My brother, Ryan, is a prayer warrior. He is 27 years old and has autism, but most importantly, he loves to pray. He has a list of people’s names he prays for religiously every day. And the list is always growing.
A couple years ago, he and my mom decided to go to some yard sales, as this is one of my brother’s favorite activities. He takes delight in looking for toys and old VHS tapes to add to his collections. But this day he was hoping to find one item in particular.
Before getting out of the minivan to start their yard sale expedition, Ryan turned to my mom and said, “Mom, we need to pray first before we start.”
“Okay…” She answered with hesitancy, but none the less. When was it a bad time to pray??
She wondered to herself what he wanted to pray about. However, she had quickly learned while raising a son with autism to get accustomed to randomness, especially when the Holy Spirit, who works in mysterious ways, is involved.
“Dear God,” he began. “I pray to find a pocket watch like Grandpa’s.”
So far, normal, my mom thought to herself. Recently, our grandfather had passed away. When my brother was little, Grandpa would always show him his pocket watch. He told Ryan that one day it would be his. The years leading up to his death, Grandpa was diagnosed and afflicted with dementia. He would often forget about things, and his house ended up in disarray. When we cleaned the house after his passing, the pocket watch was nowhere to be found. We figured he had misplaced it somewhere. Ryan was disappointed but understanding.
Sitting in the van, Ryan continued praying. “I want it to be just like his. With two axes that crisscross over the front and a ladder on the back, and it needs to be gold with a chain that is about this size and about this big…” Ryan trailed off.
My mom squinted to peek through closed eyes at her son, and she smiled. His cute face was all scrunched up in focused prayer. He held his hands out as if he was holding the pocket watch, tracing the engravings. He could picture it with all its details.
“And then when you open it…” he prayed, rotating his hand palm up, opening the envisioned pocket watch. “There will be flowers engraved on the inside, and the clock face will be the same as Grandpa’s.”
A fleshly thought crossed my mom’s mind. Like we’re going to find that today, she chuckled to herself.
After the prayer, they climbed out of the van and headed to the first yard sale. After only being there for a couple minutes, Ryan yelled, “Look, Mom! I got it!” He marched over to my mom, an item held up to the sky in triumph.
“Found what?” My mom asked, not looking up from a used dining set collection she was examining.
“Thanks God!” Ryan grinned, peering upward.
My mom looked up to see Ryan holding a pocket watch in his hands. He handed it over to her, and her jaw dropped. The crisscrossed axes, the ladder on the back, the size, the gold, the chain, the flowers on the inside, the clock face - all identical to her father’s pocket watch! She stared in disbelief.
“What, Mom? God answered my prayer!” Ryan spoke quite matter-of-factly.
Looking up to heaven in awe, she asked, “Who are You?”
My thoughts echoed hers when I heard her tell me the story that evening. Who are You, God, that You see us and choose to lavish us with this love?
Two things stick out to me the most: God’s great love for us and my brother’s faith.
Lord, You see a boy with autism who misses his grandfather and wants a pocket watch like his. You not only see us and hear us, but You love us. You like to surprise us. But Ryan wasn’t surprised by You. He prays with expectation because he knows who You are and that You hear us.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14
Lord, thank You for Your abounding love. You give good gifts to us. Thank You for hearing our prayers. I pray that we all can have faith like Ryan’s, that we will approach Your throne in confidence, knowing we can ask for anything. Help us in our doubt. Let us truly know Your great love.
Lauren Weber is a college student and one of our youngest writers for The Connection. She is currently pursuing a nursing degree but has always had a love for writing. She loves using her gift of writing to serve God and to write words of truth and encouragement. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her four-legged canines, Ripley and Naomi.