The great doers of history have always been men of faith. ~ Edwin Hubbel Chapin

I once heard of a man who went into his daughter’s room and prayed over her every night after she fell asleep. She grew up and left for college. The following Christmas she came home for a visit.

Talking to her mother one afternoon, she said, "Daddy still prays for me every night even though I’m away at college, doesn’t he?"

"How in the world did you know that?" her mother replied.

The daughter replied with confidence, "I can still see his knee marks in the carpet next to my old bed."

Were you blessed to have had a father who prayed faithfully for you when you were growing up? Only a small percentage of men I ask answer yes. How do you think your life might have been different if you had had a father who did that?

Try this experiment: go into your kids’ room at night, kneel down, lay hands on their heads or backs, and petition God’s blessings upon them. You’ll find it a powerful moment. Your kids will stay very still under the blankets because, big or small, they recognize the significance of that act.

A pastor also once told me to pray not only for my own children’s purity but for their future spouses’ purity as well. And he said to pray for their future spouses’ parents, that they would have wisdom to raise their children within God’s laws. I’ve never forgotten that advice.

When your children know you are praying for them, for their sexual purity, and for the purity of their future spouse, this knowledge gives them a guidepost to hang on to. It also provides a form of accountability more powerful than bare parental authority.

The purpose of drawing close to God is not only to discern our destiny but also to lead our family and those closest to us to salvation. Part of our role as leaders of our families is to be spiritual mentors for our wives and children. It’s the responsibility I felt least adequate to fulfill when I accepted Christ into my life. But God is more interested in what you can become than in what you are now. Interestingly, I found that my wife and children willingly followed my lead into spiritual growth—no matter how pathetic my efforts as a teacher and guide.

Shortly after becoming a Christian, I was blessed to join Good Shepherd Community Church in Gresham, Oregon. Stu Weber is the senior pastor of this church. Stu wrote such manly books as Tender Warrior and Four Pillars of a Man’s Heart, and he was a big influence in my growth as a man and a father. I used to remark to my wife that listening to one of Stu’s sermons was like eating a big, steaming-hot bowl of stew on a cold and rainy afternoon—it always left me full, contented, invigorated, and satisfied.

Our odyssey to Good Shepherd was probably not unusual. We had visited many churches over the previous ten years. Even though I wasn’t a believer during that time, I thought it was good for my children to be exposed to Christian values. At several churches, we stayed for a year or so. In most of those cases, we suspect that no one knew we were attending, as they never approached us. Certainly no one seemed to notice when we left.

One weekend while my wife and I were away on a business trip, a young woman named Amy baby-sat our children, taking them to attend a Good Shepherd service. When we got back, the kids clamored for us to "check out this awesome church." After a month or so, we decided to visit Good Shepherd.