It is late in the summer of 2019 and I’m on vacation in a beautiful part of Italy. My stay has been organised by a Christian holiday company, and I have joined a group of strangers for a week away.

Early on in the week, I get chatting with the leader, and a friendship soon forms. As the week unfolds, she explains how she’s been married for nearly five years, and how she and her husband would love to start a family. But she is heading rapidly for 40, her husband is now into his 40s, and their chances of conceiving are diminishing with every month that passes. It seems that pregnancy is eluding them.


Even as she’s pouring out her heart, I feel that familiar sense of courage-combined-with-compassion rising up within me. Her husband is not on the holiday but, I’m sure that if he’s as lovely as she is, they would make great parents. So why can’t they conceive?

Feeling bold, I ask her if she’d like me to pray for her – for them – there and then, in the moment. Her face speaks disappointment.

“We’ve received lots of prayer about it,” she explains, “and I just don’t know if I’ve got enough faith to believe for it any more.” She sighs. “Even though it’s something we both so desperately want.”

I don’t hesitate. “I have faith for you,” I tell her.

As I pray for her and her husband, I command the disappointment to disappear in the name of Jesus, and I can feel faith rising within me. At the same time, I sense the still, small voice of the Lord, gently whispering, “This time next year, she and her husband will have a baby.”

It seems bonkers, and I’m cautious about articulating it. Yet I’m reminded of the story of Hannah in the Bible (in 1 Samuel 1) and I feel a surge of confidence. I know that He has heard me.


By the time the holiday ends, we have become firm friends and agree to keep in touch, as we only live about an hour away from each other, here in the UK.

So when the call comes through, telling me she’s pregnant, I do a little victory dance! “I knew it would happen,” I declare, even though it’s still early days.

When we celebrate her 40th birthday, there is jubilation about the baby that she’s carrying. “This pregnancy is the best possible birthday gift,” she pronounces, “I don’t want for anything else.”

Last month, late in the summer of 2020, this friend gave birth to a healthy baby boy. In her own words, she and her husband have been blessed beyond belief, and God has been faithful to His promise.

This baby boy is truly a miracle – much like Samuel was to Hannah and Elkanah, in the well-known Bible story. (See 1 Samuel 1.)


If you are a Jesus follower, and you have friends who are longing and hoping for a child, or facing other situations that seem impossible, please can I encourage you to ask the Lord for the faith to believe on their behalf? Be bold in your prayers. Listen for His still, small whisper. Hold onto the stories in the Bible of others who have faced similar situations. More than anything, don’t give in to disappointment.

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash



  1. bettyboo76 Reply

    Jo, this was a really encouraging story for me to read – and to come back to – in the midst of personal loss. It’s hard sometimes to remain hopeful when disappointment comes your way but I think this is a good reminder to cling on to faith as hard as we can. Thank you for taking the trouble to write and share this xx

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