There’s a joke in my family that my older sister was baptized in the kitchen sink by my maternal grandmother. I have no idea whether the tale is tall or true, but I can imagine it might have a speck of honesty in it.
I used to sort of chuckle at this story, thinking something like, Silly Grandma, that makes no sense. But now, I picture my grandma, desperate for my sister to have the promised treasure that trinitarian Baptism brings, worried that something would go wrong and that tiny baby would never know Jesus. I see her cradling her grandchild and debating, Do I just do this myself? I can imagine all the thoughts that were likely running through her mind.
I’m not sure of the real time line, but by the time my older sister was born, I think my grandma realized that my parents had fully left the Christian faith behind. She had lovingly knit a baptismal gown and given it to my mother to be used for my sister’s Baptism. I would not have wanted to be in the room when my grandma realized my parents did not intend to baptize their children. I can imagine the prayers my grandma cried out that night, the worry, and the sorrow she must have felt. I have cried out similar prayers that have not yet been answered.
Scripture Speaks to Our Unanswered Prayers
Psalm 91:14–16 speaks of God’s faithfulness through prayer. It says,
Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows My name.
When he calls to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him My salvation.
While those words indicate that prayers will be answered, the verses never tell us when they will be answered. When we pray for people who do not know Jesus or have even rejected Him, we know God answers our prayers. We may not know when or how He will answer them, but we have this hope from Christ that we can hold on to: He is working to answer our prayers.
Our Faithful God
Despite not baptizing her children, my mom held on to that knitted baptismal gown for twenty-seven years. So when I was pregnant with my daughter, my mom handed the gown off to me. By the time the gown my grandmother had carefully created was finally used, she had prayed for years and years. My daughter wore that gown as she was born again through water and the Word.
This highlighted for me how God is working to answer our prayers, even when the answer is “no” or “not yet.” Although my sister has not yet been baptized, my Catholic grandmother could never have guessed that God would work through multiple generations, a different denomination, and so much more to bring me to His side and work in her daughter’s family life. Therefore, I cannot guess how He will work in the lives of those around me. So I pray and learn to lean on Jesus with every concern.
Especially when it comes to our children’s faith, prayer is needed. It is the Holy Spirit who works to create faith in our lives. That doesn’t mean we should sit to the side and let our children figure it out themselves. It means that we should love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. We should also put God first in our lives and teach our children to put God first. Prioritizing church attendance over school activities, sports practices, or convenience is important. So is teaching children to pray unceasingly. We should also pray for them, knowing that God is faithful and has promised to answer when we call out to Him.
Take a look at your prayer life by walking together through powerful prayers found in Scripture in this month’s Everyday Faith Calendar.