In my life prayer has made all the difference. My prayers are to the God of the Bible, the creator of heaven and earth who raised Jesus from the dead. You see, I have an adult child who has struggled with various challenges (alcohol, drugs, mental illness, self harm) since adolescence. If you’re like me, I finally realized I had no power to change my child. How do we Iive with the fear and worry, the sadness and loss? How do we make peace with what we can’t change or fix?
I found peace by giving my daughter to God over and over again, then focusing on taking care of myself.
There are many ways we can give our children to God and care for ourselves, but the best way for me has been through the practice of prayer. 12 Step recovery programs encourage co-dependent family members to pray. Every meeting ends with The Lord’s Prayer. My Judeo-Christian faith encourages me to do this too.
Philippians 4: 6 (NIV) encourages me to pray about anything that’s on my heart: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
Prayer is my way of letting go, of surrendering what I have no control over. How could I? With God’s help. He is my source of hope and strength.
I believe prayer is the most powerful force in the universe, one that is often untapped. We tend to pray last, after we try everything else. However, there is no magic formula to get the results we desire. Prayer does not remove my child’s free will, or their ability to choose, but in my life prayer has made the difference. My prayers have not forced her to do anything she did not want to do, but they have been a mighty resource.
ASK OTHERS TO PRAY
One of things I did was to ask others to pray with me for my daughter. I knew I needed help. Many friends who cared joined in praying. Maybe thousands. I will probably never know. What I do know is that I have seen the results of those prayers. Their intercessions accomplished amazing outcomes. I credit prayer with saving her many times. Near overdoses. Car accidents. Severe cutting incidences. Mixing alcohol and drugs. Dangerous predators. I believe the power of prayer is the sole reason she is still alive today. God protected her from greater harm than what she had already experienced. Bad things happened, but through the intercessions of many who cared, I have been able to cope and I have seen miracles.
Prayer gave my daughter hope (and me too!). Prayer kept her from giving up and taking her life. Prayer brought loving, caring, compassionate people into her life who were willing to sacrifice themselves on her behalf: Counselors. Nurses in ERs. Teachers in her high school. Kind strangers. Faithful friends and mentors. Through prayer God provided what appeared impossible. Every need was met. Counseling and psychiatric care. Medical insurance. Stays in Rehabs. Day to day needs.
PRAYER WAS THE CATALYST
Prayer was the catalyst behind God’s provision.
Prayer brought these about as well:
- Finding purpose for the pain–for my daughter, for me, for our whole family.
- A book my daughter wrote Purpose for The Pain (a collection of Renee’s journal entries).
- A new ministry my husband and I started in 2011 to help other parents who are in pain: Hope for Hurting Parents.
- Hope for Hurting Parents support groups all over the country (in over 24 states), in a few other countries, and online.
- A Facilitator Guide and Parent Notebook in English and Spanish to help others start support groups, plus a team to assist them.
- My book You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids.
Dear brokenhearted parent, if you haven’t talked to God in a long time you might want to give it a try again. The same as for us, He loves to hear from his children.
These are a few of my favorite books that helped me pray for my daughter. More books are listed on our website. You can also go to this confidential website to post prayer requests and find still more resources: prayerforprodigals.com
Stormie Omartian’s books: The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children
Prayers for Parents of Prodgials by Linda Clare
How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones by Dutch Sheets
Praying Prodigals Home by Q. Sherrer and R. Garlock
Praying for Your Addicted Loved One by Sharron Cosby
Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers by J. Berndt
A final word from the holy Scriptures about prayer:
“. . . pray . . . on all occassions, with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18) NIV