God sees. God hears. God answers. {Target gift card & book GIVEAWAY}

In May 2013, our son Andrew told us he was an atheist. The boy we knew and loved had been fading away for months, but we couldn’t get him to tell us why. Now we knew.

We prayed. We begged God to intervene. We had no idea how He would answer. 

If you’ve ever prayed for someone you desperately loved …

If you’ve ever needed to know God hears you, and He’s working in ways you can’t see …

If you’ve ever longed to see God bring good out of something really hard … 

If you don’t do anything else today, please WATCH this video.


TargetGiftCardWIN a $20 TARGET Gift Card
along with a copy of “Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer in a Big Way.” This is a powerful story of faith, hope and uncommon courage. Zach and his family have inspired ours to live with intentional meaning and purpose – no matter how hard life getsMy 19 and 16 year old boys both read the book in less then two days. It’s that good! #ChristmasGiftIdeas #GoodReads

In this video, you heard about God’s HUGE unexpected surprise for Laura and me. What was it? What is one thing Laura prayed for — that she told Andrew he was for her??  

CLICK “Share Your Thoughts” below this point to enter. YOUR COMMENT enters you to win the  $20 TARGET Gift Card and a copy of ““Fly a Little Higher.”  Winners will be chosen and announced this weekend!



DOWNLOAD  Chapter One for FREE                                  ORDER Now


Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.59.52 PMAs Andrew and Laura continued they had a powerful conversation about Zach’s faith and scripture Laura held onto for strength and comfort. The next segement will only be available on my YouTube Channel. So, if you’d like to be notified when it’s uploaded, please SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel. 


About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. I find this story so enticing and can’t wait to get my hands on this book. To hear how Renee’s son, Andrew’s, life was changed because he saw Zach’s story and to know how that lined up with Zach’s mom’s prayer for something big is powerful. I only hope I will always pray “not my will but Yours” and that I will be as responsive in my heart to what I see as Andrew was. Thanks for sharing your stories.

    • Me too Tristi. So grateful for Laura’s prayer and Zach’s courage. So very thankful for the way God used Zach’s story to start breaking down the walls of deceit and hopelessness built around Andrew’s heart.

  2. I have begged God to hear his voice. I pray He will answer others prayers

  3. God is bigger than we are and I love hearing stories about how he turns troubles into triumph. I would love to get my hands on this book and for my kids to read it as well.

  4. Saw this and before I read any further..the words reached me deep in my heart….He is saying He hears me praying for my husband…so faithful is He! Looking forward to reading this book. I am seeking!

  5. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I have been in a place where I have been praying for several years wondering these same questions, does God hear me? does He care? will He ever answer? I am waiting but easily find myself doubting and discouraged. My heart aches. Thank you for your promising words of hope.

    • Praying for you Jodi. He does hear. I have to remind myself each day with each doubt that — like the wind, even though I can’t see God I can be sure He is there.

  6. Read first chapter, have to read more

  7. I would love to read this book. It speaks to me.
    I lost my best friend, my sister, in 1995 who was 21 when she died.
    I remember her hooked up to all the machines keeping her alive, and the doctors saying that her time was close.
    I was 20, walked into the waiting room , fell on my knees and prayed. ” That’s my sister in there, I don’t want to lose her. However Lord, your will be done and I’ll be ok”.
    That was a hard prayer, but for me, I’ ve had to lean on that prayer a lot since then.

    • So very sorry for your loss Gladys. I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak. Praying for you today. Praying that today’s message brings assurance and comfort to your heart today.

  8. Elisabeth Tyler says:

    This looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing the information with us.

  9. Ashley Rodriguez says:

    I would love to read and share this book with my family. I also would love to be inspired by this read! I think all of us have wondered if God hears or sees, knowing deeply He does, but just needing that confirmation. I hope to read this!

  10. Emily Wilson says:

    I can’t wait to read this. As a youth leader it sounds like something wonderful to share with our kiddos. God is so amazing in every way, even in the most tragic of times.

