Thursday, June 15, 2006

Father's Day Prayer

With Father's Day approaching, I will repeat here a Father's Day prayer I wrote last year and posted on my Caleb's Publishing website. (new as of June 13, 2008 see also Prayer for Fathers Day 2008.)

Father's Day Prayer

by Philip Hartman

Father's Day 2005

God, I thank you on this Father’s Day for all the many blessings you have given me.. Thank You for:

  • Your Son Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me,
  • my wife and my two daughters,
  • for the other family and friends that love and care about me,
  • for my good health and the good health of my family,
  • for my career and Your provision for my family’s financial
  • for today’s special moments like catching a butterfly with
    my 8-yr old,
  • for the love, care, and good example set by my own father when I
    was growing up.

God, I confess that I am not always the best husband and father I should be. I pray for Your forgiveness and grace.

I pray that You will bless me in my role as father. Give me wisdom and patience. Grow me into the father You need me to be for my two daughters. Help me be someone they know will always be there for them.

I pray that You will bless me in my role as husband. Again, I pray for wisdom and patience. Grow me into the man my wife needs me to be. Protect my marriage from evil influences. Grow us together as a couple that will be an example for our daughters and a good Christian witness to those around us.

Help me discern Your will for my life and the life of my family. Where I need to take a stand for You and Your purposes, I pray that You will make Your will obvious and supernaturally enable me to do what You need me to do. Where I need to shut up or back off, I pray that You will
convict me of this and give me peace as I turn it all over to You. Build me up where I am weak. Help me develop the spiritual gifts You have given me for Your service.

I pray that You will bless me in my role as provider. I ask for Your continued blessings on my work life. Help me honor You in all that I do. Help me be a good witness in the workplace. God,
there is much uncertainty in the world right now with many people losing their jobs. Help me trust in Your provision for my family. Where Your provision is where I am already, help me be the best that I can be. When turmoil is coming and a change is needed, I pray that You will
alert me in some way, prepare me for the change, and enable me to make the changes I need to in order to take full advantage of Your provision.

I pray that You will bless my wife in her role as mother of our children. Giver her continued good health, wisdom, energy and patience. Grow her into the mother You need her to be. Give her deep joy from motherhood despite all the hard work.

I pray that you will bless her in her role as my wife. Grow her into the woman You need her to be for me. Strengthen her commitment and resolve to our marriage. Remove all walls that separate us and bring us together intimately in a way that lasts a lifetime.

I pray that you will work mightily in the lives of my two daughters. Use Your Holy Spirit to draw them close to You. Give them a hunger to seek You. I pray that they will grow up happy and healthy. I pray that You will provide friends, teachers, Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, and coaches who will be good influences on them at the very moment they will be tempted. Protect them from peer pressures to stray away from the path You have planned for them. If it is Your will that they should marry, I pray that at this very moment You are preparing a godly young man for them who will love them and remain committed to them always. I also lift up to You the parents of these young men. Help them raise their sons to be great fathers for my future grandchildren if that is part of Your plan as well.

This I ask in the name of Your Son, Jesus.


Copyright © 2005 by Philip Hartman and Caleb's Publishing - All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Humble Ambition

“I was once considering what the reason was our Lord loved humility in us so much. I suddenly remembered that He is essentially the supreme truth and that humility is just our walking in the truth. For it is a very great truth that we have no good in us; we have only misery and nothingness. He who does not understand this walks in lies. But he who understands this the best is the most pleasing to the Supreme Truth. May God grant us this favor, sisters, never to be without the humbling knowledge of ourselves...

His Majesty seeks and loves courageous souls. But they must be humble in all their ways and have no confidence in themselves ...

...But it is necessary that we should understand what this humility is like. For I believe Satan will try to do great harm. He hinders those who begin to pray from going forward by suggesting to them false notions of humily. He makes them think that it is pride to have spiritual ambitions, desires to imitate the saints, and longings to be like martyrs.”

Saint Teresa of Avila

Love and Joy

“Christ’s love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”

Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Nashville Christian Bloggers Conference ?

Like many bloggers I have an interest in writing and maybe writing a book some day. I got an email a while back about the Tennessee Writers Alliance and their Writers' Conference June 9-10. At the last minute, I decided to attend and see if it was helpful in improving my writing. I was enticed by the fact that the workshop leader for non-fiction (my area of interest) was Ray Waddle and he had published two Christian books, Against the Gran: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes and A Turbulent Peace: The Psalms for Our Time. So, I felt like I would not be the only person there interested in faith-based writing.

