This is an account of faithfulness in prayer; a father praying for his children.
The day before freshman orientation check in, I ran into the university’s Provost who is an old family friend. He was ushering an incoming freshman and her parents into the caf at dinner. I was with my friends and was more focused on the fact that the Provost was right there; not the freshman and her family. It was not until the student turned backed to look at her parents who were trailing behind her. I had to take a double take- You know, those moments were you think you recognize a face and a put a name to it, but you are not sure if your are right and you do not want to approach for fear of making a fool of yourself if you are completely mistaken…. yea, you know what I am talking about.
So I did what any normal person would do in this situation, I made 4 or 5 passes in the caf, pretending to look at the food options; all the while trying to see if they were who I thought they were.
…I know. Normal, right?
After the fifth pass, I bit to the bullet and approached the father. Not awkward or weird in the least bit. Of the 1500 incoming students and their parentals, I was ran into the parents and sister of a boy I had worked with almost 4 years ago in a junior high youth group. I had only met the son’s parents once or twice and had not talked to them since before the summer of 2010. We ended up talking the quick 5 minute, “What has happened since we last saw each other/what are you doing her.” conversation. After all that, I had no intention in seeing these people again due to the craziness of orientation… but I was wrong.
The next morning after breakfast, I was on the way to the gym to do my training, I end up walking past the freshman’s father. We chat for a minute and he expressed the desire to meet up and talk; so exchanged numbers and I continued on my way to the gym.
In the gym, during my training, I mulled over the decision of if I ought to meet with man. I really did not know the man, and I could just “forget” to contact him or get to “busy” and avoid a potentially awkward coffee date. I decided to chance the potential awkward position and set up a time.
The next day we meet up at the on campus coffee shop (called Common Ground, of all names, see here). He offered to buy coffee and I am not one to turn down free coffee (especially now). We talked about mutual acquaintances and friends (mostly my parents friends), his history, and what his son and daughter had been doing for the last three years. Then he starting to the topic I could tell from his face had been heavy on his heart and mind.
He transitioned into this topic that had been on his mind by telling me about how he moved his family back to California; how it occurred just days before his daughter’s first day of high school, in a place where she did not have any friends, no roots. I understand how daunting that position can be; however, I can not imagine being a father with a child in that situation. How does one deal with this situation…
He told me that on his daughter’s first day of school that he woke with a start at 5:00 am and felt God prompting him to go for a run. So what is a man to do when God is telling to do something? He ought to obey- so the father went for a run. For this father, running was a time for him to pray and connect and talk with God.
He found himself at the high school at which his daughter would be embarking on her first day of her high school career in just a few hours; just about a mile away from his and his family’s new home. God then moved him to run around the school, like Israelites around Jericho. So, continuing to obey, the father started to run around the school. He stopped at the announcement board in contemplation. He started to rummage though his pockets and found two golf tees, (which was strange because he does not golf) he left one of the tees at the sign and proceeded home.
As he was getting ready to drop his daughter off at her first day of high school, he told her about the golf tee. The random golf tee that he left at the announcement board was for her. He told her that is was there if she needed a reminder or comfort that some one praying for her and that she was a child of God.
The next day at 5:00 am, the father again was awoken and prompted to go running and pray. And again he was lead to the high school, to the announcement board, where he left a second tee. This soon became a consistent routine. The father awoke consistently at 5:00 am, without need of an alarm clock, God woke him and constrained him to a life of prayer. He told me that God was faithful the pact to wake him at 5:00 am and he to run, pray and place tees. Consistent routine of prayer, running and golf tees.
I had to ask him what became of the tees. Of course, of all the thing I was wondering about, it was the petty thing of the destiny of the golf tees.
He continued with his story. It was the last day of his daughter’s career in high school, graduation day. He woke up as he had for the last four years and ran, praying and reflecting on the fact four years had pasted, that his daughter was graduating. He proceeded to place the tee, as he had done for the last four years, his reminder to his daughter that he and God loved her. When he arrived home, he found a box on the front porch. It was a box filled with 720 golf tees with a note that read, “I love you Dad.” This man’s daughter had collected the tee he left every day of her high school career. I can only imagine what this man, this father experienced when he saw this box full of tees.
At that moment, he pulled a golf tee from his pocket and presented it to me. He asked me how he could pray for me as I started at university. He told me that he we would be praying for me on a consistent basis. This man, who barely knew me, was asking to pray for me in the same way has he had been praying for his own children. As I am writing this, I can not helped but get a little choked up. Dare I say, a bit teary eyed; especially when I was writing the previous paragraph. I felt so honored and cared for when this man asked to pray for me.
I hope to be like this man, to be like my parents. Both committed to pray for their children. They fostered the desire to know and live out word of God. They are committed to pray for others in their lives, not just their own kin. I desire to pray for things and people beyond myself…
Today is first day of classes (finally). I feel that I am the most ready I can be. I think it is befitting to share this story today, of all days. Where the evil on will prey on anxiety and doubts and seek to distract me from Christ. He seeks to overwhelm me and to isolate me from others. Today and every day is the Lord’s; and no on else.