Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last week I tweeted about the power of a praying father!  We’ve memorialized over the years praying mothers, and rightly so.  There are many powerful Biblical examples of this from Jochebed, Moses’s mother, to Hannah’s deep and earnest prayer to God for a son.  “And she vowed a vow and said, 
"O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
The faith of Timothy was greatly influenced by a praying mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois.

Having said that, however, we should not forget the power wielded by a praying father.  Specifically, I have in mind Job. The Bible testifies to him by saying, “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly.” (Job 1:5) Here was a man whose regular practice was to pray for the welfare of his children in regards to the most important thing in life: their relationship to God!  There are those who feel Job had some issues with his children and was a bit self-righteous and over-protective, but when the Bible says he was “perfect and upright, and one that feared God and shunned evil,” I tend to view him and his actions in a more positive light.  This is not suggesting he was perfect or without flaw, but let’s acknowledge that he was a praying father!

Think about it: he provided for them financially, but he also modeled godliness before them, for Job was a man of integrity who feared God and shunned evil.  His children seemed closely knot and enjoyed holidays together; but Job was concerned they partied too much, and he habitually prayed for them, offering sacrifices on their behalf.  I would suggest that if there’s a more powerful force in the world than a praying dad, I don’t know what it is!  The Bible backs this up big time when it says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 1:5) Do you know why this stirs me so much, especially today?  We live in a culture that in different ways is saying “Who needs dads anyway?”  Hollywood starlets, who are relational disasters, say forget finding and being a loving and faithful spouse, just send me to the sperm bank.  The message makes men optional at best, obsolete at worst.  Not only is this blatantly and ludicrously wrong, but it is robbing a generation of young people the vital influence of a father.

Hence, our annual “Daddy Daughter Dinner” this past Saturday, 10-1-11.  It has definitely developed into a special time for fathers and daughters of all ages.  It has also been a special time of father’s communication with their daughters, telling them why they are so special and unique.  This year, Susanna Unruh kind of turned the tables as she presented a poem in honor of her father, Larry Priest.  With her permission I wanted to use this vehicle to share with you also.

My Daddy didn’t make lots of money and buy us all the nicest things,
But he played games with us like alligator and hide and go seek
Daddy was the alligator, crawling on the floor,
When we were caught we were tickled and always came back for more
He taught us to play baseball, running around in the back yard,
But I think his favorite was beating us at Monopoly or playing alphabet games in the car
He always had a joke to tell, “Do you know why elephants paint their toenails red?” he would ask
“To hide in cherry trees of course!  Have you ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree?
See, it works!”  That one always made me laugh!
He took us on long road trips, to visit family and interesting places along the way
And sometimes we went camping or just on an adventurous excursion for the day
My Daddy isn’t a movie star or an all-star so to speak,
But he was there to cheer for us at every game or meet
He was there to encourage us and to celebrate every success
We know we made him proud and to us that was the best
He made an art of explaining words I didn’t quite understand
He used stories and examples so my mind could think and expand
He recognized my desire to worship, though classical lessons we could not afford
He found a way to surprise me with my very own keyboard
My Daddy isn't a pastor or a preacher on the stage,
But he has been faithful to serve in God’s house and hasn’t stopped in his age
I’m sure he had differences with people and didn’t always agree,
But I didn’t hear him criticize or complain about people in our church family
He just strived to be the priest of his home (no pun intended)
We are the fruit of his righteous high standard, blessed
I saw him seek out God’s Word and diligently pray
In fact, this is my father the morning of my wedding day
My Daddy isn’t perfect, no earthly father is
But he loves my mother, his white prairie flower she is
I know that he prays for me and wants God’s best for my life
I knew that his concerns and curfews were there to protect by design
I trusted his judgment about guys I might like
And chose not to move forward without his blessing assigned
I was once was the baby girl you held in your arms and I cried in your lap
I was the bride on your arm, and you gave my hand
Of course as I was writing I thought of some memories I don’t want to share
But I wanted to be honest and let you know I have them, just like you, they are there
Because my Daddy isn’t perfect, he is an earthly father
But you are a good Daddy, I love you, and I’m proud to be your daughter!
By Susanna Joy Unruh

I think Susanna’s closing words to me are the best way to sum this up.  She wrote, “My dad was extremely surprised and blessed at the Daddy Daughter Dinner, and we have both been overwhelmed by the response from other people.  If God can use our relationship to encourage and inspire other fathers and daughters, then to God be the glory!”  I would say, right on, sister! God, give us more godly men, disciples, husbands and fathers.

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