I was thirty-eight years old when Barry and I got married. Because of my age, we took the business of getting pregnant very seriously, but as happens to many women, each passing month was disappointment after disappointment.
For the first time in my life, I found myself longing for a child. I prayed and prayed, and when it finally happened, I was so surprised at the positive sign on the pregnancy test that I dropped it!
The first few weeks of my pregnancy were a blur of absolute joy. At our sonogram, we learned we were having a boy, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Then one day, we received a phone call that interrupted our happiness. Our doctor told us to come to her office to discuss the results of the amniocentesis test I had taken because of my age.
I’ll never forget that day.
We sat on one side of her desk as she sat on the other with a brown folder in front of her. I don’t remember everything she said, but I do remember this: “Your baby is incompatible with life.” Barry and I sat in silence, stunned. I stared at her as if she were speaking a foreign language. Then she said something that snapped me back into reality. She recommended performing a termination the following day.
“No!” I said vehemently. “Absolutely not! This little one will have every day God has planned for him to live.”
After that day, I didn’t know how to pray. I’d asked God for this little one, and now he might be gone before I could even hold him. Over the next few weeks, I cried countless tears. Then, during one of my early morning Bible reading times, I read the parable of the persistent widow, and these words stuck with me:
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
Luke 18:1 (NLT)
I drove to the beach that day, thinking about these words. The beach was deserted with only the seagulls as my companions. Taking my shoes off, I walked to the edge of the water and prayed like I’d never prayed before — out loud to the wind, the waves, the birds, and to my Savior.
Jesus! My heart is aching. I don’t understand this at all, but I just want to declare here and now that we are in this together. I’ve always needed You, but right now I need You more than I ever have. I don’t know how this will end, but I’m not letting go of You for one moment. You didn’t promise me happiness, but You did promise You would never leave me.
Something shifted in me after that prayer. I had no idea how long I would be able to carry our son, but my prayers became relentless — not for a perfect outcome but for the presence of the perfect Father.
In my thirty-fifth week of pregnancy, my doctor called to tell me she’d made a mistake. Another patient’s result went into my chart and mine into hers. Now every year on my son’s birthday, I pray for the other mother who got a very different phone call than mine.
I don’t know what kind of battle you’re facing right now, dear sister. It may be for a child, your family, your marriage, your health, or your very sanity, but I want you to know this: When we pray and refuse to give up, our circumstances might not change, but we’re changed by the love of our Father who never lets us go.
Lord, You know the burdens we’re carrying. Sometimes we’re tempted to stop praying because we don’t see the answer we want, but today we choose to believe You love us and You are listening. So we will pray and never give up. Thank You for never giving up on us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sometimes this whole prayer thing can be overwhelming. How do you pray? What should you pray about? And why does it matter? In Praying Girls Devotional, bestselling author Sheila Walsh offers you an exciting guide to begin a life of prayer. She helps you learn to talk to God in a simple and honest way, how to pray when you don’t know what to say, that God is listening and that no problem is too big and no prayer too small, and that prayer is a powerful weapon for every girl.
Every moment spent with God is a moment spent on the most important relationship of your life. With Sheila’s help, you can start your lifelong conversation with God right now.
This was extremely encouraging. As a woman who talks a lot, I often find myself without words when I pray lately because I feel I’ve prayed all I know to pray! Haven’t help in guiding me to pray deeper would we be amazing! Thank you for sharing this!
Jessica Butler says
Thank you! I really needed this reminder!
Jenny McFadden says
I would love a copy! But even if I don’t win, this post was exactly what I needed today. Thank you for sharing your powerful story. Prayers for the mother who got that other phone call—my husband and I carried a terminally ill baby to birth thirteen years ago. I still think about it often, though God has blessed us with three healthy daughters in addition to that journey, which I am thankful to have endured, even though I didn’t get the outcome I wanted.
Stephanie Bads says
This was a wonderful encouragement. Over the past few weeks I have felt the devil trying to creep in and cause me to doubt which I turn has hurt my prayer to God because that doubt will fill my head as I pray. But this right here shows God is always there. You are right that he never promised us happiness and rainbows but he did say he would always be with us. Thank you for these wonderful words and this reminder. God bless you and your family.
