We have no power to change our child who struggles with any number of problems from addictions to mental illness. I have only found peace from giving my daughter to God – over and over again – and then focusing on taking care of myself. There are many ways you can do this, but the best way for me has been through prayer. Al-Anon encourages co-dependent family members to do this. My faith also encourages me to do this. It is my way of letting go. It is my source of hope and strength. I also believe prayer is powerful and can change things. Ultimately it does not remove my child’s free will, or her ability to choose, but in my life it has made a difference. My prayers have not forced her to do anything she did not want to do, but they have been a mighty resource.
Many people have prayed for my daughter, Renee. Maybe thousands. I will probably never know. I do know that I have seen the results of those prayers. They have accomplished amazing things. I credit prayer with saving her life many times. Near overdoses. Car accidents. Severe cutting incidents. Mixing alcohol and drugs. Being in the presence of predators. I believe it is the sole reason she is still alive today. Prayer has protected her from greater harm and greater damage than she has already experienced. It didn’t stop all the bad things from happening, but through it I have been able to cope . . . it helped her cope, too.
Prayer has given her hope (and me, too!). It has kept her from giving up and taking her life. Prayer brought loving, caring, compassionate people into her life who were willing to sacrifice themselves to help her. David McKenna and his friends who stayed with her when detoxing are at the top of my list. Counselors. Nurses in ERs. Teachers in her high school. Kind strangers. Faithful friends and mentors. Through prayer I have seen amazing provision for her needs. Counseling & psychiatric fees. Medical insurance. Stays in Rehabs. Day to day needs met.
Prayer has also been the catalyst behind each of these things:
Each of us finding purpose for the pain – for her, for me, for her father, for our whole family.
A book by that title Purpose for The Pain (a collection of Rene’s journal entries)
My husband and I starting an outreach to help support other struggling parents, Hope for Hurting Parents. hopeforhurtingparents.com
The founding of an international non-profit, To Write Love On Her Arms. twloha.com. Click here then on “story” to read more how my daughter’s story was the genesis of this movement.
And most amazingly ,prayer was behind the making of a movie, Renee, based on her story. reneethemovie.com It will be coming to theatres sometime fall 2012.
Yes, I have seen prayer accomplish things I can explain in no other way. Some say there are no answered prayers, only “coincidences.” If that is true, then I have many more “coincidences” when I pray than when I do not pray. Therefore, I will pray all the more and enjoy my coincidences! It has become my lifeline. My communication with God. It is not a formula to get what I want, like going into a candy store, declaring “I want that!” (if only it was!)
Prayer is how I draw near and come into God’s presence to receive what I need . . . which the older I get I realize more and more what I really need . . . is Him. God Himself. I’d love getting everything I want (especially where it involves my child) or having everything “work out” the way I think it should. But really, for me, prayer has become “knowing” God. When I come to him and lay down all my concerns at his feet, I find the love, strength, comfort, peace, courage and hope I need to keep going . . . no matter what happens.
Today is a day I am taking to devote to praying for many sons and daughters who are “shipwrecked”, languishing, wandering apart from their Creator. Some once believed but have chosen to walk away and do life on their own. If you would like to send me a message with your child’s name I would love to lift their name up to God as well. I would consider it an honor and a privilege. Not just today, but any day!
If you haven’t talked to God in a long time, you might want to give it a try again. Just like us parents, He really loves hearing from his children.
Here are a few of my favorite books on praying for your children. If you’d like more resources on prayer, send me a message and I will send you more titles.
How to Pray for Lost Loved Ones by Dutch Sheets
Praying Prodigals Home by Q. Sherrer and R. Garlock
Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers by J. Berndt
Here is a final word that the Scriptures have to say about praying: “. . . pray . . . on all occassions, with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18)