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On the Journey
By Rick Hamlin

My Secret Prayer for My Sons

I quietly ache that my two fabulous, bright, funny, inquisitive, thoughtful, imaginative twenty-something sons aren’t really part of any faith community. I can tell myself that they’ll wander back into a church when they get married and have kids. They’re just kids themselves, exploring life. Most of their pals aren’t in faith communities.

Then I remember how in our twenties, Carol and I wandered into a church and made it a crucial part of our lives, the same place we’re still worshipping all these years later. We’re still singing in the same choir, sometimes reading music that has our markings from so long ago. Yes, I can hear myself say, “What a pair of squares you were.” (Correction: I was the square, Carol wasn’t.)

What I can’t imagine is how we would have gotten through the turmoil of loss, heartache, disappointment and illness without showing up week after week. I don’t know what I would have done without all the prayers, the songs, the sermons, the friends. Quite frankly I’m not sure we would still be married all these years later if we hadn’t had the habit of church. We certainly wouldn’t be as happy.

Of course, the kids are OK. They don’t have any negative baggage about church, at least not that they admit to. They grew up in a place that loved them and taught them that they are loved. Any crisis comes up, they know where to look. They even had me for a Sunday school teacher so they know some Bible, and they have a lifetime of dinner graces behind them.

I pray I’m not being narrow-minded. I ask God to keep his fine eye on my two seekers. May they find what Providence means them to find. It still makes me sad, I’m embarrassed to admit. It seems to show a lack of faith on my part. You do what you can as a parent and leave the rest up to God.

It’s one of those prayers that I hold very quietly inside. I pray for the community they’ll know someday.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.