We are experiencing generations that have been deeply affected by fatherlessness and carry woundedness stemming from poor father relationships. These wounds affect how we see ourselves, our lives and even our relationship with God, who wants us to know Him as Father.
The Scriptures speak of restoring the father relationship in the land. Malachi prophesied about the hearts of the fathers being restored to the hearts of the sons. This is so key for there to be true healing in the land. As a matter of fact, much of the destruction that is in the land often stems back to the lack of fathers and the lack of healthy fathering that people have experienced or not experienced.
For the fathers out there who seek to make a change, you need to know that all of ministry begins in the home. The restoration begins in our own households. This can often be the most challenging thing for a man, especially because it has not been modeled for us. It can be a lot easier to invest solely at work and put our energy there, because being an effective dad is a foreign concept.
To all dads who want to grow, here are some imperative things that only you can bring to your household. If you will notice, having a job and providing are not on this list. That is assumed. Many men leave it at that. Even the unbelievers do that. We must recognize our high calling as men to make a significant impact into the homes God has given us.
1. Watch Over Your Own Heart
You cannot bring a healthy you to the home if you have not spent time letting God father you and show you the path of life. In our daily stresses, men have been trained to unwind before television and hobbies, but have little experience in knowing how to refuel with God in solitude. You must realize that developing a healthy time of solitude with God will be a gift that you bestow to your family.
Action Step: Have a daily, non-negotiable time set aside with God.
2. Be Present and Engaged in Your Home
Parents can get so bogged down with the chores of the house that we can forget the relational investments of the home. As a dad, your presence is so key. Just being relationally present is incredibly powerful. Too many times, dads become overwhelmed with having to perform as a dad, when in reality, your kids are not impressed by you being a “super-dad,” whatever that means. They just want you.
The activities you do with your children are not the most important. It is your presence that is the most important. This means shutting of the computer, putting the cell phone down and just enjoying who your children are. Being present means you have eyes on them and what their needs are. You begin to study them, seeing what makes them tick. What makes them sad? What moves them? What are they passionate about? What is God saying to you about your children? What potential do you sense over their life?
Engaging your home and being present makes you an effective watchman over the house. Every man has been called to be a spiritual leader in his home, watching over how each member is doing and finding ways to serve their health and healing.
Action Step: Be mindful to be more present when you come home from work.
3. Speak Important Words Your Home Needs to Hear.
I remember sitting down with a dad who was struggling to connect with a rebellious daughter. A thought from the Holy Spirit rose up in me as I said to him, “You have the most powerful voice in your daughter’s life. Don’t let any one, including the enemy, steal that from you.” Satan has been stealing the voice of the fathers for centuries, because he knows that empowering words spoken from a father to a child will breed seeds of spiritual greatness in them. He also knows if a man remains silent or speaks from his own brokeness, that will pierce his child and remain for a lifetime.
We have all been deeply affected by what our fathers said or did not say. You can make the change by speaking these powerful things to your children every day:
- “I love you.”
- “I am so proud of you.”
- “I am so glad you are my child.”
- “I love being your dad.”
- “I believe in you. You can do it.”
- “I see amazing potential in you.”
- “You have what it takes.”
- “You are a beautiful girl.”
- “You are a handsome boy.”
Action Step: Make time every day to speak empowering words to your family.
4. Initiate Authentic Spiritual Growth by Example
We have all experienced parents who told us a way to live, but did not live it themselves. Instead of putting an emphasis on all the rules you want your children to live by, why not just live them out in your example? Instead of telling your children to be obedient, live as a obedient son before Father God that they can see? Then teach from what you live. Instead of telling your kids to pray, let them catch you praying. Let them catch you reading the word. Allow your children to see that you are getting healing in your own life. You are not above the standard of the Scriptures. Be willing to repent for where you blow it and manifest ways of sin in the house.
Action Step: In what way can you model spiritual growth in your home?
5. Love Your Wife and Fight for Her
This one should actually be at the top of the list. A classic mistake that parents make is putting the highest priority on the children, while the life of the marriage takes a back seat. This is actually ungodly order. The marriage comes first in all things. Your children will receive the blessing of a healthy marriage that is cultivated more than anything else. Too many marriages are allowed to become roommate scenarios, where couples simply tolerate one another for the sake of the kids. Yet the children will spiritually take in the unhealthy relationship of dad and mom. Just because they do not hear the arguments or see the nasty interactions, does not mean they are not receiving the reprocusions of that in the home.
Husbands, it is our top priority in the home to cultivate a healthy relationship with our wives. We must fight for her. The fight for our wives did not end when we asked for her hand in marriage. Every day of our life, we must make it a priority to fight for her health, her sanity, her peace and to love her in all things.
Action Step: In what way do you need to fight for your wife more? In what way do you need to stand in for your family spiritually?
6. Initiate Spiritual Experiences
When it comes to the spiritual health of your home, it is not the job of your church to feed their spiritual growth. They ought to be an overflow for what is already happening in the house. This means that we as men must lead the way in praying with our children and praying over our children. You must be the one to spiritually battle over the wars that go on over those in your home. You must take your stance in prayer and intercession, contending for the health and well being of the house. We must allow God to teach us how to create spiritual experiences in our homes where our children can carry God with them as they grow up and out.
Here are some things that you can do to initiate spiritual experiences for your children:
- Create special occasions and celebrations during transition times in your child’s life. (Examples: becoming a teenager, becoming a man, getting a driver’s license, turning 18, graduating, etc.)
- Take your child to meet authorities in certain things. (Examples: established business people, strong ministry leaders, community leaders, authors, etc.) Let them come and ask questions.
- Take your child to conferences with you and engage the experience together.
- Find the passion of your child and find resources you can experience together that they will be excited about.
Question: What action steps can you take today to see a change occur in your home?