The End of a Typical Day
As my daughters prepare for bed at night, one of the last things my family and I do together is pray. It is one of the sweetest moments of my day. One of which, admittedly, I’ve taken for granted more than once. Sometimes, I’m just not mentally there with them. My thoughts seem to linger back to the work from earlier in the days or to the homework waiting for me at my desk.
But, I do love that time together. I love how all four of us (my bride, our two daughters, and I) kneel beside the bed with our individual and collective prayer requests and lay them all at the foot of the throne for our Heavenly Father’s will to be done. This wonderful act of worship is done as a family, together. It’s such a honor for us to pray to Him and it's such a blessing for me to pray with them.
After we have prayed as a family, the girls will go to their respective rooms and get into bed. After a few minutes, usually after my bride and I have prayed together, I will go to each of their rooms, kneel beside their beds and take their hands. This is a time for us to pray, one on one, together. At this time, I pray a variety of things for them. I pray that they get good rest and wake up ready to serve the Lord, for their protection from the evil one (1 Thess 3:3), that they one day be saved (Rom 10:9); I thank the Lord for their life and their spirit, etc. I’m sure there are many things that I don't think about that I could be praying for my daughters. Some of the things I currently pray about are ideas I’ve heard that other fathers pray for their daughters, so I added them to my prayers.
Am I Forgetting Someone?
I realized a few nights ago, that as I’m praying with and for my daughters, I’ve never prayed for something that many, if not all, little girls will eventually grow up and start thinking about--their future husbands. Now, I know that this isn’t something that fathers like to think about. As fathers, what we usually think about involves multiple scenarios about what is going to happen the first time some raggedy snot-nosed boy has the audacity to ring our door bell and the best way to go about hiding the body! But, I digress...
Although we don't like to admit it, we know our little girls are going to grow up. We know they are going to start liking boys. We know the phone calls and texts messages from boys will start coming eventually. We know that she is going to want to start hanging out with her friends more than at the house. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it does go down with some effort. Fathers, they won’t be our little girls forever. (She will eventually grow up and become a woman, but you will always see her as your little girl.)
I think subconsciously, most fathers know this to be true--whether it’s by genuine admission or if it’s forced from our lips. We know our daughters will one day leave our home and start their own family. I think we know this because of the examples we try to set for them.
Their First Example of a Man
As our daughters grow, and they are guided through infant years and into adolescence, we are constantly teaching them so much about what it means to be a person. Many of these lessons are ones which we are unaware we’re teaching. However, there are some things we do on purpose.
- We treat their mother and them well. We purposely want our daughters to see us treat their mothers properly, and be treated properly themselves, so that they will know how they should be treated by their husbands.
- We speak to their mother and them with kindness and respect. They need to know and feel the proper way for a man to speak to and engage a woman.
- We play with their mother and them. Our daughters need to know what proper fun looks like within the context of a healthy relationship.
- We pray for their mother and them. In my home, there are times that my bride doesn’t pray with us before bed because she has already gone to sleep from a long day. So, when my girls and I come together for prayer, they will hear me pray for their mother, or, they will pray for her themselves. They need to see and hear this. There are so many more things that I am sure fathers are doing for their daughter’s edification. All these things are done in effort to show them the example of a healthy relationship. So the question is this--through our example of what a husband should be, are we praying that our daughters would one day be blessed with an even better man than us?
The Right Man for Her Heart
Brothers, we know our baggage. We know our sin--current and past. We know how we were before marriage. We know how we were in the early years of our marriage. Other than God, no one knows how we used to be better than us.
I’m sure our wives have a good idea, but at that age (I was 21 when my bride and I married) how many of us were truly honest and allowed them to see our inner most thoughts and vulnerabilities? So again, we have to ask ourselves--do we want our daughters to have the kind of man that God has turned us from or do we want them to have the kind of man that God is turning us into, for His glory?
As fathers (current or soon to be), we should be on our knees before God daily. We should be chasing after Him in prayer that He would be working on their future husband.
We should be praying that God is preparing him, even now, today, to be the husband that all men are called to be--the leader (1 Cor 11:3), self sacrificing (Eph 5), devoted (Gen 2:24), a provider (1 Tim 5:8), a firm hand (Eph 6:4). This is the kind of man we should be praying the Lord is preparing for treasures we call daughters.
Now, I am not deluded in thinking that there is man out there that will measure up to my expectations. There just isn’t and I’m sure you feel the same. But whose hands are better to place the development of a man to be considered suitable for your daughter, than God’s? He made you (Gen 1:15) and knows everything about you (Matt 10:30), and yet He still adopts you into His family and calls you son (Eph 1:5). I pray and I am prepared to do the same. When the man for whom I’ve been praying all these years finally enters her life, I can only pray, that he will see the treasure that stands before him. And when that same man comes to my doorstep to ask my daughter’s hand in marriage, I can only pray that I’ve prayed fervently enough (Jam 5:17) for God to have prepared him to properly and biblically care for my little girl, forever.
How will you seek the Lord for your little girl today?
John Coakley, Jr. has been married to Danielle for 14 years. They have two daughters (fourteen and ten years old), and they live in Columbia, MD. John has served in the US Army for seventeen years and is currently a lay elder serving First Baptist Church of Brooklyn (Baltimore, MD). He blogs at Christ Focused Living and you can follow him on Twitter.