The cell phone buzzed on my desk. Glancing at the name, I whispered a quick prayer, O Lord, help me to say the right things.
“Mom, I want to tell you what happened this morning at church. It’s changed everything.”
NOT what I was expecting.
You see for nine months I’ve been praying for my collage-aged daughter. I’ve spent many hours on the phone with her over the months as she worked through the difficult feelings that accompany a breakup with a boy. She had good days, often I didn’t hear from her then. The bad days arrived and the phone would ring. Tears, sadness, confusion. I often would say the wrong thing and make it worse before I would struggle with word to make it better.
My heart has been broken for her and I grieved as she has been stuck in such a difficult emotional place and her self-esteem has been hammered. Her faith in God has been challenged to the point she questioned the truth of it all. Gulp!
Prayed. I’ve prayed and prayed for months for her. Spoken scriptures in prayer for her. Prayed with her and proclaimed promises from the Word to her on the phone. Each morning in my prayer time I bring her before God asking for Him to heal her heart. Recently my Friday morning prayer group, that meets at my house, prayed for her and her situation.
I’ve prayed so long and finally I began praying a prayer out of desperation, “Lord, send her a new boyfriend. Someone who will be kind and take away this pain.” This seemed like a reasonable prayer and certainly made sense as an acceptable outcome.
Until this phone call. Ugh!
“Mom, the most incredible thing happened. The message at church this morning was all about prayer. About praying and bringing God into our world. Mom, it was in that moment that God showed up. The Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to me to pray for my ex-boyfriend." She went on to share, "We are all just broken people crying out for help. He’s broken. I’m broken. My heart is moved to pray."
I’m stunned in silence as I listen.
She continues, “All the anger inside of me disappeared in a moment and compassion flooded in. All I wanted to do was just ask him how I could pray for him. And then, truly just listen. People are desperate to be heard. I want to listen with a full heart and then pray for him in that moment.”
“O Baby girl.” I gulped back tears and could barely breathe.
“Mom, then I started thinking about all of my friends.” She lists several names, each who are also struggling deeply in their lives. “I want to ask them, ‘How can I pray for you?’ then really listen and pray for them. I know how to pray and for the first time I’m not afraid to just do it.”
“And most importantly, God showed up. He came to me in the moment and my faith is restored.”
As I listened to this young woman who I’ve prayed for nine months, my eyes teared up. “Caitie, it’s just so astounding. I’m humbled. I’m happy.
I prayed for her to not lose this moment and to write down this moment and read it in moments of doubt. “I love you sweetie.”
“Love you too Mom.”
Why am I sharing this story? For several reasons but mostly as a lesson to myself.
You see, I prayed for this kid way to small. I’m ashamed I even spoke words like, give her a new boyfriend. As if God needs suggestions from me…. God showed up bigger than I could have dreamed up or hoped. He knew EXACTLY what the right thing was for my daughter.
As I spent time in prayer the next morning, the Holy Spirit gently took me through some thoughts about how to pray going forward. I need to pray things for those I love such as, “Lord, encounter their heart. Move in love in their lives. Show them who You are and reveal Your great plans for them. Lord, protect them from the evil one.” And then all I could pray for all my family that morning was:
Lord, encounter Caitie’s heart more. Lord, encounter my husband hearts. Lord encounter their hearts. Encounter their hearts. Your wisdom is so great. And I’m sorry I pray such small prayers. Forgive me and teach me to pray Big. In Jesus name. Amen