“I knew I had to trust God, and even though I did not understand, this was the path He had chosen.” (Heidi Peterson)


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

My mind was overloaded with thoughts when I was asked, “What is something that surprised you about chronic illness?

So many things have surprised me in my journey as a “heart mom.” I thought of all the unforeseen things I’ve experienced, all the unexpected relationships and connections I’ve made. I thought about how differently I look at life, how thankful I am for every little blessing, and how I’ve seen joy in my daughter’s eyes amidst her struggles. However, I am most surprised at the powerful gift prayer has become; I believe it is much more than a conversation with God.


Prayer is not a new concept for me. As a child, I remember praying nightly for my dad and a younger brother, both having been diagnosed with a genetic neuromuscular disease. Growing up, I witnessed the effects of the disease on my brother. I wanted to help him, to take away the difficulties, to do something — so I prayed.  I prayed that God would take away his disease. Then, I prayed that God would let me switch places with him. I prayed for a cure. During this time, I began to understand that prayer was more than a conversation. Prayer had a purpose. It was a gift and a tool, and it was powerful. Little did I know how powerful this gift would continue to be!


When I first heard the words, “Your baby’s heart is not normal,” my world was turned upside down. I was scared, angry, and confused. I questioned God. How could He allow this innocent unborn baby to be brought into this world to suffer through repeated surgeries, procedures, and pain?

Why would He give her this journey?

My heart was broken, but I prayed. I prayed for the comfort and safety of this little person inside me. I prayed He would give me the strength to give her what she needed. Then I prayed that whatever God’s plan was (and however much time He would let us share with her), He would always be at my daughter’s side. I knew I had to trust God, and even though I did not understand, this was the path He had chosen for her. I was no longer in control.

No, I had never been in control.

The more I prayed, the more I was able to see. I saw more than the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect; I also saw the support system surrounding me — family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. People (including some I had never met) sent heartfelt supportive messages. Friends dropped off meals and offered to help in any way they could. Strangers added our daughter to prayer lists. Our church (and an even larger surrounding community) prayed for our baby. Yes, I saw generosity, compassion, and (most importantly) the power of prayer.


Prayer did more than help me to see. It also helped me to feel. Slowly, the shock, denial, anger, and depression turned into comfort and acceptance. The paralyzing fear dissipated, and a positive attitude emerged. I started to feel confident and strong. I felt HOPE.

Because of prayer, I no longer felt helpless. Instead, I felt ready. I was prepared for our daughter to enter this world because I knew I was not alone, whatever the outcome.


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the privilege of prayer. Chronic illness can overwhelm us at times. We might feel angry, hurt, confused. Help us to pour out our hearts to You in prayer. You love us more than we realize and always know what is best. When we are weak, You give us strength and provide for our needs in ways we might never expect. Thank You for the peace and hope You give when we trust in You.

In the precious name of Jesus, amen.

Prayer is essential to us at Chronic Joy. If you have a prayer request, you’re invited to share your prayer requests in a judgment-free zone. Join us on our Prayer Pond page to share your request. We would love to pray for you!


  • Have you ever been surprised by prayer influencing you in unexpected ways?
  • Can you remember a time(s) when you understood and/or appreciated the power of prayer anew? What was the situation?
  • Has prayer opened your eyes and heart to hope (even in a hard time)? Can you share that news with someone?
Yellow Bubbles
Heidi Peterson

Heidi Peterson

Heidi is a loving wife to Jeff and mother to one friendly dog and three amazing, fun-loving children [including a daughter born with a congenital heart defect (PA-IVS) and one son with food allergies and a sensory processing disorder] who constantly remind her to live in the moment. Since childhood, she has witnessed the progression of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (a genetic, neuromuscular disease) in her siblings and father. Heidi loves dark chocolate, all things nature, and family.

Prayers for the Journey

These short prayers can strengthen, encourage, and inspire you to step into the comforting presence of God, where you are fully known, infinitely cared about, and deeply loved.

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