As one of the fastest growing demographics in the nation, almost all of us know a single mom or single dad; perhaps even within our own family. Single parent ministry is a whole new level of reaching people: it can be discouraging, messy, and rarely consistent. And unless you have ever been a single parent yourself, it can be quite intimidating to lend a helping hand, let alone know where to start.
To help guide you along, here are three very quick tips to help build a foundation for your single father: son, brother, or friend.
1. Keep them covered.
I know this may seem like an obvious one, but never underestimate the power of prayer, especially a parent praying over their child. You may not completely understand everything your son is going through, and that’s fine. But pray specific and transparent prayers, not manipulative or selfish ones. Keep the entire situation covered, even mom if she is around. Also be sure to love on the involved children unconditionally through it all and even pray with them whenever possible.
2. Do NOT slam the mom!
This is our “Golden Rule” of the ministry. Yes, the entire situation may be a mess and perhaps she is being spiteful or manipulative. I am sure it can be quite painful to watch your son of friend go through it all. Still, as followers of Christ, we are called to hold to a higher standard and if we allow the sin of anger and bitterness to seep into our hearts, it will only overflow into other areas of our life, perhaps even around the children. Instead, ask the Lord to remove these negative emotions from you if need be (you may really have to do some hardcore praying here!), but a softened heart is one way we can honor God in these sort of situations.
3. Stay focused on the long haul.
Whether or not things ever get better between the dad and the mom, no one can foresee. Dad’s focus needs to remain on the fact that he is Dad: for life. Things began extremely rocky between my daughter’s mom and me. Almost nine years later, it’s bumpy at best. Children get a huge part of their personality and self-perception from their father; and our enemy is a master at keeping us spinning around in circles instead of looking to God for help. Any single father that holds fast to this will not only be able to persevere through the storms along the way, but will one day see God’s glory revealed through it all.
For those of you with a family member or friend who is a single dad, how can you help him today?
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18 (NASB)
By Matt Haviland
Dad of one daughter
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of “A Father’s Walk”
Author of A Father’s Walk: A Christian-Based Resource for Single Fathers and co-author of The Daddy Gap
Go to Calvary’s website to register for the HeartCORe Parenting Conference in Denver!