We know prayer changes things, and we know that our God is all-powerful. But when you pray for something, do you ever struggle with the expectation that it will be answered? If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably met people that seem like they are just too hard to reach, their hearts are too hard toward God. It’s frustrating how easily we forget what Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I was recently reminded of this powerful truth through my interaction with a woman named Karen. Allow me to share her story.
Karen is the mother of a four-year-old boy with special needs. My friends Mary and Elaine met her at a local library where they were attending story time with their preschoolers. Elaine is involved in the disability ministry of our church, so she was immediately drawn to Karen’s four-year-old with his broad smile. The women began talking, and Karen shared about how burdened she felt over her son’s disabilities. He was struggling with a variety of issues including language delays and not yet being toilet trained. With a deep sigh, she mentioned how alone she and her husband felt as they tried to raise him.
Mary and Elaine shared with Karen that our church has a special needs ministry—designed for kids like her son. Karen was surprised and seemed intrigued, but then concluded that she was an atheist and was not interested.
This is where months of prayer began. Mary asked me to join in ongoing prayer for Karen, her husband, and their son. Mary and Elaine continued to meet her at the library and elsewhere. Mary would share a Christian book with Karen… Karen would give Mary a book in support of atheism. As conversations continued, we prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Mary called me periodically to see if I had any solutions for Karen’s concerns. One of those concerns was finding a preschool for typical children that would accept a little boy with special needs who was not toilet trained. At first this seemed impossible…“but with God”. We began praying about it. Karen was able to find a preschool (run by a Christian church) that was willing to pray about accepting her son. They came back to Karen with a resounding YES! It has been a wonderful situation for the preschool, Karen, and her family!
When Karen expressed a desire to find a support group for special needs moms, we began to pray. I knew of a group affiliated with another local church. I called the leader and asked if she’d be willing to have Karen join their support group. “Absolutely!” she said, “I’ll start praying for her right away.” Karen immediately registered online and bought the book. She and her husband read the book, “crying through every chapter.” Karen met with the group leader, the mother of two boys with special needs, and liked her immediately. We continued to pray that this group would be a good fit for Karen. Karen was the only “new” mom in the group at her first meeting, but she was very impressed by a woman who sat next to her and began chatting. She had experienced so much hardship, but according to Karen she “glowed.” Karen has continued to meet with this group of moms regularly.
And now, Karen has started attending our church! Her husband and son don’t feel comfortable there yet, and Karen hasn’t given her heart to the Lord, but with praying friends, who knows what could happen!
Is there an “impossible” situation you can pray about today?
* This story is true, but the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those mentioned.