My father was a quiet man. He loved music, and jokes, and animals, and peaceful summer nights listening to crickets and sipping tea on the front porch. My father was not a man of lengthy, eloquent prayers. His prayers were often short, and sometimes punctuated with emotional tears. But my father prayed. He led our family in prayer and devotions; he prayed in church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. He spent much time, head bowed, talking silently with his Savior.
I spoke of a mother’s prayers last month, and they are important. But fathers play a different role. My mother’s prayers always seemed to wrap me in a cozy blanket of affection and hope. My father prayers were more like an umbrella– spreading out over our family to seek God’s protection and grace. Even if Dad’s voice wavered in prayer, his vocabulary was bold, filled with a rock-solid faith, and a deep sense of God’s power and wisdom ready to be poured out on our family.
But the most lasting impression I have of my father’s prayers is that of Dad’s reverence for God. I never, EVER, heard my father take the Lord’s name in vain. (Not even when his favorite baseball team was losing– again!) I never heard him express doubt of God’s care, His provision, or His wisdom. He approached the throne of grace with awe and deep gratitude. He never lost his sense of wonder at God’s creation, or his sense of awareness of and need for God’s mercy.
We need men of prayer. I am so grateful for a husband who prays– regularly, fervently, compassionately, and boldly. What would happen in our world if more men prayed daily in the quiet of their homes or places of work? Our society makes fun of men who pray on public platforms, praising themselves as much or more than they praise God. It denigrates prayer as weakness and hypocrisy, but what if more men of faith led their families in daily prayer? What if, with trembling voices, more men sought out wisdom and strength to meet the challenges they face, instead of putting on a brave but false face of independence and self-sufficiency? What if, instead of excusing vulgarity and cursing, more men took the challenge to clean up their language and set better examples.
If you know men of faith– take some time this weekend to let them know how much their good example means. Encourage them to finish the race, to keep going, and to leave the kind of legacy that matters most. And don’t forget to lift them up in prayer!