Shortly after our engagement, my fiancé and I traveled to meet her 104-year-old grandfather. Though our visit with her grandfather lasted no more than half an hour, I’ll never forget those precious minutes.
Grandpa Rausch greeted us with joy and soon began sharing his longing to finish the race and kneel at the Savior’s feet. Though his body lay weakened by more than a century of wear, his mind remained sharp and his faith sharper. Carl Rausch had outlived many trials, surviving long enough to see God answer many of his persevering prayers. He believed prayer was a parent’s answer in times of trial and the doorway to a parent’s peace.
Grandpa Rausch was the family patriarch who regularly prayed for all his children and grandchildren, and then wrote them letters to say he was praying and to urge them to give their lives to Christ. His faithful example stirred my soul to want to follow his example.
Prayer had served more of a last resort strategy for me. First, I tried to do everything in my own power and strength to solve a problem. Only then, after my efforts failed, did I get to the place where “all I could do was pray.”
But prayer wasn’t the last resort for Carl; prayer was his life. Carl lived the words of Christ, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4–5).
Grandpa Rausch knew he could do nothing to reach his kids or grandkids apart from Christ. That’s why he depended upon Jesus as his first resort. That’s why he prayed. A few weeks later, God called Grandpa home, leaving us with big shoes to fill, but giving us the memory of a man who understood that prayer changes everything.
So, what about you? Is prayer your first or last resort? Do parenting struggles threaten to steal your peace? I’ve walked through enough serious parenting challenges to know that apart from Christ I can do nothing, and that when I trust in Jesus, there is a peace that surpasses understanding waiting for me to enjoy (Philippians 4:6–7).
Jesus promised that if we abide in him, he would also abide in us (John 15:4). Having the Creator of the world on your side is a pretty incredible asset. Jesus invites us to cast our burdens on him:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)
How does a little “rest” for your fearful, weary parenting soul sound?
Grandpa Rausch knew Jesus heard and answered prayer, but he also took comfort from the fact that Jesus was also praying — praying for him (Romans 8:34–35). Jesus is up in heaven interceding for us. Wherever our faith to believe and our efforts to pray are weak, remember Jesus is praying for us before his Father in heaven and lives within us by the Holy Spirit to help us.
Everyone saved Grandpa’s letters. My wife kept her letters, as did her brothers and sisters and even family friends. Here is an excerpt from a letter he sent his grandson Mark. Grandpa ended his letter by quoting a Samuel O’Malley Cluff hymn written in 1860.
It may be that your grandpa will never see you here on earth for my time is up, and the Lord may call me any time home to glory; but you have yet a whole life before you. God gave it to you for a purpose. That purpose is: That we earthly creatures may prepare ourselves for a better place. The preparation is: First repentance to God, and then faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, for without repentance there is no forgiveness and without forgiveness, no heaven. And the way is to confess that you are a sinner and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
I have a Savior, He’s pleading in glory,
A dear, loving Savior, though earth friends be few;
And now He is watching in tenderness o’er me;
And, oh, that my Savior were your Savior, too.
When He has found you, tell others the story,
That my loving Savior is your Savior, too;
Then pray that your Savior may bring them to glory,
And prayer will be answered — ’twas answered for you!
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I’m praying for you.
I’m still trying to live up to the example Grandpa Rauch left behind. By God’s grace, I’ve made one change. Prayer is no longer a last resort for me. At 56, I’m old enough to see God answer persevering prayer for a trial or two. Nothing brings me greater peace than to entrust my parenting challenges to Jesus. Sure, I struggle with fear and anxiety from time to time, but I know that I am never alone.
If you find yourself in the midst of a parenting trial that threatens to steal your peace and rest, call out to Jesus and cast your burdens on him. Gather together with other like-minded parents to pray for your children. Know that prayer enlists the help of the same Creator God who spoke the world into being. And never forget, Jesus is interceding for you — for you, he’s praying, praying for you.
Author: Marty Machowski