Posted by: ramonamom | October 4, 2008

Stephen’s Prayer

Our oldest son was adopted from Russia at the age of 13 and he is now almost 21.  He has struggled greatly over the years, in most areas of his life.  With no educational basis to work with (he started school late in Russia and slept through most classes with little to nothing expected out of him by the teachers) he was able to learn read, write (marginally), and speak English.  We discovered a very sensitive and artistic side of him, which we encouraged in the form of photography.  While he was home with us, he and his brother provided us with a continuing supply of first quality nature photos.  He would often sit on our deck for hours, photographing hummingbirds. 

One year ago, we were forced to make the difficult decision to “kick out” this son, though.  At the age of 20, he was living at home in constant defiance of our house rules.  Given a curfew, he simply climbed out his window and then reappeared early in the morning, before we awoke.  We were fully aware of his avoidance of our rules, though, (parents DO have ways of finding these things out!) and made the difficult decision to install a keyless entry deadbolt on our door and not give him the code. 

This son slept in his car off and on for weeks, sometimes in the parking lot of a local park.  Other times, he would sleep outside our house in his car, or near a friend’s home.  Eventually he began what is called in “teen talk”, couch surfing.  He would stay with one friend until they got tired of him and then move on to another couch.  One year later, he is still in this mode of living and we rarely see him.  One car in his name has been impounded by the local police department and the car he was using has been repossessed due to non payment. 

He has never come back and admitted that he did anything wrong while living at home.  His job is at a local restaurant and his reason for liking it is that he “doesn’t do much work”.  The few times that he has visited our home this past year, he has spent most of the time boasting about his sinful lifestyle.  No one here is impressed with his stories, though, so he never stays long. 

Sounds hopeless, doesn’t it?  The temptation is indeed to think that there is no hope for him.  If he stays on the current track, he will most likely end up in prison eventually.  But, we must consider from whence our hope comes. 

As Christians, our hope is in the Lord and He is able to do great things!  Consider the story of Saul, the man who persecuted Christians to the point of death.  It is written in Acts that he “breathed threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” and also that he “persecuted the Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women…”  At the time of Stephen’s stoning, Saul was “standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”  Stephen’s prayer as he died, though, was answered in what folks of that day would consider a miraculous manner.  He prayed that the Lord would not “hold this sin against them.”  John MacArthur notes in his commentary on Acts,

Stephen pleaded for God’s forgiveness on behalf of his executioners.  He was praying for their salvation, since that is the only way God forgives sin.

Rather than giving Saul and the others up as hopeless cases, Stephen prayed for their salvation and forgiveness.  He knew the amazing grace of His savior and how He was able to change lives.  Indeed, the murderer became the preacher, beginning on the road to Damascus.  John MacArthur comments,

 “Saul, who had been so violent, was violently brought face to face with the enormity of his crimes – not against Christians, but against Christ.”

Is our God able and willing to change the heart of even the most heinous of sinners, even today?  You bet He is!  Are we called to pray for those whom others may consider “hopeless cases”?  Without ceasing!  I pray for our son regularly and know what a wonderful testimony of God’s grace he will have if he is among the chosen ones in God’s kingdom.  Although it may seem as if God does not hear our prayers at the time, such is not the case.  We are called to pray for the souls of sinners, leaving the redemptive work in God’s hands and in His perfect timing.  In the meantime, the way I speak of our son and the life he has chosen for himself can either show sinful thoughts and frustrations, or my words can reflect God’s grace and forgiveness. 

Parents, do not give up praying for your wayward children, adopted or otherwise.  The God who saved Paul can also save your child and you are called to pray for this salvation without ceasing!

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Responses

  1. This is so true! Thanks for the reminder and for sharing. We will continue praying that the Lord will work in his heart!


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