Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Praying for the Family of Byrd and Melanie Billings

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to serve as a place for prayer on breaking news. A little while ago, it was brought to my attention that Byrd and Melanie Billings, a couple in Beulah, Florida who had opened their hearts and their home to 12 adopted children, were slain in a home invasion. According to the Pensacola News Journal, the Billings have 16 children, 12 of them are adopted, some of whom have special needs. Eight of the children were found in the house when police arrived on the scene. My heart breaks for these children and the family of Byrd and Melanie Billings.

Heavenly Father,


While it’s hard to fathom why bad things happen to good people, Lord I want to thank you for the lives of Byrd and Melanie Billings. Thank you for giving them hearts that were open to opening their home to children who would have otherwise been cast down. We thank you for their generosity and pray that their story, the story of two generous people who made a life out of making a life for children, will be one that inspires many people. I pray for those 16 children, that though they will go forward in this life without their parents, they will not go forward in life without you and the love of a countless number of people who will respond to the loss of Byrd and Melanie. May your hand of provision never be slack. May your goodness and mercy follow those children. And may your love surround them all of the days of their lives. Comfort the Billings’ family at this time. Give them words of solace during this time of loss and even place within the killer(s), the repentful and the remorseful spirit to turn themselves in.

In Jesus’ Name,


Please pray for and share your prayers for the children and family or Byrd and Melanie Billings. 

  • Tom

    Praying doesn’t do anything besides giving yourself warm fuzzy feelings inside.
    Get off your ass and find out how to donate some money or find out how you can help these poor kids.

  • jake

    tom, i admire your heart of action. you’re right in saying that people WILL be recognized by their actions/deeds.
    however, you must not know the heavenly father to whom we are praying to…meet him first before you repeat your first sentence please.

  • Jen

    Many prayers going up for this family. How horrific and I would like to come together with you in prayer for this family, these precious children. As to the other person who commented, rest assured Tom, I will be praying for you as well. Have a blessed day.

  • Susan E.

    Tom, that’s exactly what my husband and I want to do! We prayed when we first heard of this horrific tragedy today. We have a large, adoptive family with many special needs children and when I told my husband of this news story he said “We will take them in.” I left our name and number with Children’s Services in Escambia county…I am sure this family has prepared for their children as they sound like responsible parents but if they have no place to go we will take them.

  • Mark

    If you aren’t in taking these kids for the publicity, why is it only these kids you are asking about taking in? They aren’t the only kids in the system looking for homes who have lost both parents to murder. There are kids who have been looking for adoptive families for years in Florida that are in that same boat. Kids who have been abused for years. Kids who were abused, than lost their parents to murder-suicides, etc. Yet you are only interested in having the famous ones come into your home
    If your inquiry was done with good intentions you would not have asked specifically about these kids. You would have been willing to take in any child, regardless of whether or not they were part of the famous group

  • Jon

    Mark sounds like a judgmental jerk…
    It’s quite normal to be drawn to something that has been placed before you. Maybe Susan wasn’t looking to take in any more children but due to the unusual circumstances that was made public (put before them) they were moved with compassion to try to help out in that particular situation.
    To assume there are insincere intentions because Susan isn’t asking about other children and specifically these is pretty ridiculous and judgmental — find something else better to do with your time Mark because you add no value with comments like that.
    I also could be considered a jerk because I jumped into a conversation that has nothing to do with me — ow well.. I hate to see when people are not being fair :)

  • Susan E.

    It’s okay Jon :) Mark– we’ve taken in dozens of children over the years and adopted 7 special needs children. As for taking in the children for publicity, it reminds me of the saying “She who marries for money earns it.” The publicity would wear off after a few days or maybe weeks but the children still need someone to love them. I really hope family takes them in but know that is not always possible.

  • Susan E.

    Jon just re-read your comments, you sound very kind. You’re right, we’re not looking to take in more children at this point but if God wants them here we want to be open to that. Our family (large, adoptive, lots of special needs) could perhaps handle taking in these children so they wouldn’t have to be split up.

  • Debbie

    God wants to have compassion. that’s one of the greatest gifts he’s given. there’s nothing wrong with wanting to extend a home to these children who are suffering. you’re both right, there are children who suffer every day. just count yourselves blessed to be able to help, and don’t persecute the person who wants to help. that’s what’s wrong with all of us, we’re too eager to criticize or find fault. thank you God, for saints who are willing to give, share and provide love to your children who are in crisis. blessings to all of you.

