(Originally published to Sam’s Caring Bridge site on 5.15.18. To read all previous entries from Sam’s NICU journey, visit his Caring Bridge site: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/samueldwenger)

1 Samuel 1:27: “For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him.”

Liz and I had been trying to get pregnant for about two and a half years. The last 6 months or so had been especially difficult as we were getting treatments and undergoing procedures with a fertility specialist. All of the tests kept coming back that “things were fine,” but patience is a difficult thing to find when your heart longs for something so great.

After finding out that we were pregnant, I learned that Liz had been working on baby names for a few years and kept a list in her phone. When we went through the list we narrowed names down, and after finding out “it” would be “he”, I told her that it was important to me that we chose a biblical name for our son. Liz started to look at some names from the bible, and as we researched we came across Samuel. As the story goes, Hannah was one of Elkanah’s (not a name that made our list) two wives, and she could not have children while his other wife could. She prayed that if the Lord would give her a son then she would give him to the Lord. After being given a son, she says in 1 Samuel 1:27: “For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him.” Liz and I were driving back from church when she read this verse out loud, and we both cried and knew that was the name we would choose for our son.

However, knowing now how Samuel would come into this world, being born under duress at just 29 weeks, we did not know how consummate that name choosing was. As Liz was being admitted to the hospital we both started texting friends and family letting them know that she and the baby needed prayer, and after he was born again asking the same of everyone we knew. Never in our lives have we felt the power of prayer than in the 24 hours surrounding Sam’s birth. I’ve heard people say that God touches us, but feeling his arms of comfort through the scariest moments of my life was the only thing that kept me calm for my wife and attentive to the nurses caring for Samuel. As Samuel continues his stay in the NICU at the hospital, I’ve often cried because of the overwhelming embrace that God has given me through this time.

So as Liz and I thought we had chosen a biblical name for Samuel, I’ve realized that we did not choose his name at all. God created Samuel and had his name chosen before we even knew he would become a part of our family. And God had 1 Samuel 1:27 in mind before we knew Samuel would be here, too. “For this boy I prayed” is true for many friends and family who know us and even many people who do not. Because it was “for this boy I prayed” that safely brought him into this world, kept his mother alive and allowed all of us to feel, see and know God’s beautiful design for our family.

Photo by The Carrs Photography in Dayton Ohio


June 10, 2019



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