The following is my newest article for the Buffalo Center Tribune. To God be ALL glory, Amen.
About four to five years ago I started to write poetry. No, these are nothing that are book worthy or something for which to cross the street. They are simply smatterings that come from my heart. Sometimes the rhyming is a little corny and I probably break all the poetry rules (if there is such a thing). But suffice it to say, I write these poems as an intellectual exercise but mostly as a spiritual discipline. Thinking about word choices in order to communicate a message in a powerful and meaningful way is something that leads me into deeper thought and reflection on the given topic. But sometimes I make things way too difficult (in poetry and in life). At times I get frustrated when I cannot come up with the perfect word(s) to rhyme with other word(s) that I have chosen. Sometimes I can spend days or longer working on a poem. Sometimes I walk away from the poem and thus forget about it; allowing the moment to pass. Sometimes I turn this simple joy into work and thus lose the joy. Sometimes I just need to take a page out of my daughter’s book.
One night my wife and I were preparing supper. As we started to put everything on the table, we called to our children to wash their hands and come to the table to eat, but both were preoccupied. Malachi was busy with his Legos and Mayah was downstairs in what we call her art studio. After my wife and I got everything set we called to them again, but still nothing. Frustration arose and we were getting annoyed. My wife and I eventually started dishing up our plates. We were going to eat with or without our children. Eventually Mayah showed up and excitedly asked, “Can I pray tonight? I wrote a prayer poem. Can I pray? Please!” I immediately felt guilty for being annoyed and responded, “Of course you can.” We stopped dishing up our plates in order to pray. This is what my 8-year-old daughter wrote (I share this with her permission):
God, thank you for this food.
I may or may not be in a good mood.
You comfort my family.
You give us clothes to keep us warmily.
You keep us happy when we may not be.
I love you because you love me.
And yes, I know “warmily” is not a word, and she may have broken every poetry rule in the book, but that’s alright, for it came from her tender, loving heart. Sometimes we just need to stop making things so difficult and become like a child. Sometimes we just need to slow down and not take things so seriously. My daughter’s prayer was one of the best prayers I have heard in a very long time; for it spoke to my heart. Thank you, Mayah, for your prayer poem. Thank you for making a “difficult” thing look so easy. Thank you for sharing your heart and the joy within. To God be all glory, praise and honor. Amen.
If you are like me, you want the best for your children/grandchildren. You have dreams for them and pray for them. You try to point them in the right direction and teach them. You want them to avoid the mistakes you made but want them to learn from mistakes that they will make. You want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. Above all, you want them to know peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But we know this is all out of our hands, and thus we pray and entrust them to our Father’s hands.
The following prayer is from a father’s heart entrusting his children to the Father…
Father God, I pray that my children:
- Will learn their ABCs and develop a love for reading.
- Will learn to play a musical instrument and appreciate the arts.
- Will know right from wrong and live morally upright lives.
- Will respect everyone and serve the needs of others.
- Will be humble yet be willing to boldly take a stand when called upon.
- Will be a lifelong learner and a seeker of wisdom.
- Will seek to know and love the heart of a person.
- Will appreciate the simple things and not lose their child-like wonder.
- Will not lose their sense of humor and never be afraid to cry.
- Will know that I will always love them no matter what they do.
- Will know that You will always love them no matter what they do.
- Will learn to forgive and forget.
- Will value in-person relationships over social media relationships.
- Will love, value and respect themselves.
- Will strive to know Jesus and live out loud in his name.
- Will be comfortable in their skin and know they are beautiful in Your eyes.
- Will pray, pray and then pray some more.
- Will seek Your will for their lives and listen to Your voice.
- Will know, crave and desire Your Word.
- Will know that I will always be there for them.
- Will know who they are and whose they are – a sinner redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
- Will know that I will always pray for them.
All that I hope for and all that I wish are nothing but a father’s dream.
But all that they are and all that they will be is in Your hands, Father God.
And so I raise this prayer to You,
And entrust them to Your sovereign care.
I pray this prayer, in the name Jesus, the Lord and Savior I pray they know.
