“Why can’t you just be happy for me and let it go?” I remarked to a friend, who insisted we keep praying for pregnancy. After being diagnosed with lupus at age 27, I was prescribed a plethora of toxic meds and told any potential pregnancy would be high risk. The fear of all the “what ifs” almost kept my husband and me from trying altogether. My sister also has an autoimmune disease, and she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, so we remained hopeful. But as time passed, thoughts of hope and joy were replaced with doubt. The faith that once compelled me to pray and seek God was gradually displaced by the thought: It’s never going to happen.
Many prayed for my healing, even specifically that I would have children, but I struggled to agree with them and believe it would ever come true. After some time wrestling with God about it, I realized I was afraid to keep praying for pregnancy because I was afraid of being hurt. What if I prayed for it and it didn’t happen? Why risk being disappointed by wanting something I could never have?
My friend challenged me with a verse that has stuck with me ever since:
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11 NIV
I stared at that verse. It was at that moment that I had to ask myself, Do I really trust that my heavenly Father wants to give me good gifts, or have I been expecting the worst? Do I trust God’s character? That He is truly for me and not against me? That He is good, all the time? Well, of course I do!
If you find yourself praying for pregnancy, or for anything that seems like it would take a miracle to come true, don’t lose hope. Here are three things I learned about how to pray during waiting seasons.
1. Come boldly. I have sometimes wondered, if God knows what we need, then why do we need to pray? Asking requires we come to God, and coming to God requires faith and vulnerability. It’s saying, “I can’t do this on my own, but You can do anything!” It’s relinquishing control and trusting in God’s perfect timing. (Hebrews 4:16)
2. Pray specifically. Assuming, “God’s gonna do whatever He’s gonna do,” does not encourage us to pray specific prayers. Jesus encourages us to pray more boldly (John 14:12-14). Our God is a good Father and wants us to come to Him with our requests as children do their parents. We can find comfort in knowing that God understands our fears and anxieties. When we are so broken we cannot pray, the Holy Spirit Himself can intercede for us. (Romans 8:26, 1 John 5:14-15)
3. Don’t give up! “… I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9 NLT Pray and do not stop praying until you see the answer, whether that answer be yes, no, or not now. Why keep on asking? One reason brings us back to the first point. It reminds us to come back to God.
These three things ultimately helped me to accept in advance whatever the Lord’s will was going to be in this situation (and in others) because I know I can trust my Father. His Word is true, He is faithful and “He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
This month, I get to celebrate two miracles. The 1st birthday of my son, the gift I never thought I would receive. And second, the miracle of a child (me) learning to trust her Father.