I must say that enjoyed the conference immensely. I got some good suggestions on how to improve my writing. I also got to meet others who take their writing seriously. (I think there were probably 80-100 people at the conference all together.)

And... I got to meet a real published Christian author who patiently answered several questions I had and gave me some suggestions and encouragement to look at trying to publish some magazine articles. We traded emails afterwards and he took a peak at my blog. In his reply he asked an interesting question, "I wonder how many serious (religious) bloggers there are in Nashville - do they ever get together?"

I did a search on for both the words "Christian" and "Nashville" and found that there are more of us that I thought. So... I'm curious, are any of you Christian bloggers out there within a reasonable distance of Nashville interested in getting together to talk about blogging for our faith, discuss the impact of blogging on your personal walk with God, stories you may have about contacts you've made thru blogging, any success stories you may have, how you've found you reach people in the best way, whether you're making any $$ from your blog, whether you hope to take on larger writing projects like a book or magazine article, etc. If you're interested in a face-to-face meeting please leave a comment or shoot me an email. Also, please pass the word to other bloggers in the geographical area that you might know.

Copyright © 2006 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Missing Spiritual Discipline

I’ve had some thoughts recently about how Jesus talked about “when you fast...” as if there was a definate expectation that we would fast.

Matthew 6:16-18 (New International Version)

16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who
is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I am sure I am not alone when I admit that I’ve never really fasted on a regular basis for the explicit purpose of getting spiritually closer to God. From the verses above it seems that Jesus expected the practice of fasting to be common.

I could try to blame this lack of spiritual discipline on my parents as we did not practice fasting when I was growing up. I could try to blame this lack of spiritual discipline on the various churches I’ve attended since I moved away from home after college. The pastors didn’t preach on fasting. Nobody around me set this positive example. Try as I might, there is no escaping the fact that I am smart enough to read the verses above and get the meaning.

Then there is that uncomfortable detail that I heard Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ talk about fasting on the radio about 8 or 10 years ago. He was calling on Christians to pray for revival in America and fast for 40 days. I even visited his website back then that gave advice on how to fast safely. He still has a lot of information on fasting available on the web. However, I must admit that while I was curious about whether fasting would really bring me closer to God, I wasn’t committed enough to actually try it. I was chicken! I was afraid I’d fail. I was afraid I’d feel worse trying and failing than if I never tried.

Then about 2-3 years ago, I was reminded about fasting again. My pastor announced in a sermon that he had just completed a 40 day fast while praying for our church and his ministry. There he was right in front of me... an imperfect person that I knew on a first name basis who had actually done it. Once again, I failed to have enough faith to act.

A couple of weeks ago, I was surfing around and stumbled across a web page on fasting. I have since lost track of the URL but I remember the author making a point that we should not enter into fasting to get God to do something for us. We can’t create an obligation for God to remove some burden we feel. We should enter fasting for no other reason than to get closer to God.

Then less than a week ago, I was preparing my Sunday School lesson by reading in the Life Truths Leaders Guide and immediately after my lesson was an extra article “Fast As You Flourish in the Lord” by Ed Cox, Director International Prayer Strategy Office, International Mission Board, SBC. I read how he began skipping lunch on Wednesdays to read his Bible and pray. He felt closer and closer to the Lord and wound up soon fasting all day on Wednesdays. The article ends with a call to participate in a “Day of Prayer and Fasting for World Evangelism” on June 4, 2006. I conveniently did write myself a reminder and I am sad to report it slipped my mind completely and today is June 5th already so I missed it.

Then today, I got an “Prime Time with God” email from with the catchy subject line “A New Remnant of Priests.” I thought to myself “What’s that all about?” When I opened the email right there in the upper left corner was a “Recommended Resource” Biblical Studies for Fasting by Dr. Elmer Towns. I found myself clicking on the “Order” button to learn more... but I didn’t turn over my credit card number for the $10.95 book. I’m still chicken and afraid of failure.

God, I pray that if it is no coincidence that my thoughts keep turning to fasting that You will convict me of this and remove all excuses and barriers which prevent me from taking this leap of faith. If this is what I’m supposed to do, then give me a hunger for a closer relationship with You that is stronger than my immediate desire for the next meal or the next visit to the office vending machine. Grant me the proper attitude. Draw me close to You. Grow me into the man You need me to be. Amen.

Copyright © 2006 by Philip Hartman - All Rights Reserved