This is very encouraging to read..does my soul good! For over 50 years, my hubby, Ray, & I were very active in a Christian church; but he started spending lots of time on the internet & over 4 years ago, joined a false cult which teaches they will be the only ones in Heaven as only they teach “the truth”. It has made our marriage a sham because I refuse to “obey him by accepting his religion”. I cannot & will not do that & since July I have been having treatments for bone cancer. I have prayed 1000s of prayers for God to heal his mind. For sure I know it is okay not to be okay! Thank you for praying for us.
My heart cries out to you. I know God is still faithful in every circumstance. Find a few friends you can bond in prayers. You need the strength of others that you can trust. I will continue prayer for you healing, body. Soul and spirit
Such a beautiful story of encouragement. Thank you for the reminder that we never need give up.
Yes I need this to help me to always pray and never give up!! Life is so hard right now I’m raising 2 sons with disabilities. I can use all the prayer I can get!
Father, thank you for bringing Arnesia to this site today. May you encourage her with all that she struggles with. I pray for strength and peace that comes only from you. I pray for her two sons that they will flourish in your care. I lay Arnesia’s burdens at your feet and confident that you will handle each with care. Bless her and give her strength for this day. Amen
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Oh how we need permission to “not be okay.” There are no points for stoicism! Count me in on the drawing of your newest release!
Thank you for the reminder to never give up!
Kathleen Crouse says
What a very encouraging post! My second daughter was born premature at 26.5 weeks. I prayed fervently for her to overcome all the obstacles facing her but at 6 weeks of age God decided he needed another little angel. We were devastated but trusted God’s plan for us and a year later were blessed with a healthy baby boy who just turned 42 this year. My daughter experienced the same scenario as you & your husband, as at 21 weeks pregnant she was told that the results of a blood test indicated that her baby would be severely retarded and they recommended she terminate the pregnancy. She refused and trusted that God would be with her every step in the way. As it turned out, she found out later that like you someone made a mistake and mixed up her chart with someone else’s and my grandson was born healthy. Thank goodness she trusted God or my grandson who is now 21 wouldn’t be here today.
A beautiful reminder to remember that God is always with us, even in the most desperate of times.
Carol Burris says
Thank you for another way to think about those precious little ones whose lives are cut short. And for a second sentence for those prayers that can only be Your will be done.
Christie K says
I am in need of prayers.
I pray that my children ALWAYS seek the Lord in EVERYTHING they do. I pray that my children will ALWAYS serve and love others to the best of their ability. I pray for our finances as we struggle to do what we are called to do.
Robin in New Jersey says
Thank you for sharing your stories with us, Sheila. You are a blessing!
Jennifer Ellena says
Prayer brings us closer to god. I would love this book for my family.
Lisa Carle says
For almost 6 yrs I’ve been crying out to the Lord, I’ve surrendered & submitted & nothing in my husband’s heart has changed. Every day that passes without reconciliation I find myself closer to the edge of a cliff just wondering if he’d even notice my death & absence. Id love a copy of this book if possible but, even if Im not chosen may I ask for prayers. Thank you for your time & I pray that through your book Jesus will touch many hearts & lives. Many Blessings, Lisa
I have prayed 13 years with a friend who’s husband walked out on her and left her with an infant and a 3 year old. 1st She prayed with her kids for their dad to come to the Lord. He said he did they saw no change in Him they prayed together as a family that God would restore the marriage and their family. This year 2020 He married the other women. It’s been dexestating to us all but especially her 17 year old who now has trouble praying for her friends because God doesn’t answer her prayers. I would love to give her this book. If we like it I would get all the girls in her bible study one for Christmas!!
Lauretta Lyle says
You are so right.
Keep praying and hold on to God’s unchanging hands!
Ann Woleben says
Praise God that He is always with us. I am grateful for my prayer time – morning, noon and night – whenever, I know that He is there to hear me.
Keri Boer says
Amen. This is a reminder we all need as we are buffeted by life’s storms. He may not calm the storm, but He will calm His child and even, miraculously, bring joy no matter the outcome.