  • R.Wallace B

    Merciful Jesus, give these children the peace that only you can give, the peace that passes all understanding. Lord God, cover them in your blood, put angels round about them, hold them in your loving arms. Oh mighty God, suffer these little children to come into you and soothe their hearts, be into them the balm of Giliad. Lord, I thank you and praise you. In the name of the Almighty God Jesus Christ I pray.

  • Traci

    You are awesome for offering to do this! I read your blog and know where your heart it.
    Praying for these children who are surely hurting. What a great mom and dad they had. I hope they catch the people who commited such an injustice.

  • Fred Benson

    What about the kids who are orphans again? Who is in charge of the kids now? It looks like the 16 kids will never have any guidance now that their parents are gone. Somebody contact Extreme Makeover Home Edition at keyword: home makeover to give these kids a chance.

  • Katie Couric

    Maybe Jon and Kate Gosselin or the Octomom, Nadya Suleiman can take care of the 16 kids whose parents got murdered.

  • Fred Benson

    Why don’t we have a fundraiser to help the kids of Mr. and Mrs. Billings? That will show that we care about these kids.

  • Kathie Lee Gifford

    I think Children and Youth Services in Pensacola can help these kids by giving them 20 years of hard labor without any pay. They should tend to their own problems, the orphans can take care of themselves with no problems. The kids can do well by themselves.

  • mae evans

    Why is it that people who obviously have no interest in spirituality take the time to post nasty, snide and decidedly off-topic remarks on a ‘blog like this one? If you’re an atheist, go find a non-believer’s ‘blog and leave snitty remarks there. If you’re a disillusioned believer know that God is still there, still waiting for you to reach out to Him in sincerity and trust. And if you’re just a crank with nothing better to do than slam those who trust in prayer and its power to make the world a better place, just shut up!
    As for the Billings family, may God stretch His mighty and powerful hand across them and guide those who must make decisions concerning their children.

  • Wolf Blitzer

    Breaking news:
    CNN has just confirmed that Deborah Rowe has been proclaimed the new mother of the 16 children whose parents were killed today in Pensacola, Florida.

  • EValles

    Any idea who the suspects are ? Maybe parents who opposed their children being adopted by the Billings’ ?
    I checked out Florida’s adoption incentives. I’m not sure the family is quite as noble as some think.
    Minimum payment for a child adopted out of State care is $417 month. 12= $5000 + most of these kids have severe disabilities, they get extra for that + the kids qualify for social security disability payments. They’re also covered by medicaid so the parents don’t have to provide insurance. They also receive a $10k adoption tax credit every year for each child. Some also qualify for a cash payment from the feds at the time of the adoption of $4k-$6k. The person who lives in their “guest house” and helps with the kids would also be paid by the state. You might take in one or two disabled children out of the kindness of your heart, but 12 ?? $$$$$$$$

  • Fred Benson

    If there is a memorial fund for the Billings kids, please let me and all of us know. Right now our Heavenly Father is watching over them. I lost my mother when I was 16 years old (she died on 12/1/85 of a heart attack) and I lost my dad when he drowned on Father’s Day, 1987. I was not actually an orphan, because my uncle, Haywood Benson, Jr. took care of me from 1986 to 1988, then I was on my own starting in 1988. (My uncle died in 1996). I found out as I got older that being the only family member left means I now have to make responsible choices for myself, and I still remember my now deceased family members, including my brother Jeffery, who died at the age of 8 in 1978, he died of an electrocution. I converted to Catholicism in 1994, and I have written to other people who lost loved ones, through natural causes and violent crimes. I have seen many positive replies from victims’ families, and I hope I can contact the kids in Pensacola to share their grief. I heard that Byrd and Melinda’s oldest children are in their 20s, and now they have the responsibility to take care of their siblings. I hope and pray that the kids will be all right, and may their parents enjoy eternal rest in Heaven as they have came home with the Lord.
    “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”
    These 10 important words are my words of advice for the Billings kids, as all good things through God can strengthen your family, and don’t forget that your parents were outstanding role models and people who made a difference.
    Thank you, Byrd and Melanie for making a difference for 12 wonderful kids who gave a 2nd chance, we’ll see you in Heaven. God bless.