  11. Am right now so desperately on my knees for my daughter – sounds like this book would offer some nice encouragement. I know God is hearing me…keep hoping against hope right?

    • Keep praying and hoping and loving her Deborah. God hears and He wants to love her through you. Praying for you both tonight.

  12. Angelina Glass says:

    This looks like a very powerful book. As a mom of 2 teenagers, and another that will be a teenager soon…….. I can certainly use ANY help and motivation to guide my kids to the Lord more and more every day.

    Thank you for this fantastic giveaway!!!

  13. Kerri Shaw says:

    I would love to read this book and share it with my two teenagers. I pray that whoever wins the free copy will be blessed beyond measure by it.

  14. I would love to read this book. It looks very powerful. Laura’s faith and hope inspires and encourages me.

  15. Laura’s story is inspiring.

  16. What a wonderful surprise for Laura that she was able to meet the soul that she had prayed for by meeting Andrew. I want my life to count for something and to bring others to Christ by His light and peace in me in much the same way that Andrew mentioned that he saw in Zach. That peace that passes all understanding is a powerful sermon in itself.

  17. I would love to read this book. I also am a mom of a teenage son, and I am always looking for a Christ centered inspirational story to share with him.

  18. What an amazing story! Bitter sweet for Laura to find her prayer to be answered. But isn’t like our AMAZING GOD to answer beyond what she asked……to be connected to one soul touched by her sons story! I was not only touched by Zach’s amazing faith but more so by Laura……Her faith to surrender her son and her obedience to God as a mother! This speaks volumes as well! It is evident that the amazing faith of the son stems from the obedience of his mother, Laura. Her obedience to bring up her son in the way of the Lord, to teach, to pray, to love as Jesus did! Thank you Laura for telling your story and Renee for sharing it! I was truly blessed today. I am adding this book to my list- to read!

  19. Ordering this book to read as a family and will then share with other family members and friends. I downloaded the chapter one for free and can’t wait for my book to arrive. Would love to have another copy to pass onto someone else. Thank you for sharing this awesome story and for sharing yet another story of our AMAZING GOD!!! Blessings to all and Merry CHRISTmas.

  20. Kimberly Santo says:

    What a heartbreaking thing to have to deal with and watch in your own child but turned to triumph making the trial so worthwhile. I just pray that my own daughter will use the life God has given her to reach higher for His glory and that He will help me to be a good example and better Mama to her with each passing day.

  21. Karrie Arceneaux says:

    Would love to read this book. Inspiration is much needed right now.

  22. I want to read her story. My name is also Laura, and I have a son that was a drug dealer a few years ago. God brought him out of that dangerous world and this past summer, he accepted Christ. I would share this book with him.

  23. I have watched the interviews several times over the last couple of days. What an incredible story how God connected you and Laura even before the interview. I love how Laura prayed for one soul to be turned to God. I am thankful that one of the souls was you son Andrew.

  24. When I am struggling with something, I tell GOD, “You see what I don’t see and You know what I don’t know”. I have to speak it out loud so I can hear myself saying it. It helps me to relax more, knowing that GOD is in control of the things that am perplexed about.

  25. I am constantly praying that God’s will will be for my daughter. Although she keeps interrupting his plan I know that He will come through and turn her and her life around for good. I do now have peace about all of this and faith in God.

  26. This book is a must read. I will definitely be purchasing it. I have been praying for some health concerns of my daughter and really do feel God hears the prayers, sometimes the answer is not what we think it should be but what he has planned. I know his plans have purpose!
    I would be honored to receive the book.

  27. I am constantly praying to hear God’s will for my life. I know it will happen on HIS time not mine. What a wonderful story. Blessings

  28. She is reaching for hope, just like the world around us today. Everybody needs something to believe in. Now is the time for Christians to be standing up, reaching out, and receiving others with arms wide open. We get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of this life, often forgetting that we are only passing through this world. We need to be sharing the good news of Christ with everyone we meet – no matter how intimidating or awkward it may seem. Others need to be able to see Jesus in and through us.