Peggy Cooper says
Thank you for the beautiful devotional this morning. All of us have different seasons in our lives but it is refreshing to have a breath of fresh air threw someone else’s words that God’s has used them to speak to others. Blessings to you in your day. We serve an awesome God. Love, love, love Sheila books to help others to see Jesus in the middle of our messes.
Maureen Gaeke says
I so needed this reminder today. Thanks for the inspiration.
Sheila’s faith has always been an encouragement to me. I’d love to be blessed by a copy of her book. It is hard to pray in the middle of a storm…one reason it’s so wonderful to pray for others in their crises…to help carry them when all the words they can form are “help, Lord!” Been there, and felt those prayers!
Jennifer Batchelor says
Your story and prayer are what I need at this very moment. Thank you and blessings to you for sharing.
What a beautiful story. It’s definitely what I needed to hear this morning.
This books sounds perfect! I would love to share it with my teenage daughter who is struggling a lot lately. Thank you!
Thank you for this beautiful example of persistent prayer! I love to have a copy of this book.
Marta L Read says
Thanks for the reminder to keep praying, even when I don’t see an answer.
Frances, I pray for strength and healing for you and wisdom and discernment. May your husband’s eyes be opened to the truth, praying that God would lead him back to the Bible and he would test everything against its standard. Hang in there, God is faithful!
Thank you. What is a real problem is their crazy interpretation of so much Scripture as they claim their leader was a prophet that God revealed all truth to him.. It has been totally unreal!
Carol Garwood says
My life has been a long long long journey of Trials and many challenges. Jesus is my Sustainer Keeper; praying always
I thank The Lord for your Ministry I am waiting for my family to all come back to the Lord
Missy Robinson says
I would love to pray along with this book – what a powerful story, Sheila!
Lynn Melton says
So needed in my life at this moment
This sounds so helpful. I have always used my mornings as my daily prayer time, but this year, it is really hard for me to focus. I think I have gotten so used to using screens that it is hard for me not to get distracted. Church was on a screen for weeks. Even my reading habits have changed because it is just hard to focus on anything. I think this would help me. I now notice when I clean my little apartment, I spend the time in prayer and it is such a special time. Thank you for another opportunity to win.
I definitely need help with my prayer life! In the next couple of weeks our country is going to be rocked by this Presidential election. No matter who wins, a lot of people will be disappointed or angry. We need God now more than ever!
Wow your story really opened up my eyes and touched me! Thank you for this it really encouraged me to not give up praying, for our children, loved ones etc. Thank you!
Pam Souchek says
What an amazing story! God is Good all the time!
Diane King says
When I was a little girl I learned memorized prayers from my parents. I said those prayers every night. Now that I am an adult and have been born again in my Lord Jesus Christ, my heart prays more fervent and intentionally. Not just before closing my eyes to sleep, but continually throughout the day. I would love this devotional tool to aid in my worship through prayer. Praise the Lord!
Dierdre Kinley says
This sounds like a great tool! I was wondering if it is for women or young girls?
Megan Buttgereit says
Beautiful post…needed to hear it. I would love to be entered to win this book.
This would be a beacon of light in my dark circumstances right now. Thanks
Sarla Williams says
Thank you so much for sharing from your journey. A reminder that our circumstances may or may not change and yet the assurance that He walks with us as we commune with Him in prayer.
Luz Marquez says
2020 has been a year of fierce prayers and also moments of long quietness. Thank you for the reminder to press on.
Charlotte Sutton says
This speaks to my heart in such a profound way. So many days come and I pray for the words to tell god what I need. Yet I struggle. My words feel empty and once again, I feel lost.
I struggle with prayer. Somehow, I have gotten hold of the idea that, if I ask God, then I shouldn’t bug Him again.
Wrong, I know, but when I try to put this idea away I still don’t know how to pray.
Debra from Australia says
Judi, I understand what you are saying, but we don’t need to keep asking we just need to continually Praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ for whatever it is we are bringing before Him.
