Prayer Can Make the Difference for Struggling Parents

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 

The founding of an international non-profit, To Write Love On Her Arms.  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.  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.

Stormie Omartian’s books:  The Power of a Praying Parent and The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children

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)

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14 thoughts on “Prayer Can Make the Difference for Struggling Parents

  1. I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks now. If you want to lift my son, Steven, up in prayer I would be thankful and blessed. He is an addict and probably an alcoholic too. He is almost 33 years old and has been an addict for 15 years at least. Thank you and God bless!

    • Thank you for sending me his name. I will add him to my prayer list. I prayed for him just now. May God deliver him and set him free. Break this bondage. This is so much pain for you to be carrying, Jill. I am so sorry. I know this heartache is like no other. I send out regular emails of encouragment and hope to a large group of parents. If you would like me to add you to this email group let me know. I always blind copy them to protect everyone’s privacy. If you like to read I would like to recommend several books to you. Let me know about that, too, ok?

    • Yes, Jill, I will add Steven to my list. May God deliver him from this bondage and heal him in every way – physically, emotionally and spiritually. While you wait may you find sufficient hope, comfort, strength and encouragement in Christ himself. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone…” (Ps. 62:1)

  2. Hello, Dena. Would you add my daughter, Kristin, to your prayers? You may remember I wrote to you before about her hospitalizations for severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Your blogs about trusting God helped me so much to be able to give her problems up to Him. When I was finally able to let go and do that, we both turned a corner. She is doing well right now, although she still struggles with dealing with stress in her life. Thank you so much for your posts of encouragement and for your prayers.

    • Of course, I will be happy to add her name. I am so glad to hear that my blogs helped you. That is wonderful how both of you are improving. Thank God! Yes, it is an ongoing journey, but I rejoice with you that today is a better day. Keep taking one day at a time, rejoicing one moment at a time.

  3. Hello, Dena! Thank you so much for taking the time to write the encouraging blogs that you do. Today’s has coincided beautifully with our return from our hurting parents support group where we had a powerful time of prayer for our children, who all happen to be sons. But, there can never be enough prayer so if you wouldn’t mind adding our son, Taylor’s name to your list that would be great. He is just 17 but has struggled with a drug usage and other related behaviour and just really needs the fulfillment of knowing Jesus. He’s been doing much better, but it’s an ongoing battle so prayer support is appreciated!
    Thanks, Caroline

    • Caroline, I am so blessed to hear that you find my blogs encouraging. That is my hope! Thank you for sending me your son’s name. I would love to add Taylor to my list! I would also like to promote your hurting parents group! There are so few of them across the country. I am thrilled to hear you have one to go to! Is it open for others to join? If so, let me know the details and I will let others know on the Prayer for Prodigals website that I am also involved with. We have a list of all kinds of resources and are are wanting to add more of this very thing to help other parents! You never know — someone who lives in your area who has this need might see it! You can email me the info if you’d like.

  4. Hi Dena,
    Your words are inspiring. If you would, please pray for Devin, Elliot and Sam. 3 of my 4 kids who are struggling with addiction, (2 heroin) and one also cuts. We are in the midst of all of this right now. I am a single parent and it is so hard, I couldn’t get through each day without knowing God is by my side. I am so sad, but hopeful. I currently attend Naranon groups, but my kids are not seeking any kind of help. Thank you for sharing your story and for your prayers.

  5. Please add my daughter, Whitney, to your prayers. She is not involved with drugs, as far as we know, but at age 28, has completely changed and doesn;t have much to do with us. We are all Christians, but we believe she may be listening to the wrong voices. The people she hangs with are not believers. She has treated us very badly and it isn’t up for discussion. I have disabilities and I’m sure that plays into this somehow. She has become very secretive and we hardly hear from her. We used to be best friends.

    • I’m so sorry. Lord, work in Whitney’s heart. Soften her heart toward her parents. Comfort them and surround them with your compassionate loving arms.

  6. My millennial daughter, Kaylee is wandering somewhere in Southeast Asia. She climbs mountains and is possibly in Nepal. She has not contacted us since July, but she occasionally contacts my daughter-in-Law. I know that she has a visa for Australia. She was a Spirit-filled, homeschooled young person. I was a helicopter parent. She always loved and respected us, but now doesn’t want us to know anything about her. I recently found a note she had written thanking us for how we raised her. In the note she asked us to continue praying without ceasing. Thank you for your article. I believe prayer is our most powerful lifeline.

    • Terry, thank you for your comment. We are so very sorry for the wandering of your dear daughter, Kaylee; for how she pushed you out of her life. May she encounter the living God on one of her climbs. He is able to orchestrate the how and the when and the where of reaching her. We were helicopter parents, too. We understand. We all did the best we could as we looked to God for wisdom and guidance. This is how she’s chosen to respond. Remember what God’s first two children did – and he didn’t do anything wrong, did he? What a gift for your hearts to find that note. May it encourage you that God is working! Yes, continue to pray and never stop. May you live to see the day she returns to him with all her heart. (Jer. 24:7)

      “I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.” (NLT)