Praying Bigger

by Rhonda Rundel
As all parents know, parenting comes with many joys but with heartache as well. The statement that having kids is like allowing your heart to walk around outside your body is pretty accurate. God has blessed me and my family in countless ways, but every life must have struggle, for that is how we grow in dependence on the Lord. The area where God has most forced me to trust Him is with my children, who both suffer with mental illness.

In November of 2018 the Lord directed me to attend the Covenant women’s retreat. During that retreat the Lord spoke clearly to me that I was to be praying for my son’s healing. (That’s another long story involving a tattered, decades-old devotional tucked away “randomly” in my Bible about Nebuchadnezzar and the seven years he spent eating grass like a cow before the Lord restored his sanity.) My son suffers from a debilitating mental illness that has no medical cure. He was in an intense state of crisis at the time, and my prayers focused around keeping him safe one more night. The Lord made it clear that I was to be asking for far more than to keep my son alive one night at a time.

I found myself sharing with others that God had told me to “pray bigger” for my son. That was, after all, close to what He said. Strangely, I found it nearly impossible to pray such a simple prayer, even though I wanted my son’s healing with all my heart. I was uncharacteristically defiant. This confused and scared me because I knew God was able to do abundantly more than we imagine, and I was certain He told me to pray for my son’s healing. Why was this hard? It took some time to unfold the complicated lies I was believing. I eventually told a few people what God had actually said to me and about how hard it had been to be obedient in this. They spoke all the truths to me, truths that I already knew in my head. (Thanks, friends!) They helped me discover that I felt unworthy to ask for such a big and impossible thing for my family. After all, who am I? The simple answer is: I am a child of God. I am a child of a God who wants to give good things to His children.

By about February, 2019, I was finally praying for the Lord to heal my son. That March, he was back in the hospital. It was another time of crisis. During this time the Lord gave me 2 Chronicles 20:15. Thus says the LORD to you, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” I felt peace during this time that the Lord was doing a good work. By July of 2019 my son had been accepted at a group home. During the first few months miraculous changes occurred in him. I don’t know if God has or will heal my son. What I do know is that a boy who has been at times catatonic, unable to speak, unaware of who he was or where he was and was often fearful and confused is now talking with me regularly and making plans for the future. He was able to come visit for a week at Christmas and see family that he hasn’t seen in years. This is abundantly more than I ever dared hope for.

If the Lord has impressed on you to pray for someone or something, you might consider that God will not do apart from prayer that which He has ordained to do by prayer. I believe this more than ever.