“What are you doing Dad?’” said my six year-old daughter as she entered the dining room.
“Praying” I replied as I raised my head and opened my eyes.
Tomorrow, Saturday, is a work day for me so I had today off. It was very cold this morning and the first thing I had to do when I woke up was to drop my car off to get repaired. I had planned to drop it off last night, on the way home from work, but it has been a hectic week and plans had to be changed. A mechanic from the shop gave me a ride back home.
My daughter and wife were up and getting breakfast together when I got back so I sat and ate with them and then took care of a few things. Soon my wife was headed off on an errand and I sat down by myself, with my Bible and a devotional reading. A few minutes into my quiet time with God my daughter came into the room, with her question about my activity, or perhaps, my seeming inactivity.
One thing a day off means is a change in the ordinary Monday through Friday routines. The basic events of weekday mornings for me are run, clean-up and dress for work, pack lunch, read the Bible and pray, eat breakfast, and then head to work.
Most days those activities happen when I am the only one awake. My wife usually gets up for her own quiet time before I leave but our daughter only awakens before I leave for work on rare occasions. Our little one knows we pray because we have regular patterns of praying with her, such as if we are all awake when I go to work, at mealtimes, and as the last part of her bedtime routine. But I can’t recall another time when she has seen me home, by myself, with my Bible open and my hands folded.
I suppose I could have had my ire aroused in some way over her interruption this morning, as I sat in conversation with the Lord God Almighty. But it is this very same Lord God Almighty who nearly four years ago very powerfully called my wife and I to parent this little girl, so I am glad that instead of being riled up He led me to see the opportunity in the interruption.
All parents watch their children grow and wonder at the possibilities that lie before their lives. They wonder what kind of people their children will become as they move though the early stages of life and set off on their own as adults. On our best days we try to give them good directions, to set them on a course to learn the right things and to develop character and integrity.
More than anything else my wife and I desire that our youngest grow into a godly woman, someone who knows God personally and loves God deeply within her soul. We want to nurture within her faith in Jesus as the bedrock of her identity, because we know from our own experiences that storms will come in life and that Christ Jesus provides the only solid place to stand.
Proverbs 22:6 says:
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
and Ephesians 6:4 says:
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
I was glad for the small and unplanned opportunity to teach my daughter just a little about prayer and the need to be grounded in God. We talked about this morning over dinner this evening and our daughter seemed to be pretty oblivious to everything I’ve just written. That’s okay. Raising her is a journey and this morning’s moment was just one step along the way.
I am thankful for the teaching moment of this morning and will try to watch for the next one God will provide. The long-term goal is to cultivate and nurture the faith that God has given her. And every time He is using me to work on her He is also working on me too. And that is one more reason for me to praise God. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.