I recently met the young woman I’ve been praying for, for something like 18 years.
She’s not a persecuted Christian from China, not a faraway missionary, not an elderly shut-in who seldom comes to church. She’s my daughter-in-law-to-be. And she is terrific.
I’d been praying for this lovely young woman since my son was a little boy. It was an idea I borrowed from the late Catherine Marshall, author of many books on faith. I no longer have the book in which she described this idea, but as I recall, someone introduced Marshall herself to the notion of praying for one’s child’s future spouse.
Marshall liked the idea, and on a regular basis, she prayed for such things as her future daughter-in-law’s health, protection from evil, and for her parents to be given wisdom in rearing her. She prayed that this young woman would have enough education to be an intellectual companion to her son, and be strong in her faith. When her son Peter finally introduced her to his fiancée, Marshall writes, the young woman was everything she’d prayed for—and more.
Praying for the future wives of my two sons seemed a first-rate idea. I prayed for many of the same things Marshall prayed for, and also that these girls would be a good emotional match for my sons.
Like Marshall, the girl who agreed to marry my son this summer is everything I prayed for, and more. Allie is deeply devoted to God. She is bright and beautiful. She has a wonderful sense of fun. Like my son, she is highly educated.
Whereas my son tends to be a bit emotional, Allie is calm. My son loves to cook, and has been enthusiastically marking down lots of kitchen gadgets for wedding presents; Allie, by contrast, wants tools. In fact, we’re thinking of giving her a “tool shower,” which just might be a first. If they ever buy a “fixer-upper,” Allie will be the one putting up the wallpaper and sanding down the hardwood floors.
Our future daughter-in-law—and this is very important—is crazy in the same way we’re crazy. How do I know? One day, my husband was cuddling our miniature dachshund and talking in the dog’s “voice”—a high pitched, whiny, spoiled-little-girl voice. Allie listened with interest, then calmly informed us that her own dog spoke with a British accent.
Yes, she’ll fit right in.
I emailed Allie recently to tell her about having prayed for her since she was a little girl. She wrote back something that sent chills down my spine. She had, she said, been praying for her future husband—my son—for many years, too. And before she agreed to marry him, she spent several days in seclusion, praying for God’s guidance in this vitally important matter.
Strangers praying for strangers, across the years, around the globe (Allie lived in Australia for a time).
Praying for strangers is not as unusual for many Christians. After all, we pray (or should pray) regularly for the persecuted church in countries like China, North Korea, and Iran. We often pray for friends of friends who are sick or in trouble. We pray for those in prison, whom we will probably never meet.
Sometimes praying seems an empty exercise when we don’t see the results for a long time—perhaps never. I’ve prayed for the salvation of many people, sometimes for many years, and have not seen those prayers answered. In some cases, the prayed-for people are out of touch. My prayers for some may be answered after my death.
What a joy it is to see long-time prayers answered in the here and now! The happiness I feel now over this one answered prayer makes me realize more fully that one day I will see the answer to hundreds of prayers—some of them carelessly spoken as I sit in traffic, or even (I’m a little ashamed to admit) during television commercials. One day God will say, “Yes, I heard even that prayer!” And then reveal the result.
When it comes to my son and his fiancée, I will have the joy of seeing my long-time prayers answered, not just today, but, God willing, for many years to come.
And my husband and I will share the joy of continuing to pray for this happy young couple—that they will rely on God for all things, and that He will generously and lovingly meet their every need.
Anne Morse is a senior writer at BreakPoint.
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