How God answered Francis Chan’s ‘ridiculous’ prayer for a son-in-law


By Mark Ellis —

Francis Chan
Francis Chan

Many Christian parents have prayed for their children to meet and marry another Christian – preferably a faith-filled, sold-out follower of Jesus.

But when noted author and preacher Francis Chan was impressed by a young man involved with his ministry, he lifted up a bold, audacious matchmaking prayer and God answered in a way that confounded Francis himself.

“Earlier this year in February I prayed and I asked God for something that was just ridiculous,” Francis Chan told a group at the Finishing the Task conference held at Saddleback Church on December 8th.

Francis had begun to notice a young man involved with his ministries named Justin Clark and became impressed by the insights gained in the younger man’s devotional life. “I would come home and say, ‘Honey, this guy, the way he talks about the Word and the way he talks about his prayer life, I’ve never met anyone like him.’”

“You have a little crush going here,” his wife Lisa said, lightheartedly.

“I do, I love this guy,” he replied.

A short time later during his quiet time with the Lord, Francis took his interest in Justin to another level. “Lord,” he prayed, “you answer everything and you’re so good to me and I’m just going to ask, can you make him my son-in-law?

“He doesn’t even know my daughter, but make him fall in love with my daughter and make my daughter fall in love with him.”

After he lifted up the prayer in February, weeks and months went by, nothing happened, and Francis began to forget about the prayer.

Five months later, Francis woke up and said to the Lord, “God, I’m so used to you answering things and I feel distant from you. I’ve never prayed this before but I’m sorry, I feel insecure this morning.

“I feel like a neglected housewife,” he continued. “I know you love me and I know it’s not about feelings but I’m just going to ask, can you show me some love this morning?”

An hour later Justin approached him and said, “Can I ask your daughter out?”

“What??? Yes, yes…do you have enough money? Please, please, please…”

Justin proposing to Rachel
Justin proposing to Rachel

Justin and Rachel began dating in July and several months later, he proposed to her on a bluff overlooking the ocean in San Francisco. “He took me on a small hike and told me that he loved me for the very first time,” Rachel noted on the couple’s wedding blog.

As they continued walking, she noticed rose petals on the forest floor, but she wasn’t sure if they were for someone else. “We kept following the petals and Justin led me to believe they were someone else’s, but eventually I heard music and realized it was one of my favorite songs.”

The trail opened up to a clearing on the bluff, with a spectacular view of the ocean as a backdrop. Justin got down on one knee and asked Rachel to marry him.

She said, “Duh…yes!”

Then Francis and the rest of their family emerged from hiding places to surprise her.

Nearby, Justin had placed a few of Rachel’s favorite things, including Chinese food, and a live dwarf rabbit he rented. “Needless to say, he put a ring on it!” Rachel exclaimed.

Rachel and Justin’s wedding took place December 3rd in Redwood City, California.

Francis hugging Rachel
Francis hugging Rachel (Photo: Rachel Blackwell Photography)

“When I walked my daughter up the aisle I was bawling,” Francis recounted. “I haven’t cried that much in years.”

“When we got to the altar I was ready to hand her off and we hugged up there, just holding each other for probably a minute. It was so uncomfortable and everybody was thinking, Is he going to let go or is she going to let go?”

As they held each other, Francis thought, God you’re so great. I remember how she rebelled against you and now you brought her back. I remember her as a kid jumping in my lap.

I remember all of this and now I get to pick who she marries and you answer like that?

Walking up the aisle (Photo: Rachel Blackwell Photography)

The last few months have been a sweet season with God, Francis said. “Sometimes I don’t get it. I feel overwhelmed. I feel like an only child and think there’s no way you (God) listen to everyone like this…”

“I love you I love you I love you. I adore you I adore you,” Francis gushed, his heart overflowing with gratitude for the remarkable way God answered his ‘ridiculous’ prayer.




  1. I love this story! God’s faithfulness in hearing our specific prayers. Francis Chan is one of my favorite authors. Praying he writes another book!

  2. At 3:15 a.m. on 12/29/16, I am here crying as I read this story. I’ve prayed a few “ridiculous” prayers myself and this tells me nothing is too outrageous for God to do. He truly has an amazing way of answering when we are patient. God bless you Pastor Chan. Best wishes to Rachel and Justin. I am encouraged!

  3. As I read this letter I couldn’t help but covet Frances desire for a son in-law just a little bit. I’ve known Justin since he became a believer and I must say I was very impressed with him from the very beginning. After many years of getting to know him I took a special interest in him and he would come to our home for dinner, desert or swimming and we would have long talks regarding our mutual faith in Christ, matters of the soul and just circumstances of life speaking the truth in love one to another, both of us having a strong desire for ministry.

    We had a lot in common even though there was such a big gap in our ages. Eventually my wife and I desired that our daughter would meet a young man such as Justin and we even thought towards the end before he left for San Francisco and hoped he would take an interest in our daughter.

    He had all the qualities that my wife and I hoped for in a husband for our daughter. He loved the Lord, his desire for his own sanctification was impeccable, he was kind, gentile, and thoughtful. He had a strong desire to serve God and others not to mention he is very handy to have around. LOL

    My wife and are so proud of Justin he is like our own son and we miss him tremendously. Drawing from Psalm 23 as the Psalmist expressed this fact to his readers that the Lord is our Pastor and we shall lack nothing speaks to me tremendously knowing Justin next to his love for the Lord had a need to share His life serving a wife.

    Therefore because the Lord is his Pastor he shall not lack.

    Blessing on Justin and Rachel today for their marriage and future together as one.

  4. Yes our Lord is able to give us the desires of our heart. Im happy with you that the Lord heard youd prayer. Im also praying for a godly son in law and have a young man in church who will make my heart rejoice if he becomes my son. I believe the Lorđ will also surprise me soon ??

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