Michelle Soliz says
I so need this right now!! Circumstances are scary with my health and our finances and I just NEED help in my prayer life!! ❤️
Natasha Parker says
I would love to win a devotional that would enhance and support my prayer life.
Sue Hansard says
I was blessed as a new bride to be able to conceive a child. Our first son brought so much joy into our lives, and we desired to have more children. Using no form of birth control, we thought we would become parents again very quickly. But that was not our Heavenly Father’s plan. There are five years between our first two sons, as God had been preparing us for our “Miracle Boy!”
Our second son was born with a congenital stricture in his esophagus, which In 1977 no doctor could diagnose. Our precious little one had a difficult time nursing and when it was time for solid foods, he could not swallow anything. So my pediatrician asked me to continue to nurse him, as that was his only form of nutrition. I nursed him until he was two years old.
Fast forward now to this son’s first year in high school. Still trying to figure out why our child could not eat normally, we were sent to Virginia Mason Hospital in Washington state. After more testing we met with his new doctor. The doctor came in, took one look at Jacob, and said he’d be right back. He came back with a textbook and Jacob’s scans. What we saw in Jacob’s scans looked exactly like the pictures in the textbook.
Jacob was a tall and slender young man, not what the doctor expected to see. The doctor looked at me and asked”How did you keep your son alive?” Stunned by the question, but knowing the answer, I told him God had directed me in how to “mother” our beautiful son. Still seeing the amazement on this doctor’s face, he told me there were only 9 survivors of this birth defect on record, and they were not tall and healthy like Jacob. He was expecting to see a scrawny teenager.
Jacob is now a 43 year old strong and healthy man who still brings so much joy into our lives! And we had another son 4 years after Jacob was born. Why so long? I was told that I had severe endometriosis and it was a miracle that I ever conceived any child!
God is our Rock, and in Him we life, both physically and spiritually.
I would be honored to win this guide. I really want my prayer life to be stronger and more consistent. My husband passed away unexpectedly last year leaving me a 43 year old single mom and I pray a lot, but I long for more ‘depth’ in my walk with my Savior. For the longest, all I was able to pray was “God, help me/us. Give us strength and comfort and peace.” I know without a doubt, I wouldn’t have come this far without my relationship with my Lord. I’m so thankful for His love and guidance and like I said before, I long for more, deeper conversations.
I often have a difficult time praying because I’m uncertain if God is actually hearing me, or that I’m in the right frame of mind to talk to him. Rarely do I feel like his presence is there. I hope I get a book to help me with my prayer life. Thanks
Laura M Reid says
I often have a difficult time praying because I’m uncertain if God is actually hearing me, or that I’m in the right frame of mind to talk to him. Rarely do I feel like his presence is there. I hope I get a book to help me with my prayer life. Thanks
Thank you so much for sharing ❤️ I WOULD LOVE THIS BOOK!
I so need this.
Whoa. So needed this today while in the middle of circumstances I never imagined my family would be.
Wow, Sheila. Of a truth, I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much meat in your message; hope, forgiveness, disappointment, disbelief, a relentlessness love, truths, trust, faith and the list could on. I think one of my biggest takes from this was your ability to relentlessly hold on to our unchanging God. Your prayer was answered and then your hope shortly thereafter shattered. But you refused to give in to a lie and you refused to consider your age (because that’s what it boiled down to). You trusted the God who remembered and knew intimately, Sarah and Hannah and Mary and…
On the other hand, if you ladies would please allow me to be transparent…While I can honestly say neither would I have given up any of my children in the face of this scenario, I don’t know that I could have been as graceful with the person’s who made the mistake with my chart. And sadly, in reading some of the other comments, apparently this horror is an all too common problem. Imagine the countless number of women and their families (they’re affected as well) who do not know God, who have had their hope and dreams shattered and have involuntarily aborted a doctor, a teacher, a leader, a preacher, an otherwise healthy baby. Also imagine the number of physicians who do not/have not come forth to admit such a costly error. I could go on but I’m summation, thank God for your story. You had to go through and be tested and broken that others might be encouraged and built up. Thank God that your trust was in Him and His word and not in the words of man. Continue to be blessed and an encouragement to your sisters.
