Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)
When I was pregnant with oldest son, it was in the days before you had a sonogram at every turn. We only had one and carefully instructed the technician and midwives that we did not want to know the sex of our baby. I was convinced we were having a girl so admit some surprise when the doctor announced in the middle of a C-section, “It’s a boy!” But after twelve hours of unproductive labor, I was just glad to have him out of me and when the after birth hormones kicked in, it really didn’t matter, I loved him for who he was and not for what my dreams might have made him. When second son was born, we weren’t as determined to be surprised. Besides, if we had another boy, things would be a lot easier. Still, I admit to a little disappointment when I learned about six months in that we could use the hand me downs and the pink section of the toy store was not in my future. Over time, God blessed us with two daughters not by birth but by spiritual adoption. We had no legal papers to say that they were ours, but our hearts told us it was true. One of them will marry in the Fall and has asked husband to help walk her down the aisle. He is both humbled and awestruck by her kindness. We also have a “daughter-in-love” who I prayed for since the sonogram showed me that youngest son would someday need a loving wife. She is everything I had hoped she would be. While in Guatemala with her a few months ago, I told some of the other women that should my son go insane and decide to divorce her, I would take her side. There was a collective gasp as they tried to wrap their heads around a mom who would choose her daughter-in-law over her son. I really believe that there should be no choosing and that as mother-in-law, my best and hardest job is to remain neutral, but I prayed for this girl since before she was born. How could I abandon her now that I know her name? Today, I know the names of some other girls to pray for. I have been following closely the abduction of the girls from Nigerian school. Not much younger than the three girls that God blessed me with, I can only imagine the horrors that awaited them when they were herded from their school. That day they thought the hardest thing that they would face would be their exams. It is sickening how long it has taken the mainstream media and world governments to step up and advocate for these lost ones. One hundred and eighty names were made public today. They circle around Facebook as people are asked to chose a name and pray for the girl specifically and unceasingly. I chose two. Were I to have had a daughter by birth, her name would have been Rebecca Julie or Juliana Rebecca. We hadn’t decided and never needed to narrow it down, but part of her name would have been for my dear friend and college roommate. So, when looking at the list, my eyes fell upon the name of a girl who could have shared the name of my daughter had I had one that did not already come with a name: Juliana Yakubu. Because it didn’t seem right to leave behind another girl with the same last name, perhaps a sister of a cousin, I chose Suzana Yakubu as well. It makes perfect sense to me to pray for these girls I have never met. Like my daughter-in-law, not even conceived when I began praying for her, these girls are part of my family as well. Daughters in Christ, I now add them to my prayer list. I pray for hope and courage. For peace and faith. I pray for rescue and redemption of this time of imprisonment. I know that God will answer those prayers though the situation seems hopeless right now. Sometimes, before I knew my daughter-in-law’s name, I would wake up out of a sound sleep with the strong desire to pray for her. I don’t know what was going on at that time, probably never will, but I know that my prayers were answered. They will be this time as well. Who will you pray for? Your daughter needs you. Here are their names: Deborah Abge, Awa Abge, Hauwa Yirma, Asabe Manu, Mwa Malam Pogu, Patiant Dzakwa, Saraya Mal Stover, Mary Dauda, Gloria Mainta, Hanatu Ishaku Gloria Dama, Tabitha Pogu, Maifa Dama, Ruth Kollo, Esther Usman, Awa James, Anthonia Yahonna, Kume Mutah, Aisha Ezekial, Nguba Buba, Kwanta Simon, Kummai Aboku, Esther Markus, Hana Stephen, Rifkatu Amos, Rebecca Mallum, Blessing Abana, Ladi Wadai, Tabitha Hyelampa, Ruth Ngladar, Safiya Abdu, Na’omi Yahonna, Solomi Titus, Rhoda John, Rebecca Kabu, Christy Yahi, Rebecca Luka, Laraba John, Saratu Markus, Mary Usman, Debora Yahonna, Naomi Zakaria, Hanatu Musa, Hauwa Tella, Juliana Yakubu, Suzana Yakubu, Saraya Paul, Jummai Paul, Mary Sule, Jummai John, Yanke Shittima, Muli Waligam, Fatima Tabji, Eli Joseph, Saratu Emmanuel, Deborah Peter, Rahila Bitrus, Luggwa Sanda, Kauna Lalai, Lydia Emmar, Laraba Maman, Hauwa Isuwa, Confort Habila, Hauwa Abdu, Hauwa Balti, Yana Joshua, Laraba Paul, Saraya Amos, Glory Yaga, Na’omi Bitrus, Godiya Bitrus, Awa Bitrus, Na’omi Luka, Maryamu Lawan, Tabitha Silas, Mary Yahona, Ladi Joel, Rejoice Sanki, Luggwa Samuel, Comfort Amos, Saraya Samuel, Sicker Abdul, Talata Daniel, Rejoice Musa, Deborah Abari, Salomi Pogu, Mary Amor, Ruth Joshua, Esther John, Esther Ayuba, Maryamu Yakubu, Zara Ishaku, Maryamu Wavi, Lydia Habila, Laraba Yahonna, Na’omi Bitrus, Rahila Yahanna, Ruth Lawan, Ladi Paul, Mary Paul, Esther Joshua, Helen Musa, Margret Watsai, Deborah Jafaru, Filo Dauda, Febi Haruna, Ruth Ishaku, Racheal Nkeki, Rifkatu Soloman, Mairama Yahaya, Saratu Dauda, Jinkai Yama, Margret Shettima, Yana Yidau, Grace Paul, Amina Ali, Palmata Musa, Awagana Musa, Pindar Nuhu, Yana Pogu, Saraya Musa, Hauwa Joseph, Hauwa Kwakwi, Hauwa Musa, Maryamu Musa, Maimuna Usman, Rebeca Joseph, Liyatu Habitu, Rifkatu Yakubu, Naomi Philimon, Deborah Abbas, Ladi Ibrahim, Asabe Ali, Maryamu Bulama, Ruth Amos, Mary Ali, Abigail Bukar, Deborah Amos, Saraya Yanga, Kauna Luka, Christiana Bitrus, Yana Bukar, Hauwa Peter, Hadiza Yakubu, Lydia Simon, Ruth Bitrus, Mary Yakubu, Lugwa Mutah, Muwa Daniel, Hanatu Nuhu, Monica Enoch, Margret Yama, Docas Yakubu, Rhoda Peter, Rifkatu Galang, Saratu Ayuba, Naomi Adamu, Hauwa Ishaya, Rahap Ibrahim, Deborah Soloman, Hauwa Mutah, Hauwa Takai, Serah Samuel, Aishatu Musa, Aishatu Grema, Hauwa Nkeki, Hamsatu Abubakar, Mairama Abubakar, Hauwa Wule, Ihyi Abdu, Hasana Adamu, Rakiya Kwamtah, Halima Gamba, Aisha Lawan, Kabu Malla, Yayi Abana, Falta Lawan, and Kwadugu Manu.