“I would like to say something here.”
– Rebekah Montgomery
Prayers Mothers Must Pray For Their Children
By Rebekah Binkley Montgomery
Until the doctor placed a squirming little morsel of humanity on my chest and the nurses lifted my head so I could see my newborn daughter, I don’t think I ever truly loved anyone so absolutely unreservedly. At that moment, it was as if the spirits of every mother from Eve to the present gathered around the head of the delivery table and said, “Now you are really going to learn about love!”
And this has been true. The slog through the Valley of the Shadow of Death required to birth a baby was a cakewalk compared to the rigors of childrearing. Like all mothers, I have needed to draw heavily on that God-given reserve of love for patience, wisdom, and endurance for that trek. But even childrearing is a stroll-in-the-park compared to the hand-to-hand combat with Satan for the souls of each of our four children.
This was never truer than for our youngest son, Daniel. After the tragic loss of a son and several miscarriages, my husband and I were blessed to adopt.
Some children are born with sunny dispositions and eager to please, but Daniel came into the world indignant about the cold hands of delivery room nurse, the doctor’s bad breath, and slow service in getting him a bottle. He was angry and opinionated for the next 20 years and adolescence was all-out warfare. The school actually had my phone number on speed dial. We tried everything and later discovered that he had some contributing medical problems. None of this changed our love for and commitment to Daniel, but it certainly tested it.
There were literally hundreds of nights when all I did was pray, begging God for wisdom and to heal and save our wayward son. I felt like I was trailing the Good Shepherd through the darkness, edging sheer cliffs, fighting wolves, as we searched for this lost lamb.
I’ll admit it: I very often felt discouraged. Yet, like the persistent mother Jesus encountered (Matthew 15, Mark 7), I had just enough stubborn faith to keep begging God to help.
From my perspective, the story of the persistent mother is a tragic comedy. In the story, Jesus is visiting Tyre on the seacoast. The Scriptures don’t say what He is doing there—resting, preaching, shopping—but the mother attaches herself to Him, begging for mercy for her demon-possessed child and refuses to leave His side. The disciples are peeved. They don’t care about the suffering of the child or the woman. They want peace and quiet!
Here is just one of the heartbreaks experienced by the parents of wayward children: Not only is their child at risk, their Christian friends aren’t very supportive. They may not know what to say or be full of those irritating pat answers. Often, my husband and I found comfort and help at Al-Anon that we did not find at church and that should not and need not be the case.
Fortunately, Jesus never tired of our neediness. Nor of the pleading of the relentless mother.
The comedy portion takes place in the clever, almost playful repartee between Jesus and the persistent mother. He says (paraphrase), “I can’t help you. I’m sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
“Help me anyway,” the mother begs.
“It’s not right to take the children’s meat and give it to the dogs.”
“True. But even dogs gets crumbs.”
At this point, you can almost here Jesus laugh with delight at her stubborn confidence in His goodness and grace. “You have great faith! Your daughter is healed!”
Regardless of the attitude of the disciples or prevailing religious snobbery, she trusted the compassionate heart of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Every despairing mother can, too.
One night, when the situation with my son looked hopeless, I dreamed I was carrying him through a dark, foggy night over steep, rocky terrain. He was heavy and the way was difficult but I would not set him down. I carried him uphill until I could go no farther. I looked up and before me was the cross and Jesus hanging upon it, His blood dripping down. In wonder and awe, I touched His blood and immediately, I felt stronger, hopeful, empowered, wiser.
And I knew what to do: I prayed the prayer every mother must pray for her child whether that child is prodigal or not: “By the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, bring every thought and imagination of my child’s mind, every emotion of his heart, every deed of his hands, and every step that he takes under Your Lordship. Lead him to love You with all of his heart, mind, and soul, and his neighbor as himself.”
With that, I anointed him with the blood of Jesus. Then I asked the Lord, “What now?”
He said, “Leave him with Me.”
I laid my son at the foot of the cross. Although the dream ended, in my heart, there my son remains.
There have been changes in Daniel’s life. I still pray for him as I do all of my children, but I pray in faith now rather than out of desperation and fear. In trust, I have laid him where Jesus suffered, bled and died. His blood covers him; Jesus’ eyes of compassion see him from the cross.
While I “saw” all of this in a dream, I have prayed this prayer with many mothers and grandmothers who are struggling to rear their children in a world where Satan actively seeks to destroy their precious little ones.
Let me urge you to be like the persistent mother and stay on your knees pleading for your child’s soul. Let me urge you to lay your child at the foot of the cross and pray:
“By the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, I ask You to bring every thought and imagination of my child’s mind, every emotion of his heart, every deed of his hands, and every step that he takes under Your Lordship. Lead him to love You with all of his heart, mind, and soul, and his neighbor as himself.”
© Rebekah Binkley Montgomery 2020
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