The Spirituality of Fatherhood: Prayer

Look for “The Spirituality of Fatherhood” every Wednesday.

When I enter the hospital one cold January morning after a frantic drive up a North Dallas freeway, I found my dad unresponsive due to complications from surgery. As my family and I stood around his bed, my father opened his eyes briefly and said, “All is going to be fine.” Little did I know he meant he was about to meet his Heavenly Father. A moment later, I had lost my anchor. Daddy was one of the most humble and compassionate men I have ever known. I often reflect on him as being one of the closest examples of Jesus in my life.

I often reflect on his life and the importance of being a man of God. He knew his role as a father and took it very seriously. Daddy was always home for dinner after work so we could eat together as a family. This was a time to talk about our day’s events, whether it be about school work, sports, or my interest in drawing and art. He participated in all aspects of my life, from coaching my little league games to attending my middle school basketball, track, and football games. He also worked with the youth at our church. He knew the importance of being present in my life and it was one of the greatest gifts he could have ever given me.

He taught me so many wonderful lessons. I am reminded of the passage in Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give to you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children, Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Not four months after my father’s passing, I was off to Ukraine to become a father myself. How was I to do this “father thing” without him here to guide me? I wanted him to be a part of this journey but could only rely on the words and lessons he had given me in the past. I often wonder how successful I am as a father. My life was not the same as his. I haven’t always been able to participate in everything with my kids by attending their school events or special occasions. Just over a year after adopting my two sons, I was facing a divorce. After I came out as gay, my sons were taken across the country. What was this newfound single gay dad to do?

I found it hard to be at all their functions since the miles separated us, but I promised myself, my family, and God that I would be the best father I could be. I travelled cross-country every other week for years. I wasn’t about to lose time with my sons. It was a hard journey for us all. I remember our weekends sitting in a hotel room and reading a book at bedtime, playing in the hotel pool or taking an afternoon stroll through the park, trying to emulate what a normal weekend would be like if we weren’t separated by such a vast distance. How do you convey a sense of home when all you have to work with is a small hotel room? Making these times special was important to me. It wasn’t about doing something grand that they would remember but about creating a sense of normalcy. Making homemade dinners in the hotel room, popping popcorn and making hot chocolate while watching a movie together. These “special moments” are what I remember, and I hope that my sons do as well. It was a time to listen to their stories and what they were involved with.

One of the most important aspects of my role as a father is the power of prayer. Not being able to be with my kids daily forced me to relinquish control early in their childhood to God and to focus on prayer.

More and more I relate to King David in 1 Chronicles 29:19, praying for his son: “Grant to my son Solomon that with single mind he may keep your commandments, your decrees, and your statutes, performing all of them, and that he may build the temple for which I have made provision.”

As my father did for me, I continually pray for my children. I pray for wisdom, discernment and for them to follow what God lays upon their hearts. It hasn’t been easy to let go at such an early age but praying for my sons has never been difficult. There have been times I have questioned my faith and the purpose of prayer. So many times, it seems those prayers haven’t been answered. But today, I can tell you that being faithful in prayer will result in triumphs. Triumphs not in success or answered prayer but something so much more. It has given me peace and hope beyond measure and I have come to understand the lessons of my own father. Prayer allows me, as a Father, to connect to something much larger than myself. It has given me the freedom to know that I am not in control but that I am held in the palm of His compassionate and loving hand. I am reaching that place where I am learning to be more compassionate in all situations relying on God to guide me through the next step.

Todd Moody is Sales Manager at Culp Associates, a multi-line design showroom in the Dallas Design Center. He is a member of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth and works with children on a regular basis. He and his partner are very proud fathers to three children, Joshua, Jacob, and Evelyn. They love to spend time together traveling and exploring new persons, cultures, and foods.

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Comments

  1. Jean Humphreys says

    Todd, you area amazing. And even more amazingly humble so that I didn’t know you have this blog. I am honored to know you.

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