  • Joy

    I agree with you Mae there is no need for negative comments to be posted to this blog, who ever did the cathy gifford comment and also the wolf blitzer comment should be ashamed of theirselves. God is not marked whatever you sow you will reap. I am sixty years old and it never fails that is one of his promises along with the promise of Love and answered prayer. I pray today for the Billings, Lord may they find peace in your hands. I know Lord you have already made arrangements for these children to be taken care of. Bless each child as they go forward in life, draw them unto you and let them know what a loving God you are. Comfort all twelve as they go through this horrible ordeal and give them added strength to endure. I know you are a way maker, clear the path so that they may recieve many blessing in Jesus name I pray Amen

  • Your Name

    Anybody who has children I had five knows that it takes alot of precious time and plenty money to take care of children. I do not know what help the Billings got or could get but I say thank God for all the help they could get. And Lord I thank you that you gave the Billings a good heart and the patience to want these children. May justice be done for I know that we can never escape your promise that whatever we sow we must reap. Lord I pray that they find these people and ask them why they stole lives and destroyed the lives of these children by leaving them without parents. Bless them, comfort and keep them in the name of Jesus Amen.

  • Your Name

    I do wish that people would think before they write/speak. Do you think this couple who already had 4 children between them were adopting for the money when they adopted the first child? Wow, that was really a plan to get rich quick. I just pray that the children will have someone to love and protect them as they go forward in their lives after this tragedy. I also pray for the people who did this, that they come to realize what they have done for a little money (probably for drugs) and I pray that they come to know the Lord and His mercy and grace. In Jesus name I pray this-AMEN

  • Your Name

    I personally knew the Billings family. Their children were patients of mine for 4 years before I moved away. They loved their children as if they were their own. They took care of them financially without help from the state besides to guide them for medical treatment. All the children were covered by private insurance that they paid for and only the kids with complex had medicaid as their secondary insurance. People would call the Billings to have them adopt their children when they found out in their pregnancy something was wrong with their unborn child. So if you want to make judgement or think wrong of them you can but you are sadly mistaken. Byrd and Melanie, God saved a special place in Heaven for ya’ll for all the love you gave all of your children. You were special to me in so many ways and it was an honor and a privledge to be apart of your family as a healthcare worker for your children.

  • Jeanette Murphy

    My heart goes out to the entire Billings family. My husband and I chose to adopt children with special needs too and I can imagine the horrible loss to such a large family who I know love each other dearly. I will pray for them daily because it will be so difficult yo move on. May God comfort them in this time of loss. If people are low enough to presume that anyone would do this for money and still provide for them so well then that shows where those peoples hearts are. I know that they did it for love.

  • Your Name

    Re: Fred Benson’s comment about contacting abc’s Extreme Home Make-over – go to This family lived in an enormous, beautiful home complete with a large swimming pool in the back yard. Adequate housing is not the issue. Finding new caregivers for these children in the issue.

  • Frustrated

    PEOPLE!!! The Billings had a Will and guardians for their children in the event they would pass away.
    I have 5 special needs children and we have the same thing. I talked to Melanie about this exact issue.
    No one needs to worry about the children getting a home or being separated.
    I get frustrated with this issue because whether the child is adopted or birthed they are looked at as the SAME by law.
    One of the pieces of the adoption process is showing you have a Will and a guardian in place so that the child does not end up in the system.

  • Lisa

    So very very sorry to hear this. I will pray for their children. May these wonderful people rest in peace and may justice be served to those evil people who did this to them

  • Fred Benson

    So, in the Billings’ will, who gets custody of those kids?
    I hope the new guardians can continue the legacy Byrd and Melinda started with those 16 kids.

  • Mia

    The Billings were wonderful people – the kind of people that, you knew the second you met them they were different. They had that kind nature came through immediately. And when they began adopting the children – it became obvious that Mel and Byrd loved these kids and wanted to give them a better life – and they did. I am still in the state of shock over what has happened to my friends and neighbors. Its difficult to find solace, except to know that they are with God now. I believe it is true that the good die young. My hope now is that the people who have done this will be punished for this crime. But – knowing in my heart that there is no punishment that will bring my friends back, I hope the ones who have done this will somehow find God and ask to be forgiven. Rest in Peace- Melanie and Byrd Billings.

  • Fred Benson

    Billings Family Trust for Children
    BBVA Compass Bank
    4395 W. Fairfield Drive
    Pensacola, FL 32505
    (850) 857-5030, ask for Marcia Messer at Compass Bank

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