  29. Hildred Cherry says:

    I have a granddaughter who I would love to have this book. She is searching for understanding about God and the people around her. Young adults need to learn about faith in God to get through obstacles they are going to face day by day. This will be a blessing to have.

  30. This is an exceptional video and so heart touching. I cannot even fathom it. We pray for our kids every day. Whether sick or healthy, they are God’s children. He will take care of them whether it’s how we, imagined or not. I do pray for such a protection on my kiddo’s every day. I pray for this mama who wrote this book. She is such a strong woman of God! I hope to be as strong as her in my daily life! Blessings!

  31. I’m going through a hard time with my mother. She has lung cancer. I am struggling with what to pray for, and it’s hard explaining to my kids why these things happen and how they can “be alright” with the thought of losing their grandmother. I need this book! <3

  32. I started to read the first chapter and had to stop and control myself as I started to weep for Laura and Zach.

    My niece was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year and it has been a tough year for my family, but we believe in an all mighty God who heard our prayers and she is now cancer free! I know this does not bring comfort for those who have lost loved ones to the disease. I do however know that God has a plan for us all and if death may come too soon let it be to glorify the name of our Lord!

  33. Barb Roach says:

    as i sat and listen to the segment i prayed for Laura’s kind of faith, YOUR will be done, whatever it takes for the one more soul (my son)..and then to hear the testimony of Renee’s son, wow! and how i have been encountered by my own son just Saturday night telling me how he feels he has lost his faith. my heart shattered and leaped for joy all at the same time. after years of praying for my son’s salvation. he made a profession of faith at the age of 13 but i never saw any real change, no fruit, no hunger for the things of God i always felt in my spirit that that was all it was, a profession, just head knowledge. now he is 21 and trying to figure things out, questioning things, wondering if it’s all real. he would never talk to me about it always wanting to change the subject, so for him to bring it up was huge. please pray for him as he tries to work it all out with God. pray for me as i try to be the quiet prayer warrior and that i will have wisdom when to speak and when to be silent. thank you ladies so much. i want Brandon to watch this, read this book, i want him to hear Zach’s story, i want him to hear Andrews story too. please pray for Brandon as he struggles and that God will move in his life with such evidence of His Holy Spirit power and that he will be truly born again and burning with a heart for God. <3

  34. Melissa Chambers says:

    One soul! What moved the most is how she gave that one soul to God saying she never expected to meet them but then God rewarded her sacrifice in such a huge way!

  35. Cheryl Harmon says:

    I would like to read this book.

  36. A story and book like this can only come from God. I can’t wait to read the book. God has already used Zach’s life (and death) to bring Andrew back to God, through the prayers of his beautiful-hearted mom. Such a great ‘connection’ that only God can make. Only God knows how many more ‘Andrews’ (and ‘Andreas’ – the female version ;)) this book will touch, and bring back to Him.
    I pray comfort and peace and joy (soon) for Laura and her family as they see the ‘something big’ come out of Zach’s life and death. May they be blessed beyond measure.
    Thanks Renee, bless you.

  37. Carlene Jackson says:

    This sounds like an amazing book for all mothers of all ages of children to read. I plan to give a copy to my cousin, who just lost her daughter to a blood clot only 4 days after giving birth to a healthy baby boy. Now she has lost her daughter and her new grandson will be raised without knowing his sweet mother. To make it worse, she is worried that her daughter was no longer a believer, even though she was raised in the church.

  38. This sounds like an amazing story and I would LOVE to read this book!!!!!!!! I myself have a teenage son and I think this would bless his heart too! Thank you for letting us know about such a wonderful book. God Bless!

