Desiring a brother, my son prayed…

by Rod Smith

Thulani, Nate, and me

Thulani, Nate, and me

Thulani was four (he is now 11) when praying for a brother became his primary prayer focus, placing even Thomas The Train Engine stuff into second place when petitioning the divine. These prayers left me feeling helpless. Was I supposed to tell him I was trying?

One evening we visited Durban’s yacht basin. A little boy, clearly a homeless child, emerged and beckoned Thulani to play. The two boys with so little in common but race, raced and chased up and down the piers between the yachts.

“I want a brother like him.” Thulani said after I’d taken a photograph of the boys arm in arm. “Ask God,” was all I remember saying.

I knew the night’s inevitable parting would be tough for both boys. How does a parent explain the intricacies of international law and child trafficking laws to a four-year-old? Thulani understood we were leaving this boy in the darkness behind our rented car and this boy we were leaving would make a perfect brother.

That photograph is in our home. Guests comment that it is a very nice photograph of Thulani and Nathanael. Even Nathanael used to think it was he and his brother.

It’s this kind of detail that really gets a child’s attention when it comes to God’s power to answer prayers.

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