From sermons to books to conferences, family camps and what have you; to preachers, famous authors, writers and psychologists, many of whom expound and try to drum on parenting skills and on how to be good parents, or how to be the father your children need or how to raise a godly family. In all honest aspiration, nothing can be further from this truth in every man for his family – his wife and children. Most Christian fathers in fact know and try (have been trying) their very best to follow the blueprint set out for them: To make every effort to reflect the character of God in his own life—which means he should have a personal relationship with Him. Then only will he be able to effectively give his children a glimpse of who God is as their Heavenly Father.
How is it so then that many fathers (still) struggle quietly? We know of many who have along the way just resigned to the fact that being a father and leading the household has become quite a heavy-weight burden to bear. To them by just being a father has become a chore, a function, a joy drainer with deep frustrations and challenges. Some brave ones would share their journey of pain on ‘fatherhood’ and on their being overwhelmed with unending demands and expectations put upon them. Then there are those who sort out their fear of further conflicts with their spouse or further antagonisms in the household by comforting themselves, or resigned themselves to the fact, “I tried, but no support from my wife. What can I do? I am always challenged. I just do what I can. I just flow along, and see what comes along. No point pursuing, I just want to keep peace in the family. I don’t want conflicts. I can’t handle it.” Instead of embracing the joy of fatherhood and parenting, they too suffer from broken image of God “being his Abba Father”, and withdraw or have a distant relationship with his own Abba Father. Their experiences and conflicts (undealt with and over a period of time) may have eroded their confidence and trust in God and they see the role and position God has intended for them, “the head of his household” as a tall order for them to fulfil.
May we know and remember that every father, every man has a loving heart, a longing heart, a lamenting heart and…..…A soft heart that can be easily bruised and wounded as well. A heart that desires to be a godly, and to be a good father too! A heart that can cry too!!
A very tall order of demands and expectations put upon a father, more so a Christian father:
- A father must build his family based upon the Word of God
- A father must show that he loves his wife
- A father must be a good example to his children
- A father must give his children the freedom to fail
- A father must keep his promises
- A father must be part of his child’s private life
And the list goes on and on. Instead of adding on to the already heavy load with our own list of demands and expectations on “How to be a perfect husband and father”, let us put our feet and lives into trying to understand the magnitude of the role and position he is in. Have we, as wife and children, done our part in praying, supporting and coming alongside in appreciating and helping our husband and father grow in the Lord? Have we also desired for him to do well in his life and see him come to fruition his heart’s desires (for his family) too? Do we know how to celebrate with him and for him?
As a wife (child), we are also called to build our family upon the Word of God, and we are also to show our love, encouragement and help to our husband (father) and be a testimony for him. We are also to keep our promise (marriage vow) as helpmate and to honour him (children) as the head of the household/family. We are also to welcome and allow him to have his presence in our lives (more so in his old age). Therefore, a godly family (with challenges still) stands together, as one that requires EVERY ONE to take ownership of his family as well.
Let God’s love, justice, mercy, long-suffering, graciousness be upon us, to protect and provide for us in our journey as a family – “One thing I have desired of the LORD,That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORDall the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the LORD,And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalms 27:4)
Our prayer for every father,
- Arise and take up the spiritual headship of the family as ordained by God. Joshua 24:14 “….But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
- Arise and brave every challenging situation and obstacle; that he will be a man after God’s heart and the joy of fatherhood be upon him, as he steps into Prov 22:6 “train up their child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Our prayer as a family,
- God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our God too.
- Christ is the Head of our home and the Lord of our family.
- God is our guard and shield against the scheme and deception of the enemy. No weapons of the enemy formed against us can prosper because the Word of God prospers in our lives, our marriages and our families.
- For husband-wife relationships that are hurting – God, You will heal broken hearts and turn their hearts back to You; towards love and respect (Eph 4:32) and You will guide and impress upon every husband and wife that their marriage and relationship is built upon the firm foundation of Your love, and their marriage vows before You is “Till death do we part.”
- Every marriage is a witness and testimony of Your faithfulness and Your promises for our younger generations to embrace
- Let us never give up loving, caring, being attentive and praying for our parent(s), our elderly parent(s).
- Embrace our parents out of reverence for God and His commandment – To love and honour our parents that our days may be well.
- Seek healing, reconciliation and restoration where there has been deep hurt, pain, un-forgiveness from broken and bitter memories and unresolved issues. Create new memories that come through healing and restoration – the hearts of the children are turned to their parents and the hearts of the parents to their children.
- Let peace abound within the four walls of every home and in every conversation.