Billy Graham once said that “a good father is one of the must unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”
Every father will leave a lasting mark on his children. Legacy isn’t confined to a will or an inheritance; it’s far more important and substantial than dollars and cents.
The legacy a dad leaves has to do with the things he passes on to his children, what he gives them in terms of love, support, wisdom, character, and faith.
In many ways, my dad was my first love when I was a little girl growing up in Knoxville, TN. Though I remember fun times of playing with my dad, riding piggy back and going fishing, the faith he demonstrated built a strong foundation for life.
His faith and character helped shape my view of myself, my world, and my God, and I’m grateful for the legacy of his love.
My dad demonstrated the value of these words:
Seek God first.
Some of my early memories include kneeling at the end of the bed as we said “night-night” prayers. The prayers were simple, the words of a child, “Now I lay me down to sleep…and God bless Mommy and Daddy…”
Through this simple routine was part of my childhood world my dad demonstrated the importance of seeking God in prayer. His presence made an impact. He didn’t have to pray like Billy Graham to show the value of prayer.
Seek His kingdom.
Attending church and participating in the family of God was another way that my father led our family to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness. Attending church is still an important value we share with our children.
Seek God’s righteousness.
Caring for people was my father’s greatest gift. At home and at work, he valued people. I always knew that I was deeply loved, even when my father faced challenges or was busy at work. His heart for people showed me the importance of loving others.
Though he was a man of influence, a doctor and hospital administrator, he used his influence to make people’s lives better.
Deeply passionate about caring for the homeless, my father volunteered his time to treat many who were overlooked by society. He knew many of them by name, making sure they had access to flu shots before the winter came.
Though he was not a man to preach sermons, his example at home and in the community showed me the generous and caring father heart of God.
Though my dad passed away in 2005, there is not a day that I do not benefit from his legacy in my life.
What will our legacy be?
Seeking God first carries a blessing and a promise–all these things (our needs, cares, and concerns) will be added to you. To seek God first puts the priority of our lives on God.
Now it’s our turn.
Through the years, I’ve watched my husband grow in faith, taking the reins of leadership in our family. It is often a heavy responsibility. Together, we’ve learned the blessing of seeking God first.
The power behind a father’s legacy.
It has been an honor to help my husband teach our children these life-lessons of faith. Holy moments are for teaching your children to trust God. Proverbs 3:5-6 is foundational in our parenting. Leading our family, my husband shows us what faith look like in his words and actions.
Does he do it perfectly?
And neither do I.
Neither did my dad.
I see the impact—both of the mistakes we’ve made and the faith we’ve taught our children. Despite our mistakes, I see a godly legacy in the lives of our children.
Because God is faithful…
- In a day when many young people are leaving the church, our son committed to finding a church in the midst of the demands of graduate school.
- In a day when the world says you can be anything you want to be, one daughter seeks God’s will for her education and vocation. God’s plan included living for 2 ½ years as a missionary in Australia building the kingdom of God.
- In a day when sexuality has become moral confusion, our daughters seek God’s righteousness in dating relationships.
These are places in our children’s lives where God has made straight paths and the baton of faith made a handoff from our prayers to their personal decisions.
This is the goal and the power of a father’s legacy—both the efforts we make to trust God and what our eternal Father does through our faith.
Acknowledging God in all our ways is the legacy that God uses to pass the baton of faith straight to the heart of the next generation.
Not because we did it perfectly, because, boy I tell you, we did not do it perfectly.
We trust in a God who makes our paths straight.
Stand by the fathers in your life.
- Encourage them.
- Notice the things they do.
- Honor and respect them.
- Appreciate and celebrate them.
The greatest thing that we can do beyond loving and appreciating the fathers in our lives is to pray for them. Click on the list above to print a copy of 15 Prayers for Dad.
Make everyday Father’s Day with our prayers. Share a prayer for father’s in the comments!
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