A: Tomorrow, people throughout our nation will be celebrating Mother's Day - and I can't think of a better time for you to try to mend your relationship with your mother. Let the Bible's words guide you: "Try to live in peace with all people, and try to live free from sin" (Hebrews 12:14, NCV).
It may not happen all at once; broken relationships (like broken bones) usually take time to heal. But now is the time to take that first step. Even if it eventually turns out to be impossible, you need to make the effort, because - as you've seen from your friend's experience - some day your mother may not be here, and then it'll be too late. Don't spend the rest of your days filled with guilt and regret, constantly wondering what might have happened if you'd only tried.
Reach out, therefore, to your mother, even if it's only a card or note or phone call saying that you are thinking about her this Mother's Day. Don't get into the "blame game," rehashing the past or blaming her for whatever went wrong (even if she is mostly at fault). The Bible says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).
Most of all, commit this problem - and your whole life - to Jesus Christ. God can do what we can't do, and He can bring healing and love even to the most difficult relationship.
Q: I grew up in a church that always used printed or memorized prayers in its services, and I'm having a hard time learning to pray on my own. I even worry if it's wrong to try praying in our own words, because we might say something wrong and offend God. Is this a danger? - Mrs. S.L.
A: No, you shouldn't worry about saying something wrong in your prayers, because God wants us to come to Him in prayer, and He delights in the prayers of His people.
After all, if you are a parent, did you get angry with your children when they first tried to talk? Did you turn your back on them if their words weren't perfect, or their sentences were childish? No, of course you didn't. Instead, you encouraged them, and you were thrilled at their first words.
The same is true with God. God loves us, and He yearns for us to come to Him in prayer - even if our prayers aren't perfect! The Bible says, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (or respect) him" (Psalm 103:13). And when we pray, we know that Jesus Christ - who is at the Father's right hand - is also praying for us, and His prayers are perfect.
How can you learn to pray? Pray just as if you were talking to a close friend of yours - because you are! Praise Him in your prayers ... confess your sins to Him in prayer ... seek His will in prayer ... and intercede for others in your prayers. The Bible says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.