Kenneth Ching was young, healthy, and prosperous. He believed in God and believed he was good. But when his son is born with a rare genetic condition, his life is thrown into an unpredictable and terrifying pattern he can no longer control.
With refreshingly honest prose, Ching masterfully recounts his battle of struggling to understand God’s plan when some prayers are answered and others are not. He learns to rejoice when his son is healthy and grieves when he is sick, while asking the tough questions most people are afraid to say out loud.
This is a story about wrestling with God, about suffering and doubt, and ultimately about the hope that comes only in the midst of brokenness.
Shattered Prayers is an artful examination of faith in the face of suffering. In recounting his family’s story, Ching allows the reader access to a father’s inner dialogue with a candor that is at turns frightening, vulnerable, and beautiful—often at the same time. And while the book’s primary preoccupations are questions of faith, the story is told with a sense of drama that keeps the reader rapt.
—Gabriel Urza, author of All That Followed
Shattered Prayers is a very real and honest look at the struggles of parenting a child with special needs. Kenneth Ching writes with transparency, expressing his frustrations with God and despite losing hope at times, never losing faith. He reminds us that although God doesn't always work the way we expect him to, he still loves us and our children even more than we can imagine.
—Claire Yorita Lee, author (with Shari Rigby) of Beautifully Flawed
“It’s okay to say nothing. It’s good to say nothing. Saying nothing acknowledges the difficulty of the situation. Saying nothing says a lot: It says, ‘This is so difficult it leaves me speechless.’ It shows solidarity with the person who is suffering. The suffering person doesn’t understand what’s going on and neither do you. At least you can have that in common. You can not understand, but together.” (Page 89)
“Unlike me, she doesn’t seem angry. Instead, she’s confused. Praying seems, she says, like talking to an alien. What do you say to an omnipotent deity who could help you instantly but doesn’t? What do you say to someone who hears your cries and responds with silence? How do you draw him out from his remote corner of the universe? Why do you even try? Yet trouble has always led Erin to pray, and so now she prays. Maybe that’s what God wants—our desperation. Maybe evil teaches us that we need him. I don’t know. Seems like a grim gospel.” (Page 35)
“My hard heart breaks. I know God didn’t give Joshua a birth defect to teach me a lesson. God sacrificed his son to heal Joshua, because he loves Joshua, and me. He does ask me to give him everything, to trust him with everything—but not before he gave everything. My eyes fill with tears, and I eat the body of Christ, broken for me and my son.” (Page 146)
“I only truly pray when I’m desperate—not because I don’t believe in God, but because most of the time I don’t need him.” (Page 37)
“Before Joshua was born, it’s like my belief in God was just a comfortable abstraction.” (Page 37)
Kenneth Ching is an attorney in Reno, Nevada. He has worked as a journalist and law professor and held positions at organizations such as World Vision and Regent University.