is an all-in, no-holds-barred, the enemy-fights-dirty battle, and eternity is at stake.
Sometimes, even after suiting up in the armor, we get speared right through the heart.
Parenting is always challenging and that difficulty is exasperated when ministry paints a target on your family’s back. It’s a battle. Not every day, but many days, and sometimes days and days strung together. And often, God’s answers to our prayers don’t line up with our expectations.
“There’s Been an Accident”
This is not the kind of call any parent wants to receive, especially when they are an ocean away from their children. But the Lord willed that it was the call we’d answer from good friends who were watching our son while we attended a conference.
Our middle child bunked with his best buddy. He’s a country boy at heart, and he loves to be with this family and help his friend care for their chickens and various animals. Usually, the outside play is good, clean, energy-busting fun, but this time, it took a disobedient turn. After being told they could not play with soft air guns, my son and his friend decided to sneak a game. They bypassed the protective equipment, and a bullet hit my son’s eyeball like a bullseye. The ophthalmologist confirmed a total loss of vision in that eye.
Nothing Grieves a Mother More Than Watching Her Child Break
Am I ready for God to do whatever is necessary to save my child’s soul? That is a scary prayer – yet it is the one that matters more than many others that slip into its place. It matters more than health, more than physical protection, and more than happiness. It’s the kind of prayer that only God can answer because only God can transform a heart of stone into a heart of repentance.
It's the kind of prayer that only God can answer because only God can transform a heart of stone into a heart of repentance.
Only God can put back together a heart tainted with sin. But before a heart is rebuilt, it has to be broken.
Only God knows what it will take to bring our children, young and old, to repentance. An unexpected diagnosis. Sudden financial hardship. Loss of employment. Restricted freedoms. In these despairing emergency-room moments, it’s hard to see God’s plan. In these desperate moments, we might even be tempted to blame God for allowing hardship. But God knew that it would take temporary blindness for my son to truly see.
Expected the Unexpected
Swords clash in the spiritual realm as the kingdom takes ground in our children’s hearts. This same boy wonders if he has any value. He wonders if life is worth living. God used a year of shutdowns, closures, instability, and depression to prompt that same child to respond to His call and recommit his life and obey the command to be baptized.
Our son shared his testimony, and I repented for my lack of faith. I wept with shame. What I had seen as a barrier God saw as an opportunity. What I had seen as unloving was actually God acting in the most loving way possible. For the first time, I thanked the Lord for that soft air gun, a year of difficulties, depression, and the words of a thirteen-year-old boy:
Before I received Christ, I thought it was weird to believe in something that I couldn’t see. I was jealous of others. I lied to get out of trouble. I thought I was terrible at everything.
I was only seven when my dad and I had a talk about sin in my life. I knew I could not obey without God’s help, so I asked for God to be in my heart. It wasn’t until later that I better understood how much my sins of jealousy and lying destroy my relationship with God and how only Jesus can make it right again.
About two years ago, I got hurt, and my parents were away. I was scared. I was unable to see anything for a week. All I could think about was God. I prayed for God to help me. God showed me that he is always there.
I once thought it was weird to believe in something I couldn’t see until I could not see anything. Then God showed me his power and opened my eyes to his presence.
I believe that God let my accident happen for a reason, and I think it was to show me that if I loved him, I needed to change. So, I asked for his help.
Now, when I feel jealous, I tell myself earthly things don’t matter, and I remember the verse in the bible about not laying up treasure on earth … but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:19-21).
When I’m tempted to lie, I remember it hurts God, and it breaks our relationship. I want to treasure honesty. When I think that I’m bad at everything, I remember God has given me gifts so that I can praise him.
I am thankful that God opened my eyes to my sin and showed me I am not alone. God has forgiven me, and I love him, so I am getting baptized as a step of obedience to God. Jesus died for “ME,” and when I get baptized and am under the water, it’s like I am dead, but when I come back out of the water, it shows I have a new life in God.
Whatever It Takes
Yes, even when we don’t see it, God’s working. Even when we don’t feel it, God is loving. My prayer for my children has always been whatever it takes. But I learned that those words were easy to say and harder to live.
Whatever it takes can lead down a dark road. Whatever it takes can be dangerous. Whatever it takes requires full surrender to God. Whatever it takes is scary, horribly uncomfortable, and risky. But “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Some risks are worth it.
So yes, Lord, do whatever it takes to open the eyes of the blind. Do whatever it takes to topple the idols of comfort and apathy. Do whatever it takes to bring the dead to life. Please, Lord, help us be mothers, wives, and ministry partners who can boldly pray whatever it takes because our hope is in You.