I remember a number of things about my dad as I was growing up. He was always there when I had a ballgame, be it baseball, basketball or football. Though he wasn’t really a big fan of basketball. When he was off work with a shoulder injury during my senior year of school, my teammates would see him coming to a game or practice and say, “Your dad is flying in again today!” (He had an airplane splint because of the shoulder surgery). When it came to the University of Michigan, I graduated from there, but he is the one that truly bled maze and blue. I loved hanging out at the fire station with him (he was on the volunteer department in our small town). And of course my love of weather probably stemmed from him. He passed away eight years ago, but I have a lot of good things that I remember about him.
With all of these good memories there is still one I don’t have. My dad, though he said he believed in God, only stepped into a church building once that I know of outside of attending a wedding or funeral. And when I decided to switch from getting my Master’s degree in Meteorology to one in Bible, his words still stick with me. He just said, “I wish you wouldn’t,” and walked away from me. Again these are memories I have, maybe not good ones, but things that did happen. The memory I wish I had, but never happened, is my dad asking me to pray with him. I would have loved to go to my Heavenly Father in prayer with my earthly father. But it never happened.
I think of this when I read Paul’s introduction in the second letter he wrote to Timothy. He commends Timothy for his sincere faith, which is a good thing, but then continues on. The faith that first was in “your grandmother Lois and then your mother Eunice” (2Timothy 1:5). We are told that Timothy’s mother was a believer, but his dad didn’t appear to be (Acts 16:1-2). My mom, much like Timothy’s was a tremendous godly person. Her faith and commitment was known. And like Timothy my father was not committed to God or His ways.
In our society it often seems like the spiritual influence on a child is left up to the mom.
Fathers, it is time for us to step up and be what God calls us to be. Take the time to be at your kid’s activities, root them on, and encourage them; but also pray with them. Take a few minutes out of a very busy life to stop, sit down, and pray with and for your child. Yes, you can pray as a family with all your kids present, but how much more special would it be for each individual child to just sit on the back deck, maybe in their room or on the couch, and just the two of you pray together. Fathers, we need to step up--not taking anything away from the wonderful moms our kids have--but just step up.
I challenge you. I encourage you. I beseech you. Step up, take the time and pray with your child. It will be an impression that they will have for a lifetime.
Still praying with my kids,