“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV)
In 2012, 64% of children (aged 0-17) lived with both of their parents. 24% lived with their mothers only. Only 4% lived with the fathers only. Another 4% live with neither of their parents. (According to ChildStats.gov and the US Census)
These numbers have fallen massively in the last 20 years! For instance, in 1980, 77 percent of children lived with both parents.
Just to put into perspective: 4% of children aged 0-17 represents 2.6 million people. 24% represents 15.6 million people.
I know most of these stats reflect the rise in divorce and split families, blended families, and shared custody. For those of you who find yourselves in this situation, I commend you for being there for your children. But here in the good old USA, we have a major crisis. More than 18 million children in our country do not live with their fathers. Even more sadly, many of those children have no relationship with their father at all. Some have no idea who their father is.
So this morning I read these verses to start my time in prayer:
And when you and your children return to the Lord, your God…
Deuteronomy 30:2 (NIV)
It immediately brought to mind the Scripture in Malachi 4 (Referenced above). Jesus did not only come to save you from your sinful life. He came to RESTORE! Restore your heart. Restore your mind. Restore your relationships. Jesus came to this earth with a mission: To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers. So you and your children may return to the Lord, your God!
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
Deuteronomy 30:6 (NIV)
So let’s pray:
Father God, may you mark our hearts so that we are forever connected to You Father. We are know by You, valued by You, and loved by You. As You mark our hearts, may our relationships be restored. May my children see the impact You had on me, and may their hearts be marked by You as well.
May You begin again, in our country and in our world, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers. May they see You as a God who restore and not condemns. Begin again Father God, we pray! AMEN.