Lessons from Dr. Dobson

A few days ago JP and I had the honor of attending a lunch where Dr. James Dobson, of Focus of the Family fame, spoke.  It was a particular honor, because JP was asked to pray for the event, which was hosted by KKLA, the radio station on which JP’s daily radio broadcast is aired. I’ve listened to Focus on the Family since I was a new bride 25 years ago, so I was excited to be seated just a few feet away from the whole Dobson clan.  I watched as they graciously greeted person after person with warm smiles and sincere words. In today’s “me-centered’ culture, their other-centered behavior was a welcome sight, especially given their level of notoriety and fame.

When Dr. Dobson spoke, I couldn’t help but notice the look on his family’s faces.  Their eyes were riveted on him, clearly enjoying his stories and anecdotes, though surely they had heard them all before.  It was obvious that they were proud of him, in the best sense of the word.

But what struck me most was the story behind the story.

Most of us are familiar with Dr. Dobson and his ministry.  Many of us are even aware of his background at UCS medical center and the humble beginnings of Focus on the Family. What I didn’t know, however, was that it all started with prayer.  Not his.  Not even his father’s or mother’s. But his great grandfather’s prayers.  Each day, between 11am and noon, Dr. Dobson’s great grandfather faithfully prayed for his family.  He not only prayed for his wife and children, but he prayed for their yet-to-be spouses and children, and their yet-to-be spouses and children.  He prayed that God would raise up generations of servants from his lineage. In answer to his prayers, every one of his sons entered the ministry.  Every one of his daughters married ministers, or ministered themselves.  All of his grandsons entered the ministry.  In fact, the only great grandson who didn’t become a pastor is Dr. Dobson. While Dr. Dobson doesn’t consider himself a “minister”, I’m guessing his great grandfather is looking down from heaven, smiling at the outcome.

What began as a private conversation between a humble servant and his God, became a public conversation where millions of lives have been influenced.  Including mine.

But Dr. Dobson’s great grandfather couldn’t have known what was to come.  He could never have visualized how God would respond to the holy cries of his heart.

This inspirational story brought to mind a personal memory. The day JP and I got married, the pastor prayed words over us neither of us have ever forgotten; “God, grant them their holiest desires.” Holy desires, like the ones prayed by Dr. Dobson’s great grandfather, have far reaching impact–perhaps beyond what our eyes can see.

What are your holiest desires?  For yourself?  For your family? For their family and the generations after them?  How will you influence your world?  It doesn’t take much except a humble heart, a holy desire and a person who is willing to pray.

Lord Jesus,

Use me as your representative in this world.  Use those I influence, whether inside my family or outside my family.  Grant me all my holiest desires.  Amen.

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