How to Partner in Parenting with Our Heavenly Father
- Pam and Bill Farrel
- 2008 31 Dec
"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
My husband Bill and I believe in keeping track of prayer requests. Sometimes we might wonder if God is listening, and writing down our prayers helps remind us that God does listen. Let me share one, simple prayer request I made for one of my sons, Brock, when he was a baby. The prayer went like this:
God, give Brock the courage to stand alone for You. Give him the integrity and wisdom to choose well in his relationships; lead him to the godly woman he will marry someday.
Does God answer when we partner with Him in prayer? Let me share with you some highlights of the years following that prayer:
We sat in the bleachers at the first football game that Brock was to be the starting varsity quarterback. He was only a junior in high school but God had already used him to bring many of his friends to faith in Christ. As a freshman, Brock had thrown three pizza parties where he shared his personal testimony along with the Gospel. By the end of his freshman year, thirty-four of his friends made decisions for Christ. Realizing the need for long term follow-up so these new Christians could grow with God, Brock contacted Fellowship of Christian Athletes and launched a club on the campus by his sophomore year.
Now, Brock wanted to make a public statement for the faith again, so he called up his buddies on the football team and said, “This week, after we beat Fallbrook, I’m going to the fifty yard line to pray. Will you join me?”
They all said, “ We’re there for ya, man!”
The praying over Brock’s life had not ended with our first prayer. Bill and I prayed for and with Brock that very morning, followed by prayers from my Moms In Touch prayer group.
That night, Brock’s team lost 38-0.
Deflated, the guys wandered off the field — all except Brock who walked straight to the fifty yard line where he knelt down, alone. Standing near Bill, I asked, “Should I run down and pray with him?”
My wise husband replied, “Oh yeah, Pam, that’s what the varsity quarterback wants — his mommy to come rescue him!” Just then I remembered the prayer we prayed years ago. Help him stand alone for you, God. And now he was.
God answers prayer. Sometimes in ways we don’t expect. Soon, three players from the opposing team joined Brock at the fifty and they prayed. After the game some of Brock’s youth leaders from Student Venture and Fellowship of Christian Athletes went down to encourage Brock.
When Bill and I finally made our way to the field, I threw my arms around Brock. Reaching up, I took his face in my hands and said, “I have never been more proud of you than I am at this moment. I know tonight was one of the hardest nights of your life -- but you kept your word to God. Remember what we always tell you, ‘Those who honor God, God honors.’ Brock, I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but God will honor you for this.”
After that defining moment, God continued to be true to His promise in Psalms Psalms 84:11, “no good thing does God withhold from those who walk uprightly .” By the end of Brock’s senior year, he was:
- Named Athlete of the Year
- Added to the National Hall of Fame for Football for a Scholar Leader
- Named San Diego Citizen of the Year (and that came with a commendation from the governor and a scholarship from the NFL Retired Player’s Association).
- Given our high school’s highest award for servant leadership, Knight of the Year. When the faculty presented the award, they gave him a standing ovation.
God answers prayer!
Brock went on to attend a junior college he selected because the coach was a committed believer, active in FCA, and mentored his players. Brock helped teach a Bible study for eighteen months while attending a class that helped him learn how to defend his faith. His heart grew for helping people find answers to their spiritual questions.
God answers prayer.
Then, Brock was named MVP, mission conference player of the year. From there, Brock faced a challenge. We submitted Brock’s profile to all the Div 1 and Div 1A A schools, but being a 6’ quarterback meant he needed a miracle to get a scholarship despite his record-breaking throwing abilities. In addition, Bill had experienced some health issues and was in a career transition, so we too needed that miracle scholarship.
One night, God woke me up with this impression: “Send Brock’s resume to Liberty University tonight.” The very next day, Liberty’s coach phoned Brock’s coach. We had never seen him so excited as when he signed that Letter of Intent.
God answers prayer!
The answered prayers do not just pertain to athletic accomplishments or even Brock’s personal faith. Since Brock’s birth, we have continued to pray for his future bride. When Brock had been a Liberty student just a few days, I did a book signing for Amazing Grace Christian Bookstore in Phoenix, AZ. While there, I struck up a conversation with the bookstore owner and his wife, Sheryl. We chatted about our kids, until she asked, “Where did you say Brock got his scholarship?”
“He’s the quarterback of Liberty University.”
“My Hannah goes to Liberty!”
We gave the kids each other’s phone numbers, and our two strong-willed, firstborn kids decided to go on a date! After eighteen months of dating and a week immersed in prayer, Brock took Hannah on a tour of their relationship. They had not even kissed yet to safeguard their purity.
At the place they first met, Brock gave Hannah nails. At the place they first talked seriously, he gave her a hammer. At the place they first prayed, he gave her a piece of wood. And at the home she was living in with friends, he gave her a second piece of wood which they hammered together to form a cross.
Then, he knelt on one knee next to the cross and said, “I want our relationship to start at the foot of the cross. Hannah will you marry me? Hannah, can I kiss you? ”
On July 25, 2005, Brock and Hannah tied the knot and became husband and wife.
Today Brock is a football coach, equipping young men with life skills and faith. He is happily married to Hannah and the proud dad of our first granddaughter, Eden.
Yes, God answers prayer, and now the prayers for our grandchild have begun.
Praying for your child
We tell you the story of Brock not to brag but to give you tangible encouragement that God does indeed hear the prayers of parents for their children – not just our prayers, but all parents’ prayers.
Did we do anything special in praying for Brock? Not really; we just tried to follow 1 Thessalonians, to “pray without ceasing.” Prayer, after all, is simply talking to God, having an open line of communication with Him. And when words fail us, when our children break out hearts or our fears get the best of us, we can pray as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-15) and allow the Spirit to intercede on our behalf (Romans 8:26).
So, how about we commit 2009 as a year of prayer for our children? You might be amazed at how God works in their lives!
Pam Farrel is mom to three, and wife to Bill. Together they have penned over 27 books including: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. Pam also co-authored Got Teens? with Hearts at Home Founder, Jill Savage. Pam offers many free relationship resources for marriage and family at www.farrelcommunications.com. Bill and Pam will be featured in an interview on Focus on the Family Jan 6 and 7.