From 13 to 30

Thirteen years old. My dad took me out on my first date to show me how a guy was meant to treat me. He was so sweet. I was so awkward.

Thirteen years old. My dad took me out on my first date to show me how a guy was meant to treat me. He was so sweet. I was so awkward.

Do you remember being thirteen years old? When I was thirteen, I had no friends. Seriously. It was that awkward stage where some friends went to other high schools, and group dynamics changed, and I found myself being Jess “No Mates” van Straaten. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but it was one of those Things. You know, those Things you cry yourself to sleep over.

So my dad started to pray for a friend for me. There were two other big Things he was praying for, so he printed a picture of three mountains and stuck them on the inside of his cupboard. They were called The Three Sisters. And he prayed. He prayed that I would find a special friend, that the Thing that made me cry in my bed would be something God changed.

And He did. I got a friend. And she was awesome. I think we drove my dad nuts with our giggling and ridiculousness and lifts everywhere and telephone calls and drama. But I had a friend.

I’ll never forget the old printed picture of three mountains inside my dad’s cupboard. Never.

That was thirteen.

When I was thirty, my dad prayed again. I guess no matter how old you are, there are Things that make you cry yourself to sleep. There were some big Things happening in our lives, in our family, and once again, I saw my dad – and my mom – turn these big Things into big Asks. Asks that they took to God, that they prayed about. Maybe its because I’m not a self-absorbed teenager anymore, but I’ve seen how this journey of praying about big Things has had an impact on my family, particularly my parents. I watched them pray on a specific night of the week, I watched them fast for 24 hours every Wednesday, I watched them turn this Thing that made us cry ourselves to sleep into a Big Hairy Audacious Ask, an Ask that they took to God over and over again. My dad has written a book about this journey. It’s called To The Wall – A Journey in Missional Prayer.

Honestly, I still don’t really understand prayer, but I do know that it changes Things. I don’t always understand the theology and depth and complexity of prayer, but I do know that its really changed Things in my own life. The prayers of my parents turned some painful Things in my life around. Their prayers turned me around – to face a new direction and to allow God to rebuild some really broken walls in my life.

Thirty years old. I'd say we've both improved with age.

Thirty years old. I’d say we’ve both improved with age.

That’s one of the reasons my dad called his book To The Wall. He tells the story of prayer, and action, and broken walls being rebuilt. This book is a story of his journey – and of others in our church community – through the book of Nehemiah from the Bible.  It’s more than just a story of prayer moving mountains printed inside cupboard walls, of broken walls being rebuilt, of tears being wiped away. It’s the story of a God who has been acting, and is asking us to act, about the things that break our hearts.

So, if you want it, here it is.

Either way, from thirteen to thirty I’ve seen the impact of prayer and action bring about new life and second chances and great healing.

I reckon you could, too.

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