Holy God, it is not long, beautiful, poetic words that impress You or are more effective, but rather prayers that come from the heart of one who trusts You. It is like a child coming up to their mommy or daddy asking for a glass of water and fully expecting to receive it. They trust their parents. May I, Your child, learn to come to You as my holy daddy – opening my heart and humbling myself before You in the name of Jesus – trusting that You will give to me as You see best. May this great privilege of prayer not become routine or rote. May it be an intimate time with You. May I never take it for granted or view it as a to-do list item. May prayer be the very air I breath. And so, with that in mind – my holy daddy – hear and receive my prayer…
~ Give our nation’s leaders wisdom so they won’t act stupid.
~ Give our nation’s leaders a heart of compassion so they won’t be mean.
~ Put out the fires in Australia and protect those who are fighting them.
~ There are a lot of homeless people. Please help them.
~ May church leaders teach and preach the Bible correctly.
~ May people in the church forgive one another and work together.
~ Help me be strong and not afraid to tell Satan to go back to hell.
~ Protect our men and women serving in the military.
~ Those who are sick, please heal them.
~ Those who are hurt, help them feel better.
~ Help me to talk about Jesus with those who don’t know him.
~ Please help the United States and Iran get along.
~ Please help Democrats and Republicans get along.
~ Please help me get along with people I don’t like or who are mean to me.
~ Please help me be a better pastor.
~ Please help me be a better daddy.
~ Please help me be a better husband.
~ Bless each and every member of the congregation I serve.
~ Bless LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ).
~ Thank you for our police, fire fighters, paramedics, first responders and other emergency personnel. Bless them as they protect and take care of us.
~ Bless my children. Continue to help them grow to know you.
~ Bless my wife. Continue to shape her into the godly woman, mother and wife You want her to be.
~ Give me better eyes to see You and give me better ears to hear You.
~ May I never lose my child-like faith.
There is more on my heart, but You already know that. And so here you go.
I know You hear ALL of my prayers.
I know You respond to ALL of my prayers.
I know You never dismiss my prayers as silly or stupid.
Oh God, my heaven daddy, I love You and want to know You better. As You respond to my prayers give me the faith to see that I may draw closer to You and give You the glory. You are awesome!
Well, that is all for now. I’ll talk to you soon 🙂
In Jesus name I pray,
I wrote the following prayer as I sat in my daughter’s room last night. We had just finished stories and prayer time. I tucked her in, kissed her forehead and said, “Good night my sweet“, and sat down to watch over her. She always wants me to stay until after she falls asleep, to which I am happy to oblige. As a sat looking at her I started praying and the following prayer started to take shape. I finished my prayer for my little girl and then prayed this for my little boy.
Parents, this probably goes without saying but I’ll it anyway:
Pray for your children.
Oh bless my child this night.
Give her rest.
Guard her dreams.
May she wake in the morning
With a smile that beams.
Protect my child this night.
Keep her life.
Guard her soul.
May she wake in the morning
Feeling that she is whole.
Thank you, God, for my child.
And praise You.
May she wake in the morning
And see a day that’s new.
Oh bless my child this night and always.
Give her peace.
Give her hope.
Give her Jesus.
Good night my sweet child,
Rest your weary head.
May the Lord bless and keep you.
May the Lord grant you peace.
You are my sweet child and I love you dear, but you are a child of God and He loves you even more.
I cannot always see you but Jesus is always near.
So rest my sweet child and dream good dreams – may they be filled with joy.
And one more thing, as you drift off to your sleepy land,
Your Daddy in heaven has defeated the one who would harm you.
So do not fear the darkness for Jesus is your nightlight.
So good night my sweet child and rest.
You are in good hands.
You have called me to the holy calling of being a daddy.
I am happy.
I am thankful.
I am overwhelmed,
Overwhelmed at what this calling means.
Help me, Father, help me.
Help me be the daddy my kids need me to be.
May they see in me what it means to love You.
May they see in me what it means to obey You.
May they see in me what it means to serve You.
I want to be an example to them of what a godly life looks like; one that honors and glorifies You.