  39. Lisa Rettig says:

    We forget so often that prayer is not our shopping list, that to really submit to His will is going to bring us closer to Him, and therefore bring us everything we need.
    So happy for you and your family that this story brought you back together!

  40. I so believe this is a very timely story for all of us. to bring us to a better understanding of” waiting on the lord.”

  41. Hilda Quintanilla says:

    Laura reminded me soooooo much of our family’s battle with dad’s cancer which started almost 5 years ago. Dads been Home with Jesus almost 2 years now.

    My dad was my all and I fought hard as Laura did for the lord to heal him this side of heaven. My prayer always ended with not my will but yours be done, though the pain in my heart and gut was excruciating…much love an olive would feel when it was pressed.

    One early morning, I saw dad upon awakening and I literally ran out the back door, which leads to the back porch. I found a bench and poured my heart and spirit into the hands of God as I sobbed. Many times, I told the lord that as long as I knew He existed, I was not going to stop hoping for, and believing in a healing miracle. That morning, my prayer was radically changed. I told the lord that as bad and as selfishly I wanted dad here on earth, I did not want to see him in the condition he was in. I told him, “you either heal him and keep him here, or you take him now!” I told him I was laying my dad, my hero, my all on the altar, just like he asked Abraham to lay his own son, just like the Father laid His only Son.

    I cleaned up, Dad and I got worship, pray and read God’s Word one last time. Asked if he wanted to continue praying, worshipping and reading, to which he responded, “no, I’d like to rest now.” A few hours later, dad entered into Heaven, and he found healing and that rest he longed for.

    God was soooooo gracious to wait until I was ready to whole heartily let dad go. He asked me for my most treasured possession and in torturous agony, He gave me the strength and courage to fulfill His will.

  42. I know the heartbreak of praying for those you love desperately to come to the Lord. Thanks so much for sharing the first chapter (I’m downloading it now) and for the chance to win. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  43. Francine Long says:

    Laura prayed for Zach’s life/death to change at least one person’s life forever, that prayer was answered in the form of Andrew, redisco ering hos Faith in God. Makes my heart so happy.

  44. So need to hear He is hearing my prayers right now. I know it in my head…………..needs to travel to my heart and stay there. Help me Lord. I know you are. Would love to read the book. Lord You alone know who needs to receive this. You decide and all will be blessed anyway,because WE are ALL Blessed!

  45. Shirley Jones says:

    I wish I could have been as brave as Zach mom when I lost my son. I read the first ch. & cried all the way through it. I downloaded his service. It broke my heart when they let all the blue balloons go in the air.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Love & prayers.

  46. Love how God crossed your paths in such a powerful and used your sons to impact His kingdom!! He does answer prayer…so grateful Andrew was a soul God touched and trust there will be many more!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

  47. How awesome! I love to see God at work in unexpected ways! I’ve seen this sooooo many times throughout my life, and stand in awe every time! I would love to read this book!

  48. Deidra Richards says:

    Wow! Tears in my eyes and a heart that is overwhelmed by people sharing the light of Christ. I am a mom and I work in children’s ministries. I don’t consider myself brave, but I walk in the confidence of Christ. I don’t a degree or higher education but I have a heart that is willing to serve. And it occurred to me a few weeks ago of the impact that I have on these children’s lives. My biggest heart’s desire that they take the foundation of Christ that has been laid before them and they stand strong when life storms rage around them. I want their beacon of Jesus to shine so bright that others will see the way.
    I am not sure what the future holds for my family but I hope that we can be used by God just like Laura and her family. How amazing to such a divine intervention between your families! To have Andrew be the one soul that Laura prayed for. God is so amazing, and proves everyday that He cares for us!

  49. Beautiful.

  50. Gina Marqua says:

    I will definitely check this out. I find that I struggle with prayer, but know how oh so powerful it is. Thanks for sharing this!