Thank you for writing and sharing this. I had it all at one point until our only son was diagnosed at 2.5yrs…now a single mother of an autistic 13yr old, I do carry much burden, especially the fear of continuing at this alone- yet He is always with us! I love your encouragement of continued prayer, especially for the ‘unlocking’ of my son as well as a renewed sense of family and community.
Love to you and your family,
Shelley Ridley says
What a beautiful read and so relatable.
Nancy Ruegg says
I love your prayer, Sheila–the honesty about what you were feeling, the affirmations about what you knew of God. It reads like psalm–updated for the 21st century. Praise God for the strength and determination He gave you during those weeks you awaited his plan. And thank you for your example of faith in the midst of turmoil.
Meaningful reminder to not give up praying for a family relationship to be restored
Pray and never give up! This is the current situation in my life on many levels. Today, my prayers for the next place my daughter and her toddler will live has been answered. I felt deep in my soul God was answering my prayers to prepare the next place for her. And she had until Saturday, Oct 31, and as of Thursday she will have the next place to live. It was looking bleak for a while from the situations we saw, but I didn’t give up. God also has me staying in the scripture, What appears humanly impossible is more than possible with God, for God can do what man cannot. Luke 18:27 TPT.
I have 4 adult children who have all turned their backs on the beliefs they were brought up with, and now claim there is no God. I need all the help I get in figuring out how to pray for them.
Rev. Charles Stanley encourages us to personalize Scripture. One lesson he taught was from Colossians 1: 9-14. He asks his prayer partners to pray that for him every day and he recommends we use it for our loved ones. I especially like the Amplified version.. put their name in each verse.
What a story, how could such a mistake happen? But your faith is encouraging and prayers are so important.
Kami Keeley says
Thank you for sharing. I always admire people who God has gifted with the ability to make their experiences relatable and apply it to scripture. Even though I know He is with me – it’s good to have reminders- especially when you are in the midst of a challenge!
Beth Williams says
I have a story also. My pastor’s wife’s aging mom lived in WV. We prayed long & hard that she would move down here to TN. Mom started having more medical issues & daughter decided to not push mom any more. I simply kept praying & asking God to help in the case that mom got really ill. The last time daughter visited mom-mom asked if she could move down here with daughter & husband. I told her that proves you never ever quit praying for something & watch God work miracles. Sometimes you get the answer you want & often times you don’t. Still never ever give up praying for something or someone. God is still in miracle business.
Courtney Humble says
Such a good story about how prayer truly works! God always has our backs.
Camilla Hubbard says
Such an amazing story of God’s love and mercy. I started to think how dreadful that such a mistake could be made. And yet I then realised that God knew this mother could bear the news and would still want to give the baby life, because of HIm. And perhaps the other Mum would have taken the easy way out, and so, in God’s providence, both lives could be saved, and that other family may have realised how precious the little one was, anyway, once he was born.
I am praying at the moment for my daughter & her lovely family, with big problems not of their making, and we dare not give up on praying, but sometimes the road seems long and hard.
I live in Australia, so not eligible for the free copy, but I’m sure the right 5 people will be the winners, in God’s perfect grace.
Debbie Bennett says
This book would be a wonderful blessing
What a beautiful testimony! I often struggle with … well, everything. This book would be a generous aid to get me going. Thank you for sharing!
Holly Steffens says
I’m so thankful that God is in charge!
I really needed this be relentless in your faith, belief and hold on to his promises.
I’ve been feeling discouraged in many things going on right now so this definitely hit the spot.
Jane Giacometti says
Thank you for this wonderful encouragement to cling to God never give up prayer is very powerful thing and I’ve somehow gotten away from it I’ve just very recently tried to start again in prayer
A friend had surgery recently and I want to give the book to her to enrich her and increase her prayer life as she recovers
This book sounds great. I struggle with my prayer life…. how to pray, what to pray…..
Jan Suiter says
I would love to have a copy of her book! She is an great inspiration to me. It is a struggle to remember to pray and LET God handle it instead of me!
