A child’s prayer answered

By Karen Harper DeLoach*

 

 

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5, KJV).

 

New Year’s Day, 1990. A knock on the door awakened me early in the morning. When I saw my friend standing on the front porch, my stomach clenched. I knew something was wrong.

“Karen, your mother couldn’t get through to you on your phone, so she called me,” she said.

“What’s the matter?” I asked, pulling my robe tighter around me.

She just looked at me. A beat of the heart, and I knew. “It’s Daddy! Isn’t it? Daddy’s dead!”

I had just talked to Mom the day before, and Daddy was supposed to be going home from the hospital. His procedure was fairly routine, and he was doing fine. Now I learned that he’d had a massive heart attack during the night. In the rush of dressing and packing for the trip back home, the realization hit me.

God, You didn’t answer my prayer!

“Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

God bless Mommy and Linda and Mikey and Patti.

And please save Daddy, so he can go to heaven with us.

Amen.”

I prayed that prayer nightly from the time I was 5 years old. Over the years, I added things from time to time, but the basics stayed the same right into my teen years when I started praying “homemade” prayers. Even when I discarded my childhood “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer, one thing stayed the same — the very first thing I ever remember asking God for — “Please, save my dad.”

When I was around 24, the mother of a 3-year-old son, I finally summoned the courage to address the issue face-to-face. Well, not exactly face-to-face. I didn’t have that much nerve!

My dad was a very intimidating man. During World War II at the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marines. Later, he had a career in the Air Force, serving a stint as a drill instructor in boot camp. He was not a Father Knows Best kind of dad who gave lots of hugs and called me “Kitten.”

I was much too scared of Daddy to have a sit-down conversation about his relationship (or lack of one) with God. So I took a different route. I wrote him a letter.

After expressing the things I admired and appreciated about him, I told Daddy that I had missed him being in church with us when I was growing up. Then I alluded to my desire to see my little boy’s grandpa make arrangements to spend eternity with his family. Daddy appreciated my letter and responded favorably. (In fact, I later found out that he saved the letter and put it in one of the family picture albums.) But he made no reference to eternal matters.

However, my mother shared something with me. When I was around 5 years old, some friends were praying with Mom one evening after church for Daddy to be saved. The Lord spoke to Mom’s heart, assuring her that as she lived a faithful life for God she would be blessed to see her husband saved one day. Knowing God’s faithfulness, Mom had stood on that promise ever since. Her story bolstered my faith, too, as I continued to pray for my father.

Now here we were 34 years after Mom had received her assurance, 34 years after a little girl started praying for her daddy, and what were we doing? Making funeral arrangements, receiving visitors and helping all the grandchildren put their little farewell notes into the casket with their grandpa. All I could think was, God, You didn’t answer my prayer!

The day before Daddy’s funeral, Mom sat on the couch beside me. “Karen,” she said, “Brother McKay came to see me today.” (He was a retired minister who attended Mom’s church.) “He told me that he visited your daddy in the hospital after I left the other night.”

Apparently, they talked about the Lord, and before Brother McKay left Daddy prayed the sinner’s prayer and gave his heart to God!

At Mom’s request, we children, our spouses and the older grandchildren sang her favorite song and taped it to be played at Daddy’s funeral. Heavy-hearted, I sat in the funeral chapel, clasping my husband’s hand, and listened as the recorded song played.

The words thrilled me as the healing balm of peace flooded my soul.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father … great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.”

And all I could think was, Thank You, God! You answered my prayer!

 

*Karen Harper DeLoach lives in Statesboro, Ga.

 

From: http://www.pentecostalevangel.ag.org/

 

 

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