Monday, August 18, 2008

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Turning His Heart Toward His Children

"And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." Malachi 4:6

God's desire is for a father's heart to be turned toward his children. I wondered what that meant exactly, and as I looked through the Scriptures, I found that fathers are told to instruct (Deut. 6:5; Eph. 6:4), give testimony to the workings of God (Ps. 78:1-8), and to discipline their children (Pr. 13:24, 29:17; Eph. 6:4). While they are doing this, they are to avoid provoking their children and causing discouragement (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).

I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds like a full-time job! Some fathers are in the blessed position of owning their own business and being able to allow their children to work alongside of them. Many more work for others and don't have that freedom. Making it more difficult to do what God requires of them. Often we Moms will step in and take care of these things. While we obviously have a role in the training of our children, we need to be careful that we don't usurp our husband's responsibilities. We need to be in prayer that our husband's heart will be turned toward his children. We need to pray that God would inspire him in how best to fulfill his role when he is home. And then we need to step out of the way and let him.

Perhaps your children are grown. You can still pray for his heart to be turned toward his children. Adult children are still in need of love and support from their parents! If you have grandchildren, Grandpa can be a tremendous blessing in their lives. I am so thankful for the relationship that my children have with their "Pak" (Grandpa to the rest the world. ;-) ). He has so much that he is able to teach them, from hunting and trapping to public relations. I value the time they are able to spend with him.

Even if Dad or Grandpa are not believers they still have important things to impart. While being an unbeliever would make it difficult, if not impossible for him to fulfill some of the responsibilities mentioned, he is still responsible for instructing and disciplining.

One last reminder: don't nag, but pray! Let the Holy Spirit do His work in your beloved's life.

Some verses for meditating on as you pray for your beloved this week:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:5-7

"Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God." Psalm 78:1-8

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24

"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." Proverbs 29:17

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:21

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