Pray your way through the day. Yes, you may.

Burbank, California; February,2003;
Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student

As the clock was stringing minutes to hours, Dana was waiting. The night was fading into dawn, while her despair was growing. She felt helpless, for one of the most precious persons she knew, her only son, was going through extremely tough times. And there was nothing she could do. He was a young adult who lived in a continent, far, far away. Dana had not seen her boy in years, but they had regular telephone contact. However, sonny did not sound too well lately. Her baby had grown into an angry young man, battering his loved ones, performing aggressively toward everyone who did not immediately cooperate, and generally too restless and dissatisfied with himself to sleep or eat. Dana gazed into her bedroom with empty eyes. Where did this start? Where had she gone wrong? How could a child of hers be so weak? Why was he so angry at the world? Who coould she call to lend him a helping hand? Should she catch the next plane and go to him?

Millions of thoughts like these were running at dazzling speed through Dana's weary mind. Meanwhile her son was dragging himself through a train station in Europe, looking like a vagrant: unclean, unshaven, and unfed as he was. He called her every 5 minutes from his cellphone, literally crying out his frustration, anger, and helplessness. And although he had maneuvered himself in this position, Dana knew that this was not the time for reprimands. Sanity and life were at stake here: A dearly beloved life.

When he called at 3 am. Dana found herself having run out of advises. She had tried all her usually so successful motivational techniques, but nothing had changed her son's distraught state of mind. In ultimate desolation, she finally softly suggested him to pray, and ask the Lord not for something specific, but just for guidance. On his argument that he was traveling from one city to another and therefore could not afford to rest, she told him that he could still pray while on the road: without closing his eyes or opening his mouth. "Just pray internally. And lay your troubles in His hands" she said.

The calls stopped. Dana started praying too until she fell asleep. When she woke up the next morning she did her normal chores, and only called her son when the day was already half over. He sounded reasonably well: although he was still sleepless and unclean, it was as if he was a bit more balanced.

Dana's problem is not unique to many of us who have children. For having children means being prepared to deal with their troubles whenever they need you. And even if you cannot actually DO something, listening helps. And praying. There are many situations where nothing but prayer is possible anyway, especially if your children live at a great geographical distance.

Many parents fall into a spiral of deep self-doubt in these moments, wondering where they went wrong in raising their children, and dreading every flaw that their analyzing mind encounters while reviewing the past. Yes, this is no new experience either.

An important--maybe even the only--way to look at these situations as a parent is that you've done all you could when raising your children, given the limited knowledge and maturity you had at the time. None of us has the manual for perfect child raising. A manual like that would be ineffective anyway, for children differ as day and night: As many children you have, as many different characters and approaches will you learn to develop.

In point of fact, Dana's solution to her problem is applicable to every part of our lives, since problems have no particular preference in time and area of appearance. Whether a business manager, an entrepreneur or employee, a homemaker, waitress, scientist or artist, prayer may sometimes be your only tool to work with. Fortunately, it's subtler than the hammer that treats every problem like a nail.

You may consider yourself the most sober and knowledgeable person on earth, but prayer should never be excluded as an option to problem solving. Even if you think you have the answers due to thorough scenario planning, benchmarking, or whatever interesting business strategy you use, prayer for guidance is never redundant. And the most vital consequence of prayer is that it enhances inner-peace. Now, what is more important than that?