  51. Need PRAYERS for grandson Joshua” BLESS you all “

  52. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t wait to read the book! I am not an atheist but I felt like how your son, Andrew, felt in the YouTube video. What is the meaning of life? I experienced a heartbreak that I am stuck and could not get out. I can’t tell if God is hearing my prayer or hearing His voice. I cried watching the Youtube video. I really hope that I can get inspired by reading the book and fall in love with Jesus and finally, know why I’m here. Thanks!

  53. Joanne Kocourek says:

    The prayer is one in which her loved one would find God, hope, faith. I can so fully relate and it is so difficult when , as a human being, we can’t necessarily see how God is working or why He allows some situations to happen. Our family is struggling. WE are dealing with significant life threatening illness (our daughters and myself) as well as a son in prison awaiting trial for a crime he very likely did NOT commit. My prayer has been two fold: that he would find God (return to the beliefs we instilled in him when he was young) and that the truth comes out and the truth will set him free. I haven’t seen our son in almost 2 years! That said, Joshua did turn his life over to God under the ministry of the prison chaplain and is now leading a daily Bible study for his cell block. Continuing to pray the truth will set him free in January. Only God knows. In the days and weeks to come asking God to give me/us.our son peace in the midst of circumstances that o often seem hopeless. We are praying God continu4es to provide for our needs on a daily basis ans that as Christmas approaches we can find HOPE in the midst of sorrow and loss.

  54. Zach and his story continues to inspire each one of us. Laura’s witness shows a mother’s love to the end and beyond, with a faithfulness and resolved faith to shine her light in a darkening world. I can’t help but think about Mary, who gave us the Light and followed him to the end, too, and beyond, at a cost, a sacrifice that still yields eternal rewards. Zach and Laura and family will no doubt touch lives now and beyond. Go Team Sobiech.

  55. Wow! What an amazing story, so life-giving and full of hope. Thank you.

  56. This is such an incredibly beautiful story. I always love the surprises God has for us! The way God has connected Laura, Andrew, Renee and Zach is a great testimony that God is real, hears our prayers and cares about all the details of our lives. He doesn’t want one (soul) lost. Praise God!

  57. Very touching. Can’t wait to read and pass on to my grand daughters.

  58. I love true stories with purpose! This sounds like such a great book. Death is a hard part of life- even when we know it’s not the end. The insight to remember that our ultimate goal is for our family to be in heaven with God is so good and true.

  59. Vicki Anderson says:

    Such a great perspective to intentionally give God authority to move freely in our life yet pouring out our heart’s desire to Him. So hard to do on our own but I appreciate this Mother’s wish for it to count for His kingdom if her hope was not answered. This is when it’s so difficult to let God be God.

  60. Life is a precious gift we take for granted. What a powerful story and a blessing to so many. God bless!

  61. I feel so blessed to have known Zach’s story through SoulPancake and Laura’s words here. He really turned my perspectives on their head and made me rethink what my purpose in life is and should be. So Laura, you can also count me as one of your “souls” whom you and Zach have touched and changed for the better! Life is different for me now, in the best way possible. Thank you for sharing your stories!

  62. Matthew Carless says:

    Thank you soooo much for the encouragement you are to my wife and me. I treasure accounts like this. it’s such a testimony to God’s faithfulness.

