When You Have to Pray a Long, Long Time….

My mother-in-law flew into town yesterday.  This Friday my brother-in-law and my niece will arrive with family in tow.  The big occasion?  A different kind of Labor Day celebration than you might be celebrating this weekend.

My husband and his brother (and the rest of our clan) have been laboring for a long, long time. Not the work kind of labor, but the prayer kind.  And make no mistake about it, when you pray for something every single day for nearly 40 years, it’s labor.

A labor of love.

Almost 40 years ago my brother-in law became the very first Christian in his family–ever.  He quickly began praying for his family to follow suit.  3 years and many conversations later, my husband gave his life to Christ.  Soon JP began praying for their family, too.  But the process has been long–moments when both sons were told “it’s fine if you want to have God in your life, but please don’t discuss it with us anymore.”

And so they stopped talking.  But they never stopped praying.

For 39 years.


About 9 months ago my mother-in law decided that maybe she would try to attend church, “just to see….”.  we held our breath and wondered what the outcome would be. She liked it.  Women reached out to her and extended an invitation to join their Bible study.  She said yes “just to see…”and she liked that, too.  Soon she signed up to be a greeter on Sunday mornings.

One day this past spring JP received a call.  It was his mother wondering if he could tell her how she could become a Christian.  “I keep going to church and Bible study hoping someone will pull me aside and tell me what to do to become a Christian, but they never do.  So I thought I would call you and find out.”  Speeding down the freeway at 70 mph, my husband led his mother to Christ.

She has always been a good person.  A great person, in fact.  But even our children have noticed a marked difference in Grandma.

So, 40 years and many prayers later, my 82 years old mother-in-law has come to our home to be baptized by her two sons.  The ones who have loved her and served her and laughed with her and cried with her– and, oh yes, prayed for her, even when their prayers looked hopeless. And believe me, there have been more moments than not, when they doubted if their prayers would be answered the way they hoped.

But they didn’t stop praying.  They continued the labor.

And now they celebrate with her.  With us.

With HIM.

Yes, this year our family gathers from all over the country to celebrate Labor Day.  I’m wondering if you might be laboring over something in prayer, too.  Whatever it is, whomever it’s for, don’t stop.  Continue to labor in prayer.

More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.


  1. Gina Johnson

    Donna, Thank you for sharing this. How awesome is it that Pastor J.P. and his brother get to Baptize there mom. I will be praying for your family time this weekend. It will be a special time for all of you.

  2. Carolyn

    Beautiful reminder to stay anchored in hope, loving people right where they’re at, praying they will have their deepest needs satisfied by our gracious Heavenly Father, knowing God has a plan and His timing is perfect. Thank you for encouraging us 🙂 Prayer changes things!

  3. SO, SO exciting! I have tears in my eyes reading this blog today Donna, and hope in my heart that my father-in-law will someday come to know Jesus and our daily prayers will be answered! Praise the Lord!



  5. Betty Harper

    Donna and J.P.

    Just read your first blog and ffound myself chocked up realizing the stories i had heard before. And now to recognize the number of years of prayer that brought about decisions for Christ. What a testimony for you both and for your kids.

    Also, miss you both and just managing to hang in there with Bill needing help and now my
    shoulder is injured and I’m weighing surgery! What a life — but it is still great living in the Lord’s presence.

    With love, Betty Harper

  6. Lori

    I have been praying for your weekend and am rejoicing with you! What great encouragement to continue to pray… God is always at work! Love you to pieces, sweet friend.

  7. Arla

    Love love love this Donna!! What a reward the Lord has given JP and his brother and your whole family. What a testament
    to faith you all are!! I have hope my Dad will still come to the Lord before he passes. Me, my sister and brother and our families
    have been been praying for Daddy for 35 years. And I have been praying for your weekend ever since I heard last Monday night
    about your company coming. Enjoy and bask in the Lord’s victory and yours! Love you dearly sweet girl!

  8. Leslie bettino

    Wow, this is incredibly encouraging! Thank you for sharing this. It truly is amazing what God can do when things seem like they’ll never change. Have a blessed weekend with your family! Hooray!!!

  9. Joan

    Praises, praises!! What a precious story of persevering faith. Celebrating the Lord’s answer to your labor of love.

    ❥Hugs to you, Donna! xo

Add A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.