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Every morning, the last touch on my newly-made bed is the two handfuls of ornamental hearts that remind me to pray for my children and grandchildren – that God would keep them safe and that their lives would glorify his Name, whether in their relationships, their work or play.

Imagine how hard it must be for parents whose child has lost their way and lost contact with their parents. One such parent, whose son had run away to become a sailor, kept on praying that her son would serve the Lord. God answered her prayers and this young drunken John Newton became a preacher, who led thousands to the Lord, including Thomas Scott who himself became an evangelist, leading William Cowper to the Lord. Cowper co-wrote songs with Newton, one of which is the well-known Amazing Grace.

Like Lizzie de Armond, who ridiculed her mother’s prayers and in the end wrote songs glorifying God, a stumbling modern-day alcoholic young woman has been able to discover her identity as bride of Christ and could walk down the aisle to be a blessing to her proud husband – all this because her family kept on praying.

In today’s quick-fix world we have grown to look for instant results – instant food to instant divorce, handy pills that make lively children more manageable or that help stressed adults get a night’s rest. However handy, these could never replace a prayerful dependence on God.

However much we strive to organize and fix people, we cannot do what God does in answer to  the earnest prayers of his children. Even in a stormy season due to a crisis at work, we are reminded that we may pray with confidence (Philippians 4), praying and not losing hope (Luke 18) and trusting God to make Romans 8:28 a reality for us.

Just as I would not be able to live if I stopped breathing, I would not be able to survive spiritually if I stopped praying.

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