An Honest Prayer

Bunko night is my wife’s only real outlet to be with her friends.  You have to feel for my wife living with all boys. When my three sons and I get together, it is a testosterone tornado that could give any female a run for her money! 

Last month it was my wife’s turn to host Bunko night at our house.  This meant that Dad and the boys would have to remain upstairs and fully out of he way of the estrogen party happening downstairs.  I managed to keep the natives at bay until bedtime. With little convincing I agreed to a “sleep-over.” All the boys crammed together in Cooper’s room.  Copper is my son with Down syndrome.  He’s nearly four but still sleeps in a crib.  So, imagine the scene, Drew my six year old, on the floor in a sleeping bag jammed between Cooper’s crib and my youngest, Wesley, in a Pak-n-Play.  I attempted to read a story while trying to keep the two little guys contained and the one big boy from laughing too much! 

Finally it was time to say prayers and go to bed. Drew, the oldest, still excited about this adventure in sleeping arrangements, volunteered to offer tonight’s bedtime prayers.  I love hearing my children pray.  I love their simple requests and their candor before the Lord.  It reminds me that prayer is best done with childlike faith.

He began to pray and went through the normal gamut of categories.  He thanked God for the day, our family and allowing them to have a “sleep-over.”  He then began to pray for his mother who is pregnant with our fourth child.  This is where the prayer really got my attention.  It went something like this…

“God, please help the baby in mommy’s tummy to be ok.  Please help him not to have Down syndrome and have to go to LeBonheur (our local children’s hospital). But if he does have Down syndrome, we will love him and take care of him and not kill him.”

This is really only a moment a parent of a special needs child can appreciate.  Sometimes we wonder how our typical children are handling the special need that they have to live with also.  It is through prayers like this that we get a snapshot into how they are processing things. I was amazed that with no prompting on my part, my son was able to articulate the struggle many parents face.  I have tried to pray the same way at times.  I want my unborn children to be “ok” and not have problems or disabilities, yet I too want God to know that I will love the child anyway. 

The last part of his prayer is interesting.  Besides the fact that I am glad to hear my son is not going to kill my fourth child, this prayer represents the value of human life.  With childlike faith in God’s sovereign and sometimes uncomfortable will, this prayer says to the Lord, “we will have what You decide.” Beyond the explosive debates surrounding abortion, there is the temptation we all face to take matters into our own hands when we don’t get our way. I’m certain one of the worst parts of being a Christian is the way I can be so emotionally attached to my expectations when God often has other plans.  I wish I could replicate the heart of this simple and honest prayer of my son when it comes to other areas of disappointment or unmet expectations.  I don’t want to think about how much of God’s will I have “killed” because I refused to accept the discomfort or disappointment.

I can’t wait to welcome our next child into the world.  We’re still not sure if we will have a boy or a girl (if God hears the prayers of my wife, we will have a girl!).  We aren’t sure if he or she will have Down syndrome or not.  We do know that God is in control, and whatever He gives us we will receive with love and care and we will not kill him or her.   

Posted by Andy Savage at 8:39 PM
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