Shortly before my son, Todd, graduated from high school and drove to California to start college, two guys and a girl from our church had the same plan. But in Colorado their van went off the road and the two young men were killed.
Several weeks before their trip, I had spent an afternoon with one of the boys; we were rehabbing an apartment building in an inner-city neighborhood in Chicago. I knew that both he and his friend were from God-fearing families and that their mothers had been praying for their safety.
On an early Sunday morning, as the taillights on Todd’s truck drifted around a corner and out of sight, I too prayed, and I knew I would continue to pray. But I also knew there were no guarantees. At the very moment I prayed for his safety a patch of ice could be sending him over an embankment or an oncoming driver could be crossing into his lane of traffic. Prayer would not make his safety a sure thing, at least not in any sense that satisfied me. Still I prayed.
I’ve discovered that nothing drives a person to prayer like having kids and nothing produces more questions regarding prayer than having kids. When you love your kids as much as most people do, you have a vested interest in believing that prayer works, that it makes a difference. When you see model young men (whose mothers had been praying for them) cut down by a car accident, you wonder what prayer means. What does it accomplish? Why do it?
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Since 1975, when Lynne & Bill Hybels started Willow Creek Community Church, Lynne has been an active volunteer at the church. For the last fifteen years she has engaged in ministry partnerships in under-resourced communities in Latin America and Africa. More recently she has been involved in Willow’s Spanish-speaking congregation, Casa de Luz, and actively supports Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Lynne and Bill have two grown children, Shauna and Todd, one son-in-law, Aaron Niequist, and one grandson, Henry, who runs the family.