  63. This book looks wonderful and so hopeful!

  64. Always love to hear how God uses pain and hopelese situations for His glory. He is so awesome and we can trust Him.

  65. I wanted to read answers before I posted my comment. But I know that when you are intentional with your prayers, God is intentional with His answers. They are always in HIS timing, not ours. Thank you for allowing me to, once again, remember that. My situation was similar, instead of one of my children, it was my mother. She was ill all through her life due to contracting Hepatitis C as child through a blood transfusion. It destroyed her precious earthly body, but NEVER affected her amazing spirit. She and I had a rocky relationship after my teenage years. But was resolved the weekend before she passed. I was 8 months pregnant when she passed away. I always prayed for God to take her from this world peacefully because she didn’t deserve to suffer. I am in tears as I write this, but it feels amazing to her story. Her life had meaning, because I noticed the MANY souls and lives she touched that came to both her visitations and the funeral. She was ok with her sickness, so much that she knew it was her purpose in life. She overcame so much, she overcame breast cancer, and several rounds of study drugs. One allowed her to go into remission of her Hep C. However, she passed due to the damage the disease had caused her liver. She told us that she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, when to our surprise we were told after she passed that it was Stage 4 Liver Cancer that took her. She chose to not have treatments and to take pain medication to ease her because she didn’t want to go through that again. I can honestly say that, I am grateful she didn’t tell us now that I understand the reasons behind it, but I was SO angry for the longest time. I felt cheated and was so mad at God for taking her from me when we had literally just started over. He had a bigger plan than I had ever dreamed of! HE showed us that she lived her life doing what everyone struggled to do with their faith. She trusted Him 100%. She loved as Jesus loved and walked like He walked. Sure she stumbled because she was human, but she made me want to be like her, like Jesus. I saw Him through her and that’s the BEST gift my mother ever gave me! When I watched the videos about Laura and Zach, it made me think about my mother and I knew what she felt in a weird way. I can’t imagine losing one of my children, but it was gut-wrenching when I lost my mother. The process of losing someone and knowing that they are going to die, allows you to understand life and death more than you did before. It allows you to cling to the Father more and appreciate more. I can’t wait to get the book to read it. Laura, my prayer is that God will comfort you through your life here on earth until you meet your sweet son in Heaven, where we both know he’ll be waiting with arms wide open! That’s what keeps me going, knowing that Momma is there waiting for me…….This is my life verse, that carries me through:
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

  66. I sat with Bootie (nickname) at the lake as he told me that earlier that day the oncoligist had told him to put things in order for he had six months to live. Who is Bootie ? My son by love. Long story but in short his Mom and Dad deserted him. His Grandparents were trying hard to raise him but they were ill. So he was going to become part of the system. I told his Grandmother to just let Bootie live with us so at 14 he became unofficially my son and a part of our family. At the time he found out he had stage 4 colon.cancer he had two small children and a wife seven months pregnant. As we both sat there and spoke about dying, will, life insurance, I prayed to give both Bootie and i both the wisdom to keep looking to God for strength and understanding ….and give me the right words to say to Bootie. We definitely focused on looking toward God for the strength and wisdom for this battle with cancer. Today i watched as Bootie was fishing at that same lake with his three kids…..four years after we sat at that lake and discovered the only way to survive the battle and the journey with cancer was to travel the road with our best friend and protector, God. And we thank Him every day. And I thank God also for blessing our family and my life with this wonderful young man who won the battle against all odds and now is a terrific Dad, husband, and “son” . The oncologist might not understand why Bootie is still alive but we do – God and God alone.

  67. I thank you for being in my life. You always have the right things to say to encourage and educate. This book can be for anyone because everyone has someone in their life that need to read it. I would love to win it and the Target gift card. Have a Blessed Christmas. Love you, Sharon

  68. Rhonda Crane says:

    We have a wonderful awesome loving God! Praise God for healing these lives. From one mother to another mother our burdens are the same for wanting our children safe and protected from arm. I cried when I heard how you Renee and Laura’s lives were connected. God does understand our heartaches. May God’s peace be sent to each and every heart that’s hurting and reading this. I believe in the power of prayer, God’s got it covered. May your blessings be many!

    In Loving Christ,
    Mrs. C

  69. She prayed for just ONE soul to be changed…

  70. debarshi das says:

    I guarantee that this book will bring in miracles. This is an awesome giveaway and I would use this to buy thomas and friends and garth brooks. 🙂


  1. […] than the past few. I guess adopting a baby and navigating her special needs, then walking through our son’s spiritual exodus, as well as countless unexpected changes and overwhelming challenges… have taken a big toll […]

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