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Prayers for My Daughter

When a doctor can’t pray for his child, God’s love comes through in a surprising way.

Nice neighborhood in America
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I am a doctor and a father. My daughter, Kate, was six months old when she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

I was devastated, then angry. A fury built inside me. How could you do this? I demanded of God. I can’t heal my own child.

One night I lay awake in bed, closed my eyes and desperately tried to pray. The words wouldn’t come. I was too bitter.

Not long after Kate’s diagnosis we moved into a new home, in a quiet neighborhood full of shady oak and pecan trees. I didn’t feel like making friends, but whenever my wife, Barb, and I pushed Kate’s stroller up the block, someone came out to welcome us.

Across the street was a couple in their 60s, Gertrude and Walter. “We never had a grandchild,” they told us. “We hoped God would send a family with a little one to our block!”

Next door to them were Richard and Margaret—empty nesters. “Margaret’s been praying to get a young mother for a neighbor,” Richard confided to me.

And when we visited the church just up the street, Pastor Mac seemed like he’d been waiting for us. “Some nurses from the cerebral palsy hospital attend here. They want to start a support group for parents of children with disabilities.” There weren’t any families that fit the bill—until we came along.

In that community full of people who told us we were the answer to their prayers, I was able to get over my bitterness and see my daughter as the incredible gift she was. My job was to care for her, not cure her.

One night, when I closed my eyes and thought about God, the words finally came. It felt so good to pray again, but by then I’d learned that at a time when I couldn’t pray, my new neighbors were saying all the prayers I needed.

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