“They Will Not Be Spared, No Matter How Many Fervent Prayers I Pray.”

Story by Brittany Meng

I used to fervently pray for God to protect my children from physical and emotional pain, from abuse, from sorrow. I begged Him to spare them from suffering.

But I’ve realized that I’ve been praying for the wrong things. This world is full of suffering. They will not be spared, no matter how many fervent prayers I pray.

So now I pray that their hearts will remain soft when confronted with pain. I pray they will cling to hope when life seems hopeless. That they will respond with love when hate assaults them. That they will choose compassion when they want to lash out in anger. That they will choose forgiveness—over and over—when the world tells them they are entitled to hurt and bitterness.

I pray they will respond to suffering with creativity, a listening heart, with open hands, and eyes that choose to look instead of turning away.

I wish I could spare my children from the pain of this world, but I know that suffering is often crucible to refine our hearts and shape our character.

I’m praying new prayers for my children these days—and for myself as well. Because in choosing to turn toward the light myself (especially when I feel overwhelmed by the darkness) my hope is that my children will follow my example as I struggle and strive each day to become more like Christ.

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