My Praying Parents: A Retrospective
All children, both young and grown, need their parents' support—and prayer is one of the most important ways to give it.
By Erin Chewning
“Erin, when was the last time you checked the oil in your car?” In college, I often heard these words over the phone, as Dad called regularly to check on me. My response was usually less than enthusiastic, especially when I had, well, neglected to do it. And now, when Mom calls just to make sure the doors are locked while I’m home alone, I like to remind her that I’m an adult. But really, these little things mean the world to me. Every phone call, card, or text message lets me know they care.
What means even more is that Mom and Dad have always prayed for us kids, and now that I’m older, I finally understand the impact of their faithful petitions. They brought every facet of our lives before God—our health and safety, friends and future spouses, attitudes, actions, and emotions—asking His guidance and protection over them all. And most importantly, they prayed we would one day come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and for this especially, I am eternally grateful.
Mom readily points out that the most important thing they, as our parents, could do was to pray. They wanted so much for us—not possessions or accolades but the things that truly matter, like a solid walk with Christ and a compassionate heart for others. This often forced them to put aside their own will for God’s, and sometimes the results He had in mind were not what they had anticipated. “What we prayed for wasn’t always in God’s plan,” my dad admitted to me recently. Over time, they learned that wanting a lot for us went hand in hand with wanting God’s will, so ultimately, that’s what they petitioned Him for.
To Mom, prayer is something as basic as the manner in which we relate as a family. In her words, “The way we interact with each other comes out of our desire to look like Jesus.” My parents were intentional about praying with us individually and as a family, which no doubt is the reason my sister and I grew up assuming prayer was crucial to survival. Today, Mom and Dad believe the strong bond we share is due to the doors prayer opened to talk about anything and everything with each other—the good and the bad.
I’m not a parent. I have yet to experience the sleepless nights, scraped knees, and empty wallets that come with having children. But I have experienced the indelible imprint a praying mom or dad can leave on the heart, mind, and soul of their child. I’ve seen God move as the result of my parents’ humble requests—like the time a hurricane was bound straight for Montego Bay, Jamaica, where I was on a mission trip: the storm went around the island instead, just as dad had prayed it would. Then, of course, there was November 20, 2010, when I married my best friend, the godly man Mom and Dad had prayed I would find. From receiving Christ as Savior to my first job, and even to my safe commute to and from work each day, I see their answered prayers stamped over every part of my being.
I have come to recognize something of great worth nestled within the supplications of my parents—something that actually goes beyond the prayers themselves. Mom and Dad’s poignant example reminds me that yes, they are good people, but most importantly, they are praying people. They see the importance of bringing everything before God, and they take the time to do it. It is such a humbling yet wonderful feeling to know that they love my sister and me enough to entrust our well-being to Him. I can only hope that one day our children will learn the importance of placing everything in His capable hands by watching my husband and me do the same.
While my husband and I are not quite ready to leap into parenthood, we look forward to the day when God will open those doors. Until that time, I have resolved to begin praying for our future children in the hopes that their lives will be saturated with prayer from the very first beat of their hearts. When I think of the ways my parents beseeched God on our behalf, I am honored to do the same for the children who will someday be ours. It is never too early, or as Dad says, never too late to start.