You Can Be the Answer to Another Dad’s Prayer
As we stood together in the parking deck of the children’s hospital, my arm around his shoulder, tears streaming down our faces, it struck me that we need to be the answer to another dad’s prayer!
Living in a hospital is like living in a time warp. The world around you stops. Time seemingly stops because life in its regularities stops. If you’ve been there with a child, you know. This has been life for our son and daughter-in-law for over a month. As you can imagine, it’s an incredibly challenging and exhausting time for parents. We’ve just been trying our best to love and support them and their older son, who is not yet two years old.
We met several other families there, in this hospital full of children. And I’ve been reminded that everywhere you find yourself is a place to do ministry. Even in these circumstances, God can use you.
Trying to Get Back the Faith
A young man got on the elevator with me as I was leaving one day. I saw his wristband, indicating that he was the parent of a hospitalized child, so I struck up a conversation. He began to share about his daughter, diagnosed with kidney cancer. I shared about our grandson Liam, and wouldn’t you know, he also has a son named Liam.
As we got to the parking deck, I made it a point to turn the conversation in a spiritual direction and asked him about his faith. He replied, “I’m trying to get back to my faith. I’m trying to grow my faith.”
A Faithful Father
He’d grown up in the church in a faithful family. When he grew older with a family of his own, he experienced many struggles – a messy divorce, custody battles, and now a cancer diagnosis for his baby girl. He was battling anger with God. He told me that his father had recently traveled from Texas to Atlanta to visit him, read the Word, pray, and just remind him of who the real enemy is.
We had a great conversation, and I got to share scripture with him and pray over him, his daughter, his family, and his faith. Our eyes were red and bloodshot by the time we opened them, and the first thing he said with tears streaming down his face was, “I’m going to go call my dad and tell him how God reached me today and how I see God working.”
That struck me because we need to be the answer to another dad’s prayer!
What joy for that faithful father to receive a call – a dad who clearly cares about his son, who came from Texas to Atlanta to spend some time with him, to share his faith, to remind him of the goodness of God and the ugliness of Satan and his evil in this world. This dad cares for his son. He wants his son to have a robust faith and to see the Lord work in his life.
I can’t help but imagine that part of his prayer for his son is that God would put people in his path to point him to the Lord. In that moment, I had a humble opportunity to be an answer to what I suspect is another dad’s prayer.
I know this partly because we have prayed prayers like that for our kids, just like you have. I have prayed that our kids would encounter someone who would walk with them in their faith. Someone who would sharpen them and walk with them in accountability. Someone who would mentor and disciple them. Someone who would point them to the Lord. Someone to meet them in hard times.
I could name many people who have invested in our children’s faith and been an answer to our prayers for our children. It’s roommates, small group buddies, Navigators leaders, army chaplains, MOC-6 guys, Valor guys, men who opened their door to them and discipled them, Cru friends, church friends, pastors, student Pastors, and missions pastors.
These people have been answers to our prayers for our children, so it reminds me that we need to look for opportunities not just to pray for our own kids but to be the answer to a prayer that another parent somewhere else is praying for their kids.
Be willing to engage in a conversation with a young man.
Be willing to sit down and have a cup of coffee.
Be willing to share your story.
Be willing to cheer for him.
Be willing to pray for him.
Be willing to open up God’s Word for him.
The “I, Me, My” Psalm
I shared some encouragement with this young man that I received from Pastor Gordon Fields at The Noble Man Tailgate in Charlottesville, VA. He refers to the 23rd Psalm as “the I, me, my passage.”
As I spoke this Psalm over this young man, I inserted his name in it, NOT to make the passage about him, but to remind him that it is about a very personal Savior.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
For you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We’ve always prayed that our kids would be arrows in the hands of our Heavenly Father and make a Kingdom impact wherever they may go. Now we are discovering this also comes with many tough situations that prune and grow them as we continue learning to let go. It seems our prayers for our kids are being answered and fulfilled in hard but good ways.
As we live in community as believers in the body of Christ, we can be the willing vessel God uses to help another man strengthen his faith. Who knows what bit of wisdom and encouragement you might share with another guy that will actually be an answer to his parents’ prayers?
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