In the months after we got James's autism diagnosis, only one person offered to pray for us, and she was a visitor at our church. The words she spoke over my family brought me to tears and I'll never forget that gift. To know she cared. To know she saw us and noticed how much we were struggling.
Whether you pray over your friends and family members impacted by disability or pray for them, here are five requests I know they would want to you lift up on their behalf ...
Pray for relationship opportunities. Being a special-needs family can feel lonely at times. Pray for strong relationships with the friends and family members in their lives, and pray they meet other parents going through similar circumstances.
Pray for simplicity. So many things are harder for special-needs families than typical families—school, church, doctors appointments, errands they run ... Pray for simplicity and ease, for the people around them (teachers, doctors, dentists, receptionists, waitresses ...) to make life easier instead of harder.
Pray for respite. Pray they have time for date nights. Pray they are able to attend a sibling's soccer game. Pray they can shop for birthday or Christmas gifts. You can even take the next step and provide respite! Be the answer to the prayer you're praying!
Pray for rest. We are better parents when we're well rested, and so often our kids' needs keep us from getting the sleep we need. Pray the families you know would get more sleep and be renewed by the sleep they do get.
Pray for hope. Special-needs families carry heavy burdens, like what the future will bring for their children (Will they be able to live independently? Who will care for them when we're unable?). Pray for God to help them focus on how He has provided in the past and have hope He will in the future.
What a blessing you are to the families you know when you take time to pray over them and for them!
Sandra Peoples (M. Div) is a special-needs mom and sibling. She and her family live outside of Houston where she serves her church as co-director of the special-needs ministry. She’s the author of Unexpected Blessings: The Joys and Possibilities of Life in a Special-Needs Family.