I had the privilege, as a child, to pray with my dad (on our knees) beside my parent’s bed many times. That’s where he taught me the Lord’s Prayer. Many evenings, I would go knock on his bedroom door and ask to pray with him. I’m not sure why I did this as child. But it is something that I now cherish.
One time, I went to knock on his door for this very reason and decided not to knock. I’ll never forget it. I could hear my dad praying in his bedroom. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing as I reached up to knock and changed my mind. He was moaning and crying out to God in a way I’d never heard before. So, instead of knocking, I listened.
It was as if the floodgates were opened and he was pouring himself out before God. I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying but I perceived his heart was very heavy and he was deeply grieved with something in life.
As a child, I couldn’t begin to understand what on earth could be grieving him so much. He was married with a good paying job (for our community) and was also a part time pastor. He had eight living children at that time and to me, life was just fine. I couldn’t imagine what he was struggling with.
Now, as a middle aged person, I understand some of the things that he may have been dealing with that burdened his soul so heavily.
All of the things listed above!
He was the sole provider of a large family. He was a part time pastor. He worked all the time! He had to be exhausted.
There are other issues that can crop up in mid-life that may have been causing him problems as well. Many marriages are strained at this stage. I’m sure that feeding our large family was not cheap either :) Just being a parent of teenagers might have caused him to pray in this way. The reason for it, I’ll never know because I never asked. I only listened.
My dad…on his knees before God…pouring out his burdens is something I am so thankful that I was able to witness as a child. It was life changing for my little ears to hear someone pray in such a way. I understood that prayer wasn’t just kneeling beside the bed and reciting a prayer from memory.
It taught me to respect prayer. It taught me to reverence God. It taught me my place in the big scheme of things in life.
On my knees was where I could lay down anything before God. It was where I asked for forgiveness. It was where I asked for help. It was where I pleaded for mercy and for more grace. It was where I said thank you. It was where I found peace.
Of all the things my dad gave me in life, I’m so thankful for this - a silent witness, outside of a locked bedroom door, listening to a great example of prayer.