SUMMARY: As fathers, I think we all aspire to be better dads. And I believe many of also know, that in that moment, when we privately reflect on how we have done as a father I would assume most of us embrace the reality that we definitely have room for improvement. With this in mind, I have decided to address a short list of the things I want to improve as a father. So I have made 5 goals this year as dad. Last time I shared the first which was LISTEN more. Today we are going to be discussing The second of these which is PRAYING more. Today 5 tactics for improving prayer time with your kids.
RESOLUTE STUDY GUIDE: PRAYING MORE
Men, I think we all aspire to be great fathers. In fact, no one listening today aspires to be a failure as father. But as many of us know — this does happen. And I believe many of also know, that in that moment, when we privately reflect on how we have done as a father I would assume most of us embrace the reality that we definitely have room for improvement in the spiritual leadership of our children.
As I mentioned last time, the last few months for me has been a reflective season, since my oldest child is in her senior year. Those fathers who have been here know what I am talking about. This season has me reflecting and evaluating my effectiveness as father. I have talked to numerous dads, who have been through this season, who say that dropping their kids off at college, is one of the hardest and most reflective drives that they have made in their life. While we like to boast that we cannot wait for our children to leave the home, I would say almost every father hopes for a do-over in these moments. Often, I hear, that men drive home with the wheels of their mind spinning about the regret of not effectively spiritually leading their children. I assume this will also be true for me since it is my nature tend to be self-critical.
What this time of reflection has resurrected for me, is the fact that I grew up in a fatherless home. And I would definitely say that not having a good example is a minor set-back in understanding my role as a father and spiritual leader. But the good news is that we all have a Heavenly Father who is the model for all fathers and he has adopted as sons. And it is God who has handed us the truth so that we can build new legacies in places where there was none.
Now all this reflection has really brought me to the conclusion that “yes” I could have done more to lead my children. And with this in mind, I have decided to address a short list of the things I wish I would have done more, in this last year that my daughter is at home. I have in turn, turned these regrets into goals. So I have made 5 goals this year as a father. Last time I shared the first which was LISTEN MORE. Today we are going to be discussing The second of these 5 which is PRAYING MORE. This is definitely something I wish I would done more and something I am trying to proactively and practically change this year.
Before I dive in too deep, I want to make the general observation that everyone wishes they prayed more. Everyone. I believe even longtime spiritual leaders will tell you when asked that if there was one thing that they would change about their spiritual life, I bet nearly everyone would say that they would have prayed more. I believe even prayer giants would say this. So this issue is not really praying more, because we can all do this, but this issue is did we pray enough! And this is where are regrets begin. But let’s keep in mind we are talking about praying more with our kids which is a specific prayer activity.
So here is what I would like to do today. Today I want to look at a few verses out of 1 John 5 and then give you 5 tactics for improving for prayer time with your kids that you can apply immediately – with the outcome of elevating your spiritual leadership of your kids.
So let’s look at 1 John 5:13-15. It reads…
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
I just want to quickly reference a couple of items here by making a few general observations about this text. First, we see that God wants us to ask him and inquire of him anything according to his will.. Jesus encourages this as well in the Sermon on the Mount, to ask, seek and knock. Focusing on the activity of asking God. I think this very relevant to our daily lives as fathers. We simply do not ask enough and God is inviting us into this task. This is simply part of a vibrant relationship with God. Second, that when we ask this should be in line with his will and his truth. This means we have understand his truth and be connected to his will in His Word. Third, we see that God will hear us given the first two propositions are in place. That God is listening and we can have confidence that this is true. But not only the confidence that he hears but confidence in our approach of Him and how we come to Him. Fourth, I think it is important to see that we when do this we are living in a vibrant relationship with God, Jesus and his Spirit. That when we are engaging in this activity we are actually experiencing a faith expansion in our life.
