The Blessing Of Having Praying Parents
21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. –Genesis 25:21 | NRSV
9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord.[C] Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. 11 She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite[D] until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants,[E] and no razor shall touch his head.” 12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard–
1 Samuel 1:9-13a | NRSV
Don’t ever fix your mouth to say, “What have my parents ever done for me?” You may be inclined to do so when you are throwing your pity party and feeling unattended and undervalued. Nothing, however, can be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that your journey to this point in your life — whether relatively smooth or heartbreakingly uneven — has been sustained and supplied by your parents — or parent substitutes — in ways you’ll never know until you go home to be with God. Despite all the food, clothing, shelter, gifts, instruction and correction your parents or parent substitutes gave you growing up — and may yet still be giving you as an adult — you’ll never be able to appreciate the level of spiritual investment they have made in you. You may have prayed that your parents or parent substitutes would leave you alone and let you do your own thing, but, I’m willing to wager my Executive Pastor’s annual salary (lol), that they have prayed repeatedly that God will never leave you alone. What’s more, I bet they prayed fervently and frequently that God let them live long enough to see you get on your feet, personally and professionally. Furthermore, they prayed that they live long enough to see you find happiness in marriage and start having children, who they intend to spoil rotten.
Praying for children you helped bring into the world or that you helped exist in this world starts long before they ever arrive. Like Isaac and Hannah, your parents started praying for you before you were even born. In fact, they may have encountered difficulty conceiving you or your mother might have experienced complications carrying you, so much so she had to be on bed rest during the final months of pregnancy. Consequently, they prayed for your conception, through pregnancy, to the day you were born. And, they have never stopped praying and never will. I know Muriel and I have prayed for Sharise and Toni all their lives, as well as our multiple goddaughters (each one of whom is precious to us) and adopted godsons. I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed for my children to pass tests, be safe in the streets, make wise decisions in romantic relationships and find work they enjoy and which will enable them to be able to afford to move out (lol). Praying for them, after all, is the one sure-fire way we can benefit them, no matter what circumstances they face or how far apart distance-wise we are from them.
Therefore, the next time you question what your parents have ever done for you, besides giving you life, remember the many unseen and unheard moments when they bombarded heaven and wrestled with evil, pervasive and powerful, on your behalf while praying. Remember that they made the God of the universe pause long enough to listen to them call your name and name your need. Remember that prayers that they prayed for you long ago are only now coming to fruition because all prayer is not only offered in time but also answered in time — sometimes over time. The greatest gift God has given you are your praying parents or parent substitutes. Never forget to thank God for them and for him.
Do you ever want to have children? If so, start praying. If not, pray anyhow for someone else who does. In fact, whose children can you pray for at this very moment, asking God to open doors, steer them straight and fortify them for fights up ahead?
Whether you know or not, someone has been praying for you all your life. Do you know who? At the very least, I know that God the Father has been answering prayers for you (see Luke 11:5-13, NRSV) and our elder brother Jesus Christ continues to make intercession for you and me (see Hebrews 4:14-16, NRSV). For this, we can be grateful. Let us pray!