Elizabeth Thompson says
I have two of Sheila’s children books from Woman of Faith tour she signed for my twins Gabriel and Lydia. Absolutely loved them…. they are now 16
I would love to read this.
Thank you for this reminder about the power of prayer. It’s definitely an area of my life that needs some revival.
Cheryl London says
I constantly struggle with how to pray. I feel like I am just putting a list of wants out there. I listen to others pray and it is so elegant. And we get so busy with our daily lives, it is all too easy to jump right in to our day my best days are those that I make time for my relationship with Jesus. But I struggle with how that works. I am open to all tools that will help bring me closer to my savior.
Meg Ruth says
Encouraged by this reading today. I am still recovering from the miscarriage of our first baby. I often feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to pray but I am thankful for the reminder to keep praying.
Tammy Hahn says
Great article today, so helpful in remembering that what we’re praying for may not change but that Jesus’ Love never changes. Thank you for the email!
Lois Stauffer says
I would love to receive this book.
Trina Rich says
Luke 18 is exactly what I had printed, framed and put next to a stature of a woman kneeling in front of a bible. I am that persistent widow. Every day after my husband died, I have prayed for so many things: my husband’s pension to be approved, my daughter’s salvation (she lives in another country), my constant fatigue and pain in my legs to heal, and my state of loneliness. There is more to my story, but I have never ceased praying and believing that God will answer my prayers. He has answered so many other prayers. No matter what I may be feeling, God has been been faithful. He has been good to me and I am grateful and thankful!
Wow! What a story Sheila shared. I gasped aloud as I was reading it. I can only imagine the other inspiring and heartfelt messages may be in her book. Thank you very much!
I am sure I would love this devotion. I am sure n need of prayer as I am sure 10000 others are in this 2020 year. I have been praying for our daughter for a long time. We had IVF 2 times. Then we prayed more. We decided to adopt. O my God was with us every step of the way. We have our daughter that God has given us. She is now 7. We love her so much. We are so thankful. She is so healthy. We have been praying for so long and still pray for her. She has ADHD, ODD and sensory. I have been praying for the right doctors to come in to our lives. The right school, teacher and so much more. I would love to make a devotion for moms who have special children. My neighbor has an Austin daughter. And I prayer for her all the time.
I would love to read this!
Donna Tuttle says
Thank you Sheila for your amazing faith, sharing your story and showing me exactly how my prayer should look.
“Lord, you didn’t promise me happiness, but you did promise me you would never leave me.” In the worst of times – those words are what we all need to remember to say.
You blessed my day. I pray someone blesses yours.
Lori Baker says
I missed this the day it was first published, but cannot believe how timely it is for my life right now. It’s not anything as major or stunning as the kind of highs and lows you went through, Sheila; it’s just that life at this time is so out of order and jumbled and NOT “normal” and I don’t like it! Hormones and emotions were already very versatile and overwhelming before the shutdown and riots and election season — throwing it all into the same pot has left me feeling like there’s just no more room. You’ve reminded me today that God was actually already in the pot before any of the rest of the “ingredients”, and His love is what keeps it from boiling over. Thank you for redirecting my heart and mind back to Him and the blessing of prayer.
I’m in the senior phase of my life with no children and very little family. Isolation makes this even more void of people and relationships. Reading Sheila’s story has helped me realize that the Lord is doing something in me that requires separation, but I will not give up. I will wait on the Lord.
Such up lefting words for what every moment of the day. Love to win a copy of the devolution
Sandra Bullard says
Yes! I need more!! God has recently blessed me as a mother of prayer. My daughters post op scan came back negative for cancer. They got it all. I had previously been asking God,how do I learn to pray. He heard me anyway!
I continue to pray for my (30 something) daughters who wish to share their life a husband and children, but no one or nothing is in sight…not even in the long distance view. The pain my husband and I feel is beyond words..only tears, pleas and heart cries to the LORD God Almighty.
No matter what heartbreaks, yearnings, judgements or isolation they may feel, I will not stop praying or pleading before the Throne of Grace on their behalf. God hears my prayers, but the answers haven’t yet been finalized. When, why, and how seem too hard to even utter, but the Holy Spirit speaks on my behalf for me and them.