My head hit the pillow in frantic prayer for my son. Eight hours later I awoke with the same prayer on my lips, “Please give me a Bible verse to pray over Drew.”
I don’t know how many times I repeated that prayer but my desperation led me to keep knocking at the door until my Father answered.
The night before, my 9-year-old and I had yet another conversation about trusting Christ as Savior. It’s a conversation we’ve had often over the years. Each time the topic comes up I try to gently share truth, while not pressuring him to pray a prayer, yet inviting him to receive the truth he knows in his head into his heart.
This particular night I could sense the struggle, the conviction, yet his concerns told me he was not quite ready. On one hand, I’m thankful he seems to be counting the cost of becoming a follower of Christ. On the other, my momma’s heart is shaking in fear. What if he doesn’t choose to follow Jesus?
I knew what I needed to pray was bigger than what my feeble words could muster. I needed weight of Scripture in my prayers. So I prayed for a verse.
Dawn hadn’t broken yet when I flipped on my lamp and began studying in the Bible study I’m doing now, Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon. Not a parenting book, I could hardly believe it when in that day’s reading, I saw not one, but two Scriptures in a lesson that had nothing to do with a child coming to Jesus.
I knew without a doubt this was God’s answer.
The first passage I read was the familiar story of God’s call on the child Samuel, who was in the care of Eli and living in the temple. How many times have I read this account? Yet I saw something new this time, something my frightened soul needed.
The boy Samuel served the Lord in Eli’s presence. In those days the word of the Lord was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread.
One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing, was lying in his room. Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the Lord, where the ark of God was located. Then the Lord called Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“I didn’t call,” Eli replied. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
Once again the Lord called, “Samuel!”
Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
“I didn’t call, my son,” he replied. “Go back and lie down.”
Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. Once again, for the third time, the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.”
Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the boy. He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
The Lord came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:1-10 HCSB)
Samuel lived in the temple and still did not recognize the voice of God. A load seemed to lift as I read these words. If Samuel, who was immersed in service to the Almighty God, didn’t recognize God’s voice, it’s not abnormal that my child doesn’t yet.
My eyes then caught on verse 7.
Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord, because the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
In my journal, I scribbled three bullet points:
- Reminder, Drew’s faith will stem from God’s revelation in his life.
- Samuel was literally raised in the temple and still could not know God apart from God revealing Himself.
- (v. 11) The Lord’s call wasn’t about Samuel. It was about Samuel’s part in God’s plan.
This was my cue to keep doing what I’m doing. Keep teaching Drew the Word — because faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Keep him immersed in Scripture, at home and in church. Keep pointing him to faith “as we go” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Keep directing his eyes and ears to God so he will recognize His voice when God speaks.
This revelation would have been enough to calm my soul, but I had asked God to give me a verse to pray. And in that same day’s study, I received it.
[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Ephesians 1:17-19 NASB).
This was it. This was my verse. My heart had hummed prayers of enlightenment for my son, that he would know God and the immeasurable strength He provides His children. This verse, I knew, was the answer to my prayer.
Pulling out an index card, pen, and marker, I turned this verse into a personal prayer for my son. I taped it on my bathroom mirror, where I pray God’s Word over his life daily.
I wish I could share with you the answer to this prayer, but I am still waiting. Sometimes I believe God’s heart for us is to teach us patience and persistence in the wait, instead of answering right away.
When my heart starts to quiver, when fear creeps up again, I look back to the truths of 1 Samuel 3 and pray again Ephesians 1. In both of those passages, the common denominator isn’t the one praying, or the efforts of the pray-er. It’s God. It’s the call of God on Samuel. It’s the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit on unseeing hearts.
So I will pray, and I will trust, while I wait.
Have you had a similar struggle in your parenting journey? I’d love for you to share in the comments. To keep updated on future posts, click here.