A Dad Who Prays

June 17, 2021

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective…” James 5:16

Fatherhood is not for wimps.  

The complex challenges of fathering three young souls are relentless and at times, overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong. Love, joy, and laughter abound in the “Dad-life” too. These past sixteen years have been a beautiful mix of difficulty and delight. 

But make no mistake about it. Being a dad frequently exposes my inadequacy, shortcomings, and sinfulness.

When I’m engulfed by the exhausting demands of fatherhood and have fallen woefully short for the umpteenth time, I can either run towards my Heavenly Father or away from Him.

I HAVE TO CHOOSE HOW TO RESPOND: 

I can cling to the illusion of self-sufficiency, pretending that I can handle things on my own.   

I can fall to my knees in prayer, crying out for His supernatural strength.

You see, prayer demonstrates dependency. Prayerlessness is an indication of pridefulness. A lack of prayer signals that I’m full of myself and have no need for God’s grace, guidance, or wisdom. 

To say that James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a man of prayer is an understatement. James spent so much time on his knees praying for the Church that he became nicknamed, “Ol’ Camel-knees.” You probably haven’t seen the knees of camels recently, but they are extremely calloused. Camels have to kneel down to allow a rider to climb on board, so over the course of a lifetime, their knees take quite a beating.  

It sounds like James was a prayer-warrior who fought his battles on his calloused, camel-like, knees.

What do your knees look like?  

Kneeling is an outward posture that displays an inward attitude of reverence, humility, and surrender. And fatherhood, if I’m paying attention, provides ample opportunities for me to hit my knees.  

James assures us that dropping to our knees in prayer is not an exercise in futility. Prayer is “powerful” and “effective.” One translation says, “our prayers are a force to be reckoned with.” 

My prayers rarely seem like a powerful force. My thoughts often bounce around like a pinball and sometimes, it even feels like my prayers reach no higher than the ceiling.  

Nevertheless, I press on. As a father, regular prayer, even my feeble attempt at it, expresses my reliance on The Father

You might think to yourself:  But I am definitely not a righteous man. How can I pray?

That is 100% correct. In and of ourselves, none of us will ever be righteous before a holy God. We are made righteous only by placing our faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).  

So, when we pray, we’re not praying in our name and strength, but in the mighty name of Jesus. 

Let me suggest a simple, yet powerful prayer that any Dad can pray from the trenches of fatherhood: 

Lord, Jesus. Help. I need You.”

Before this day is through, why not fall to your knees and give it a try?

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH

Live it out

Find a quiet location- (a room, your car, outside, etc.) to regularly pray to the Lord.
READ James 5:13-17. In what ways are you encouraged by verse 17?