I’ve heard many say the best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. I believe that’s true and I like the statement because it benefits me too!
But I also believe the best gift a mama can give her children is to pray for their daddy. I know it’s true because I’ve seen it first hand!
Recently my husband David and I spent a few hours talking on our back porch with some friends we hadn’t seen in over a year. It was like old times. We weren’t even thinking about Father’s Day approaching when the conversation poignantly turned to the topic of dads. Specifically the importance a father’s role plays in the life of each child. We had an eye-opening, transparent discussion on how our own dads helped to shape our initial view of our Heavenly Father. Then the men shared the weightiness of the responsibility of being “The Man” – a godly example to their children.
In those early years when my boys were young, I was the one who felt the weight of those responsibilities. I had a deep desire for my children to grow up knowing the love of their Heavenly Father.
Though David would say prayers with the boys on occasion most of the bedtime bible stories were left up to me. I poured into my miniature men as much and as often as I could.
My husband had always been a good man with a kind heart who loved his children dearly but I yearned for him to play a bigger role in their spiritual development. I didn’t want to carry that responsibility alone.
I was always taking some kind of Bible study and together we were involved in church and community groups but I never saw David initiate opening the Bible. I was growing deeper in my faith but for David I felt there was a disconnect.
On several occasions he was asked to serve in some type of leadership capacity in the church but he would always turn it down. Years later he would tell me he had felt unworthy.
You see David accepted Jesus as his Savior at a young age but was left on his own from there. He knew who his Savior was but he didn’t really know WHO he was. You might say he had religion not relationship.
A friend from church shared with me the prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 she was praying for her husband. She read it aloud to me and the verses sounded melodic. I had heard about praying scripture and believed that God’s Word would not return void ( Isaiah 55:11). Filled with excitement I went home and wrote out the verse and inserted David’s name. It looked like this:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He might strengthen David with power through His Spirit in David’s inner being, so that Christ may dwell in David’s heart through faith. And I pray that David now being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and how long and how deep the love of Christ is, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge , that he (David ) may be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God.
I prayed some form of this prayer almost every day.
Several years came and went and I didn’t see much of a difference. As the boys continued to grow I continued to pray for God to strengthen their daddy through His Spirit that he would come to know the height and depth of His love.
I wondered when God would hear. When He would answer. But God’s timing is perfect. It’s right on time, every time.
A good job opportunity moved us from Tallahassee to Jacksonville in 1995 when the boys were 6 and 9. We had been back in Jacksonville about two years when a friend of David’s asked him to attend Bible Study Fellowship (an in-depth, intense study of scripture). To my surprise he said he would go.
It was hard work. There was a good dose of homework every week but my hubby stuck with it. One morning I woke up at 5:00 am and noticed David wasn’t beside me. I got up and went into the next room where I found him with his Bible open, reading. This was an oddity (we both like our sleep) but I didn’t question it. Every morning after was the same thing, he got up early went into the other room and studied. Luckily I stopped waking up!
He started sharing with me what he was learning from scripture. I noticed something changing in his demeanor. He sported a new peace about him. There was a softening around the edges. Not all at once but slow and steady.
We started attending a start-up church around the corner from us. We were one of a hand-full of families who met every Sunday morning in an elementary school called Chets Creek.
When God’s timing was right, David’s heart was ripe.
My husband is an extrovert who naturally attracts people. We had not been at the church very long before a young woman, Janie, (in charge of programming) asked David to give his testimony. His first thought was why ask me? And he politely declined, going back to his feelings of unworthiness. But change had begun and both God and Janie weren’t going to let this one go.
She asked David several more times and he finally surrendered. Not just to the program director but he surrendered totally to Jesus. He rededicated his life. When he gave his testimony there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
That was a pivotal time in the life of our boys, as they were entering the pre-teen years. In the teen years particularly, boys start pulling away from mama and looking to dad for guidance.
When they were going through the unruly years it was David that gathered them together every night for prayer. He related to them. He read scripture with them. He became “The Man”, (the spiritual leader) I yearned for so many years earlier.
Our boys are now men. Their faith is strong today in part because they saw their daddy step into his.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the gift of prayer changed not one life but four.
It made a difference in their daddy’s life and their daddy made a difference in them.
Prayer is as powerful as the God who stands behind it. And we serve a mighty awesome God!
So when you’re thinking about what to get your husband for Fathers Day, skip the tie and hit your knees. The gift of prayer for him is the best gift you will ever give your children.
If you haven’t been praying for the father of your children won’t you start today? It’s never too late.