Outside of losing a child, one of the most difficult things a parent can face is watching a child lose his faith, grow apart from God, or suffer in other ways. As parents, we feel immense heartache when our children hurt, so we spend countless hours praying and imploring God for His help. The pain can make us feel lonely and frustrated.
John and Therese Boucher understand this heartache. In their book Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters, their words and stories create a sense of solidarity with other parents who also agonize over how to help their adult children. Providing experiences and examples from their own families and friends, the Bouchers help us understand that we are not alone in our pain.
With chapters covering praying for God’s love, praying for wisdom, praying for trust, praying for forgiveness, praying for our children’s spiritual lives, and more, this book helps parents recognize the vital role we still play in the formation and salvation of our children.
Offering concrete ways to pray, such as carrying the child and his burdens with us to receive the Eucharist, the Bouchers encourage us to remain steadfast in prayer, even when we feel hopeless. One of the most important lessons the book teaches is to remember that sometimes prayer—and the answers we are looking for—takes time. Words like these provide a source of comfort: “At the heart of [intercessory] prayer is a long-term commitment to enter into God’s presence on behalf of a daughter or son. We approach God in a son’s or daughter’s name in an act of sacrifice, which literally means to ‘make (them) holy.’ We also act like a bridge, because they belong to us and to God at the same time.”
Further, the book reminds us that we live in a fallen world and that tragedies are part of the fallen human condition. It helps us understand that “God will give us strength to endure difficulties alongside our children, in the same way that Mary suffered with Jesus at the foot of the cross.” Uniting our suffering with Mary’s gives a sense of solace and calm during the proverbial storm.
Praying for Our Adult Sons and Daughters also reminds us that it’s not just our children who need prayers and God’s help. As parents, we do too. So at the end of every chapter are reflection questions and prayer skills to help parents strengthen our own prayer life and to reflect upon the troubles we’re facing so that we can approach them in a different way.
This is a comforting book for any parent struggling with an adult child who has lost his faith or who is going through difficult times. It gives hope in the power of prayer, and it reaffirms the fact that Christ is listening, that He will never forsake us, and that His love endures forever.