My teenage son Karl became withdrawn after his father died. As a single parent, I tried to do my best to talk to him, but the more I tried, the more he pulled away.
When his report card arrived during his junior year, it said that he had been absent 95 times from classes and had six failing grades for the year. At this rate he would never graduate! I sent him to the school therapist, I grounded him, I even begged him. Nothing worked.
I hadn't prayed in years, but one night I felt so powerless that I got down on my knees and pleaded for help. "Please God, I can't do anything more for my son. I'm at the end of my rope. I'm giving the whole thing up to you."
I was at work when I got a phone call. A man introduced himself as the school guidance counselor. "I want to talk to you about Karl's absences."
Before he could say another word, I choked up and all my frustration and sadness over Karl came pouring out into the ears of this stranger.
There was silence on the other end of the line. The guidance counselor solemnly said, "Thank you for your time," and hung up.
Karl's next report card showed a marked improvement in his grades. Eventually, he even made the honor roll. In his senior year, I attended a parent-teacher conference with Karl. I listened to his teachers marvel at the way he had turned himself around.
On our way home, he said, "Mom, remember that call from the guidance counselor last year?" I nodded.
"That was me. I thought I'd play a joke but when I heard what you said, it really hit me how much I was hurting you. That's when I knew I had to make you proud."
Karl had become a good student at school, and that was when I became a real student of prayer.