Imperfect Parents and Imperfect Prayers

By: Hunter Jones
My husband and I became parents last year. Our daughter, Hope, is only 14 months old, but I already have a long list of ways I feel like we could’ve parented better–tweaking this sleep routine, displaying more self-control in that stressful moment…the list goes on. But as I was sharing this feeling with another young parent today, I remembered something about my own parents.

My parents were first-generation believers, coming to Christ in their twenties a few years after my older sister’s birth. They were (and are) anything but perfect parents. They were young, newly believing parents with tempers and passionate personalities. But they did something wonderful for me, something beyond getting sleep schedules just right or never raising their voices. No matter the season–be that successful career celebrations or living paycheck to paycheck, their marriage teetering on the brink or their marriage being restored and their love for one another reaching new depths–they prayed. They brought everything–sometimes reluctantly, sometimes with shouts of joy, sometimes with cries of anguish–to the feet of Jesus. 

My parents weren’t perfect. They aren’t perfect. But they knew who they served, and who they belonged to. And louder than any lesson they voiced, they displayed a life of believing in a God who is “compassionate and merciful,” who wanted them to come to Him again and again with everything life might bring (James 5:11).

James 5:13-20 invites us into this kind of life. “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

Though they aren’t perfect, and they aren’t even perfect at praying, my parents kept falling back at the feet of Jesus in prayer enough that when my husband and I found that conceiving a child wouldn’t be easy for us, and we began to pursue adoption much earlier than we planned to, we fell at Jesus’ feet in prayer too. For three years, in tears of anguish as we celebrated and mourned our first child all in one day, and alongside friends and family who wrapped their hope-filled arms around our breaking hearts, we kept falling at the feet of Jesus in prayer. For three years, in anger we cried out to God, and in faith we cried out too. And in June last year, Hope broke through and our first beautiful daughter was born.

James is not inviting us into a life of lifting our prayers up to a deaf or stoic God. He is inviting us to pray again and again, in all circumstances, to a God is always faithful to hear–a God who is “compassionate and merciful.” Won’t you fall at His feet in prayer today?
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