When a child or sibling, spouse or parent strays from the faith that once was the mainstay of his or her life, what can you do? You worry yourself into tears, you scold and then ignore them, complain and despair. You are desperate to understand how to handle this tragedy.
You don’t have to be a psychic with extrasensory perception (ESP) to know what to do. But you do need an ESP prayer strategy. Of course, you are praying for them—and worrying about them. Your anxiety keeps you awake at night and drives them away. ESP prayer strategy will help them and help you.
E= Example. Instead of working on how to change them, show tem the example of true faith. Seek peace in your own life and joy in God’s gifts. Focus on your values. Live a virtuous life even though the strays rebel against all of it. Quietly persevere in your example of a faith-filled life whether they notice or not.
S = Surrender. Gather up all your concerns about the strays and surrender them in to Lord. He loves them even more than you do. He created them and knows everything about them, things you’ll never know and things they don’t yet realize.. He has the power to work more directly with the strays when you let go of them. The Good Shepherd seeks out the lost lambs and carries them on his shoulders back to the fold. Get out of his way and let him tend to them in much better ways than you can. His will for them far surpasses your ultimate desires.
P = Patience. You anxiety dissipates when you ask for the grace of patience. Be still and trust God. Ask him to give you more patience to deal with the child or sibling or spouse or parent you worry about. Be patient with yourself. Lower your expectations on what you can do and raise them high on what God can do. Be patient with God’s timing. With expectant faith, wait on the Lord in peace.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
(© 2013 by Nancy H C Ward)