Dad or Mom, have you heard these statements from one of your children?
“I hate you! You never let me do anything.”
“You don’t understand me!”
“I can’t wait until I turn eighteen so I can get out of here. You have too many rules.”
“Why won’t you help me (by giving money, etc)? Don’t you care what happens to me?”
“What do you mean you won’t _________? I thought you loved me?”
Have you thought any of the following about your child?
I never dreamed my child would grow up to ____________________________________.
How can this be my life? I can’t believe this is happening.
On my worst day I couldn’t have imagined my child would _____________________. I haven’t seen them in so long time. It pains me to think about it. I don’t understand how they can not want anything to do with me.
How is it possible for this child I love so deeply to hurt me so badly after all I’ve done for them?
No One Warned Us
Distressing thoughts abound. I’m sure you’ve wrestled with your fair share. Our minds run all over the place as we torture ourselves with guilt-ridden doubts and awful memories. We do our best to suppress them. They’re too hurtful and embarrassing to admit.
Dads were their son’s first hero: “My daddy’s stronger than yours!” They were their daughter’s first love: “Daddy, will you marry me?”
Moms were adored and clung to by their little ones. Completely devoted, they quit jobs, stayed home, and focused all their energy on their child’s welfare.
No one warned us parenting could one day bring us this much pain…especially when we invested so much of ourselves.
At least no one warned me.
We were uninformed and unaware of the potential dangers.
What a shock.
My husband and I have talked with a lot of hurting parents over the years, but we’ve never met a single mom or dad who thought their parenting journey would end up where it did. We didn’t think ours would either.
We were different, weren’t we? Didn’t we do it all right?
If you’re disappointed or dismayed, going through a hard time because of your child’s situation, this prayer is for you. If the holidays, your birthday, or any other special day was rough for you this year, I hope this will help in some small way.
Prayer for You
Please heal the heart of every brokenhearted parent (step-parent or grandparent) who reads this prayer. Every day is hard for them. Special days are even harder. Those times only remind them of their pain and loss – of what they don’t have anymore. They can’t enjoy those occasions. They sting and bite. They simply get through them. Their children’s choices, behaviors, and issues have wrecked them – everyone in the family has been affected. No one is immune or left untouched. Neither their child nor them are who they once were.
They’re crushed. Brokenhearted. Devastated.
Pride keeps dads from being honest about their true feelings – with themselves or anyone else. They’ve got to be strong and tough. Hold everything together. Not show how much this hurts. Hide behind a mask. Put up a front to look okay, when the truth is, they’re dying inside. No one knows. No one but you, Lord.
Moms struggle too. They thought their job was to make sure their children grew up alright: healthy meals, clean clothes, kept safe and nurtured to the highest of their abilities. They overflowed with hopes and dreams.
O God, their hopes and dreams have vanished. They’re lost. Gone. Convince them it’s not all their fault. They feel so responsible. So guilty, ashamed, and angry. Help them forgive themselves for not being perfect. Remind them no parent is – except for You, Lord, and look what Your first two children did to You. (Genesis 3) They broke Your heart too.
These parents hurt. Badly. They can’t go back. They can’t fix what’s been damaged. There’s no re-set button.
They grieve deeply. They feel like their child has died.
Please comfort their parched souls for not being able to keep the bad away or make everything better.
They did their best. They gave their all.
But they couldn’t do it.
Would you show them how to let go? To detach with love. To release their child to Your tender care?
Renew their hope.
Rebuild their lives.
Strengthen their faith to trust You more.
Reveal Yourself as wonderful Counselor. Gentle Shepherd. Prince of Peace.
Give them beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair.
Peace. For. Despair.
In the beautiful, powerful, healing name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Helpful Scriptures and Resources
There’s a song with some of the last words from my prayer, “Beauty for Ashes”. It’s one God used to comfort my heart during a season of despair and intense sadness. Click here if you’d like to listen to it.“When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need” (Psalm 138:3).
Recommended book: The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie
Recommended website for prayer and other helpful resources:
Prayer for Prodigals – prayerforprodials.com