Help me, Father, help me.
Sometimes I feel like I am messing this daddy thing up.
Sometimes I feel like such a failure.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Help me, Father, help me.
Grant me wisdom and strength.
Grant me compassion and boldness.
Grant me mercy and empathy.
Grant me gentleness and tenderness.
I want to be the daddy my kids need me to be.
I want to honor You.
Help me, Father, help me.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there. You are being honored today for showing godly love to others and for living out your calling to reflect God’s glory. The following is a prayer that I have adapted from a Mother’s Day prayer that I came across years ago.
Have a great day, guys, and to God be the glory.
God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless those fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting and/or showing fatherly love to others.
Bless those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce.
Bless those who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone.
Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system.
Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations.
Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of mourning the death of a child.
We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers.
We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in many ways.
We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents.
Strengthen all these men by your love that they may become the loving, caring persons they are called and meant to be; reflecting Your love and glory. Grant this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
It’s hard to believe that my daughter is graduating from kindergarten. It feels like just yesterday that I first held her in my arms. And now I blinked my eyes and here I am — my little girl growing up. I am afraid to blink again because then it will be high school graduation, then college graduation, then her wedding day, etc. I’m not ready for that. Where are the tooth picks to hold my eyes open? I don’t want to blink again.
The following is a poem I wrote in honor of my daughter’s special day…
Here we are, my little one,
This first year is sadly done.
You have grown up oh so fast,
Time has flown by right on past.
I am very proud of you,
You’ve worked so hard, that is true.
Numbers, shapes and letters too,
Reading stories you can do.
What is next, God only knows,
In His love He always shows.
Bright and shining star you are,
God will use you near and far.
Keep it up my little one,
Your first year was lots of fun.
Now it’s First Grade, here we come,
A shining light you’ve become.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.
[Psalms 121:1-2 ESV]
We have family staying with us this weekend and because of that, my 4-year-old son has been displaced from his room and is sleeping in our room. He usually ends up with us in our bed each night but is not accustomed to starting in our room.
Anyway, an hour or so after he went down, my wife hears something upstairs – it’s our son, whimpering at the top of the stairs. She scopes him up and brings him back to our room. After a little while she returns downstairs saying that he wants daddy. I rush up there and he’s crying. I ask him if he’s scared and with a crying whimper he says, “Ye-e-s”. I laid down next to him and held him close. Within minutes he was out. All he needed was to know daddy was near.
“From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.” Isn’t it nice to know that your heavenly Father is always there for you? You are never alone in the darkness. You are never alone in your fears. You are never alone in trials. You are never alone in tribulation. Cry out to Him and know your heavenly Father is there.
From where does your help come?
During the week, I get the pleasure of waking up my children for school.
[I use the word “pleasure” very loosely here.]
Anyway, yesterday at 7 AM, I made my first attempt to wake up my 6-year-old daughter. There is usually protesting when I go in and so most mornings I end up giving her a couple extra minutes, but not yesterday. That morning was different. As I entered my daughter’s room, I noticed she was already in the process of sitting up. Maybe she heard me in the hall, I don’t know. Whatever the case, when I said, “Good morning sweetie.” She immediately reached out her arms and said, “Daddy“. I went over to her and she climbed into my waiting arms, buried her face into my chest and clung to me with everything she had. I reciprocated by wrapping my arms around her and carried her down stairs; enjoying the snuggle time. I could definitely handle that routine every morning. What a great start to the day. But regardless of the reception I get from my little girl in the morning, my love for her won’t waver.
Our heavenly Daddy also desires that routine every morning; waking up and immediately reaching out to Him in prayer saying, “Daddy“, and then falling into His loving arms. For you see, He loves you with an amazing love, even though you may protest and go to your phone first or the coffee pot or the refrigerator or whatever. Or maybe Daddy doesn’t even get a mention until later in the day. Whatever the case, His arms are waiting for you with an unconditional love that doesn’t make sense to this world.
Try it sometime. When you wake up in the morning, raise your arms and say, “Daddy” and then fall into His waiting arms. What a great way to start the day 🙂