Like many twenty-somethings, our daughter Danielle attends a young adult group associated with our church. She has autism and enjoys going on Friday evenings to spend time with her friends. We were very happy to find this group, since it can be difficult to find activities for adults with special needs. There are many activities to keep her busy, and the time seems to go by quickly. At the end of the evening the young people gather in a prayer circle to pray for any intentions that are on their hearts and minds. This is where the magic happens.
One of the group leaders begins with a prayer request. Often he or she will pray for someone who is sick or something similar. Very quickly others there will start to join in. It is not uncommon to hear these young people with special needs voice their heartfelt requests. One young man prayed for his grandfather and started to add details like the year his grandfather died. “I want to pray for my grandfather who died in 2015. He was sick. He was special to me.” He took a long pause, and with a big smile on his face, added, “Let us pray to the Lord.”
Everyone responded, “Amen.”
Others asked for prayers too. You could see on each of their faces a sense of accomplishment in being able to ask God for help. Our daughter Danielle, like some of the other young people there, is non-verbal. She is listening intently. She is peaceful and calm. We wonder what is on her heart and mind. We wonder if she has a prayer intention too, and what it is. However, we know that God knows what is in her heart and answers her prayers.
David and Mercedes write and speak from a faith perspective as parents of a child with autism. They are available to speak, and have appeared on radio and other media. Visit DavidAndMercedesRizzo.com to learn more. Follow them on Facebook at Autism With The Rizzos. Authors of Praying For Your Special Needs Child, (Word Among Us Press) and Spiritually Able and The Adaptive First Eucharist Preparation Kit (Loyola Press)