Manoah was the father of Samson, a warrior-judge of Israel. An angel reported to Manoah’s wife they would have a son who was to “be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel…” (Judges 13:5) Being set apart to God included the child not drinking “wine or fermented drink” or eating “anything unclean” from birth. Nor were they to use a razor on his head. This was to be a special boy, and Manoah had never been a father before.
Manoah wanted help with God’s plan. Like a good father who is responsible for the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual development of his children, Manoah’s first prayer was “O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” [Judges 13:8] He wanted instruction on how to raise his son. Visitation by an angel was one thing. Parenting a boy set apart for God was something completely different. Manoah’s prayer is that of every potential parent. (An Angel in the Flame, 28)
“O Lord, teach me how to bring up the child who is to be born,” is a prayer from the heart of any parent-in-waiting who trusts that child is a gift from God and to be set apart for God.
I remember on the day of my first child’s birth, while mother and daughter were sleeping in the room, I prayed like Manoah, “Lord, I have no clue how to do this. Please show me the way.” I think most fathers pray that prayer. Out of fear or humility or both, fathers turn to their Father to seek the wisdom to mold and guide their children’s lives. (29)
If you are an expectant father, pray Manoah’s short prayer today. If you are a father, pray that God teach you “to bring up the child who has been born to me.” Read God’s Word, listen, and have a group of guys around who can encourage you as you “bring up” your children.
O, Father in Heaven, teach me how to bring up the children you have given me. Reveal your purpose for their lives and empower me with your Word and Spirit to guide them to fulfill that purpose. Thank you for being my Father to whom I can turn every day.
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