Now I want to see this just for a moment through the lens of fatherhood and the topic of praying more with our children. Gentlemen, I can definitely conclude from this that when we pray more and often with our children that we are modeling a vibrant faith connection that is pivotal in the spiritual growth and leadership of our children. When we actively pray with our children, not just for them, but with them, they are the recipients of an amazing spiritual interaction where they “see” (quote and unquote), the spiritual inputs and outputs of expanding faith in God. We are leading them to an experience with God where we are able to join in with them. And when we deploy healthy prayer patterns then our children get to witness us asking submitting to God, his will, and the rewards of this relationship which imparts an understanding our faith in God and thus fuses the activity of faith to them in a way that they will never forget. So please be convinced of the power of praying with your children.
But let’s dive into a few tactics. I want to make sure and give you some real tangible goals or activities that will make this real for you. Here are five which I have sent for myself.
ONE: SEND A PRAYER TEXT. So many of our kids have phones. I know everyone of mine do. I would suggest a group text or an individual text on a regular basis. Just let your kids know you are praying for them. Perhaps some of my favorite texts are short prayers. Just a few sentences long and focused on them and their concerns. Now they may not always respond, which often happens, but I know they are getting them and reading them.
TWO: ASK FOR THEIR REQUESTS AND FOLLOW-UP WITH THEM. I am also trying this year to more frequently ask my kids for their prayer requests. Now I will say they do often say that there is nothing that they need prayer for, but we all know this is not true. They have tons of things to pray for, all we have to do is listen. Going back to the last podcast on LISTENING MORE, I think praying for their prayer requests is a great listening activity. Just asking them helps you take the conversation deeper than cliché, fact, and opinion and into the things that are deeper on their heart, soul, and mind. I would recommend committing to a list or memory the things that they want prayer about, then praying with them, and then following up later. The follow-up is key. This communicates that you care but also you get to discuss our God did or did not answer that prayer request. These moments can be profound moments and it is in these moments we understand the deeper meaning in 1 John 5.
THREE: HAVE A FAMILY PRAYER TIME. Men we need to be praying with our family. If you have not done this you need to. The first time I was every part of a family prayer time was when I was 25 years old. My wife and I were recently married and her parents wanted to pray for someone who needed prayer in their family and no kidding we all prayed together. Since I grew in home where this did not take place, this was very emotional for me. It was powerful and almost shocking for me as a Christian. Men, you need to pray with your family. You may not do this everyday, but I would break the silence and do this tonight if you have never done this before.
FOUR: HAVE A TIME AND PLACE WHERE YOUR KIDS CAN SEE YOUR PATTERN. Now I am not suggesting this to be showy or inauthentic, but that they witness our real example. One of the things that has been on my mind, as one of my regrets, is the fact that I get up early every morning before my kids which means my praying and reading of the Word have been out of the sight of them all their life. Now they do see me often studying the Word, but my private discipline often happens outside of their line of sight. This is a regret of mine, since I know a few kids witness their father reading and praying, and often this does leave a permanent imprint on the spiritual perception and discipline of their own life. So if you have a devotional pattern that can be witnessed by your children, I would recommend this.
FIVE: CALL AND PRAY. I think we often take for granted the powerful communication tools in our pockets and redeeming their use with the activity of prayer. I find some of the most powerful prayers are prayed right over the phone with my kids. I would recommend calling your kids and praying for them in a focused way right over the phone. If you re both in a place that is not distracting this can be incredible. And this makes for very productive drive time.
So me here is my challenge for you. Men, I want you to pick one activity over the next week and deploy it immediately. I know these simple tactics and goals have helped me to elevate my prayer time and effort with my kids over the last few months and I would love to have you join me. So here are your choices:
- SEND A PRAYER TEXT
- ASK FOR THEIR REQUESTS AND FOLLOW UP WITH THEM
- HAVE A FAMILY PRAYER TIME
- HAVE A TIME AND PLACE TO PRAY
- CALL AND PRAY FOR THEM
Pick one and do it right away, and then repeat it a few times this week.