The four friends took their paralytic friend to the one Person on earth who could help him. They heard about this Jesus who was healing people. They decided that their friend needed to see Jesus. The paralytic man couldn’t go to Jesus. He was living his life the best way that he could. But the friends weren’t paralyzed. They had the freedom to walk to Jesus, a freedom their friend didn’t have. They used their gift of freedom to bring their friend to Jesus.
The parents and caregivers of those with ASD need your prayers. Parenting someone with ASD is an emotional roller coaster. The highs are high, but the lows are lower. Quite often, moms of children with ASD feel they are down in the trench, fighting the everyday battles, but not making any progress on the war. It is hard to pray big picture prayers when you’re living from hour to hour. You can step in and bring these parents and caregivers to the Throne of Grace. You can pray “big picture” for them. You can pray for healing. You can pray for miracles. You can pray for more than just their survival—you can pray for the family to thrive.
These parents and caregivers are not going to make it without these kinds of prayers. A large number of marriages end in divorce due to the struggles. Their marriages won’t make it. Their kids, with and without ASD, won’t make it. These caregivers need to be able to manifest a bumper crop of patience and self-control, wisdom and forgiveness. They need you to ask God for these things for them.
These parents need someone who, like Paul, can “pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:15, NIV). They need a prayer partner who knows what parenting and loving someone with ASD means. Often, when you pray for someone else’s needs, it helps you get perspective on your own prayer list. If you can connect special-needs families to pray for each other, it will knit their hearts together in a beautiful divine moment. When one special-needs mom says to another, “We had a hard night,” a wealth of unspoken communication flows between them. The other mom will know, from first-hand experience, what a toll a hard night takes on the whole family. She will know how to pray with understanding.
After you have prayed for the families, speak words of encouragement to them. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV). When you acknowledge a special-needs mom or caregiver, you lift her head and her heart. Much of her work is done in shadows. When she knows that someone notices her continual efforts, she is heartened to keep on doing the hard work that she is doing. “Your patience is God-given.” “I know that you follow the exact same routine with your son each night. It will reap rewards in due time.” “You have given your daughter a safe place to figure out how to function. That is true parenting.”
Scripture to Paul said to the believers in Colossae: “We have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work” (Colossians 1:9,10, NIV). It is good and right that we pray for one another. Your prayers and words of encouragement for a family living with someone with ASD will give them the spiritual energy they need to continue on their journey.
What's the longest-standing prayer request you've had in your life?
How long did you have to pray and wait for an answer? Have you ever had someone make an assumption about what you needed prayer for? How did that make you feel?
Think about a time you made a sincere prayer connection with someone. How did that make you feel? Did your prayers for that person intensify?
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®.
"Ministering to Families of Children with Autism” is published by National Women’s Ministries at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.