I had reached the end of myself. I longed to wake up and have it all be a nightmare. I wept in my bed, knowing that downstairs, directly below me, my 15-year-old daughter—smelling of smoke and having confessed to me hours before the drugs and the sex—was curled up in her fuzzy green blanket searching for answers to the ache in her heart. My heart also ached as my mind fitfully wandered through myriad thoughts and regrets. The minutes on my bedside clock sewed a seam in time, aggressively weaving the pain of this night into the fabric of my life. I ended up praying all night long. A few days later, while running on our elliptical machine, God gave me a picture of what I needed to do. He simply said:
If you choose to run after your kids you will eventually collapse. You will not ever catch them. However, if when they run from you (alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex) and you turn the other way and run toward Me, you will never get weary because I will be drawing you to Myself. You will make it to Me, and I will make it to your kids.
That day, I took the time to personalize God's Word for my daughter and committed to praying specific prayers for her every morning. I have also written prayers for my other three daughters using Scripture that addresses their unique struggles and needs. As I have developed this discipline, I have found peace in letting go. My daughter has recently attended counseling, been more open to communicating with my husband and me, and has pleasantly surprised us by making a few good decisions. She has a long way to go, just like me, but I see God working in her life as I turn the other way and present my needs to the One who can touch her heart.
This month, consider spending a meeting focused on finding Scripture to personalize for someone who is struggling. Have each person in your group choose one person or family for whom they will commit to pray every day for a month. Give each person several index cards, a pen or pencil, and a Bible. Challenge each person to write down at least five passages of Scripture for his or her person or family. Show the group several examples such as:
- Lord God, help (person's name) to guard (his/her) heart above all else, for it is the wellspring of life. -Proverbs 4:23
- Father, I pray that (person's name) will forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, that (he/she) will press on toward the goal to win the prize for which You have called (him/her) heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Phil. 3:13-14
- I pray (person's name) will commit (his/her) way to You, Lord; and (he/she) will trust in You and You will do this: You will make Your righteousness shine like the dawn. -Psalm 37:5-6
Close your time together by praying a personalized verse of Scripture over the person on your right. Continue around the room until each person has been prayed for. Remind everyone to pray each day for his or her person or family. Allow time each week for people to share how his or her prayer effort is going.
Small group leaders, encourage your group members to:
- Write a letter to an immediate family member, expressing your gratitude for his or her presence in your life.
- Buy a child a new pair of fun shoelaces.
- Start a new activity (walking, tennis, rollerblading, cooking class, book club, etc.), and pray for the new people you meet.