Why Every Father Should Be Scared To Pray

Dear Lewis,

This world is a dangerous place. Every second people are being killed in wars, uprisings, riots, and over stupid things – like energy drinks.

Before you were born your mom and I asked the question: “Do we really want to bring a child into this world?” I’m sure my parents had the same fears, and their parents before them.

Now comes the hard part. Now comes the part where I tell you why, in spite of the state of the world, we decided to have kids:

We believe you can change the world.

I’m not patronizing you, Lewis. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky platitude. This is the most terrifying confession of my life.

This is why I’m scared to pray.

Listen to me, Lewis. Don’t gloss over what I’m about to say, writing it off as some trite Christian sentiment.

The point of your life is to know God and to make him known.

Jesus said it like this: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

These two commandments cannot be separated. When you truly love God you will wholeheartedly love others. If you don’t love your neighbor, your countrymen, your fellow citizens of the world, then you don’t truly love God.

We’re supposed to ‘go into all the world,’ to be ‘in the world,’ to ‘love our neighbor.’ Withdrawing from the world around you prevents you from doing these things: from obeying Jesus.

But, what if you actually grow up to believe this is how you should live your life? What if you grow up to believe the only hope for this world is Jesus? What if you grow up to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your fellow man more than you love yourself?

I’m afraid to pray because I’m afraid you’ll grow up to have real, world-changing faith in Jesus!

I’m afraid God might have taken me seriously when I dedicated your life – and mine – to seeing His kingdom come.

I’m afraid God, who has chosen to use people to affect change in the world, will choose you.

I’m afraid you will grow up to be bold and courageous, and intolerant of senseless violence, famine, poverty, diseases there are cures for, and all that is wrong with the world.

I’m afraid you will believe Jesus when he says, ‘I am with you always.’

I’m afraid you will live your life holding on to that truth, and that you’ll use it to show the world his love.

Lewis, I take God very, very, very seriously. That’s why, as your father, I’m scared to pray that He will use you to do great things.

What if God calls you to liberate persecuted peoples in war-torn regions? What if He calls you to take the Gospel into countries hostile to Christians? What if God uses my son’s death to set people free, just like He did with the death of His own son?

Being a follower of Christ and living out the Gospel isn’t safe. Anyone who thinks serving God is for weak, disengaged people, whose only concern is an afterlife doesn’t understand the great commission. Any Christian parent who isn’t terrified when they pray for God to use their child to change the world doesn’t understand it either.

But, someday, I must let go of you. I must release you to whatever God calls you to. I must trust God to take care of you.

How will I be able to do it?

If I do, it will only be because the same God who tells you to love your neighbor and to go into all the world ‘has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of sound mind’ (2 Timothy 1:7). Because ‘greater is he who is in you than he that is in the world.’ (1 John 4:4). And because ‘I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.’ (2 Timothy 2:12).

Lewis, I love you. I am for you.

I pray that whatever God calls you to, no matter how dangerous, I will have faith enough to trust him. More than that, I pray I would have faith enough to stand with you. I pray I would be the Sam to your Frodo as you charge into the heart of darkness.

I love you, my son. God loves you more.

– Dad

photo credit: andrewrennie via photopin cc

Do you trust God enough to pray that your kids will grow up to truly know God and to make him known? Do you trust him enough to pray this for yourself?

Are your kids already living a Christ-centered, dangerous, exciting life? How has God taught you to trust Him with the lives of your kids? Please, tell me!

Share your story and encourage others by leaving a comment below, or by joining the conversation on Facebook.


  1. tanya   •  

    Does joining the Marines count?

    You pray over your child and encourage them to “be anything you want to be,” but secretly say, “just not ____.”.

    Letting go is tough. I’m glad I have nearly a year of preparation time before he goes to defend our country.

    • Paulie Godbout Paulie Godbout   •     Author

      Absolutely, Tanya. Defending, protecting and putting your life on the line for others, countless others – it doesn’t get much more Christ-like than that!

  2. Michael Prince   •  

    Oh man oh man. I remember sitting with my son while he was sick with whooping cough and thanking God that it wasn’t something more serious that could take him from me. I then felt a whisper that said “What if I did?” That feeling is one I never want to experience again but the reality is that our sovereign God is going to take our children some way or another and most likely before we are ready. Whether they go off to some country to spread the good news or join the peace corps to preach justice or whatever. Maybe just marrying off my daughter to some fool who thinks he can love her like I do. (Liar) It’s coming and you’re absolutely right, it’s terrifying.

    Loved this post, Paul. It’s always inspirational to be reminded that our kids CAN and WILL impact our world someday.

  3. Wendy   •  

    I don’t have children of my own yet but I love this blog cause it reflects my fear and hope about having children and it is comforting to know other people feel the same. I have recently become a youth pastor and I take the responsibility of sharing wisdom to the next generation as a great joy and yet burden. You are an inspiration thanks for writing down your thoughts not only for your son but others to be encouraged.

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