In my own life, I will be the first to admit praying for my daughter’s stepfather has not been (nor continues to be) easy, but I can clearly see God at work. If you allow Him to, He can do the same for you.
Let me start off by saying each point may not apply to every aspect of your life—yet. Despite how your child’s stepfather came into his or her life, the fact is he is there now. Even if you were caught in the crossfire and perhaps the victim of someone else’s actions, then all the more reason to forgive instead of letting it consume you. Anger and bitterness can quickly kill your joy; maybe even your relationship with your children if you are not careful. Remember, the standard of measure we use will be measured back to us (Luke 6:38). Healing begins by laying it at the cross, sometimes even daily.
Look at it this way: If your children are living in his house and with him a good amount of time, then why wouldn’t you pray for that house to be covered?! God has given us a spiritual authority over our kids that cannot be denied by man. To pray for protection for your children’s stepdad and his home is not a sign of weakness—but spiritual maturity. Through some tough lessons, I personally have learned what it means to love others unconditionally, despite my feelings. As Jesus says in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Every time we die to self in any capacity, it brings us that much closer to God. It may take some time and struggle, but the outcomes can have favorable long-term results.
Yes, I realize I am speaking about the relationship between him and your ex. For whatever reason they are now together, it is a covenant with the Lord. Our kids have been through plenty by this point and we don’t want to do anything that may cause them more despair. Jesus tells us in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (NASB). We are one of the greatest role models our children have and our goal should be to encourage and teach them every chance we get. Whether they ever realize the sacrifices we made for them and the hurts we endured along the way doesn’t really matter—being a godly dad does. Paul tells us in 1Cor 11:1 to imitate him as he imitates Christ. Children learn by observation to be nice, love unconditionally, and be humble. Dad, you carry great weight in your son’s or daughter’s life and the way you handle the tough situations now will help them flourish as adults.
Over the years I have seen some great co-parenting situations where all adults involved get along great and in a respectable manner. This only adds to the foundation of bringing the kids up as happy, healthy adults. I’ve also seen where one or both of the parents fail miserably in leading their children—in life and in the Lord. I am continually telling the guys in our single dad small group: If there is inconsistency in the other home, then that makes consistency that much more important in our own lives. If in fact your children’s stepfather isn’t leading his family the way he should be, then the Christ-like move would be to intercede on his behalf. Ask the Lord to pull at his heart to step up and lead his home in the way he is called to. Remember, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Whether we are a new believer or have been walking with the Lord for years, Paul instructs us to “regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Phil 2:3), and that we are all work in progress (Phil 1:6). God desires for all to come to repentance (2Pet 3:9) and that should be our prayer as well. Big or small, your children’s stepfather has influence in their lives. That being said, would you rather that influence comes from and reflects the ways of the world—or Christ? Will you be a father who stands on behalf of others for the sake of your children? If so, then despite how your flesh may feel, you are already on the right path to bringing them up the way you should be.
Guys, our world has way too many families ripping at each other like wild dogs, fueled by sin. We need good men: strong, godly fathers to help change the course for the next generation and lead them in the Lord. It can start today, with you. Be THAT dad.
Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always. -1Chron 16:11 (NIV)
How can you pray for your children’s stepfather today?