‘There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.’ (1 Corinthians 4:14, The Message)
Sunday 19 June is Father’s Day in the UK. In a society where fatherlessness is a real problem for many of our young people, we are praying for an increase of the kind of fathers Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 4.
And in a time when there is increasing misunderstanding between different generations, we are asking God to turn the hearts of the fathers towards the children, and the children towards their fathers (Malachi 4).
Many men exercise authority and power, but to father is first and foremost to sacrifice – to love and serve; to discipline and affirm; to invest and to model.
Interestingly, this year’s Father’s Day is also the first of two consecutive World Refugee Sundays – a time to pray for the nearly fifty million refugees and internally displaced people around the world – many of whom have been uprooted by war, racism and powerful regimes. (Download our ‘Prayer for refugees’, inspired by Psalm 126, here).
Surely, our world is in need of fathers at every level – leaders who will not use their power and position to oppress, point the finger, or increase their authority still further, but instead will seek to nurture, guide and model from a place of love and humility.
We need to pray for fathers – whether they are operating in this role literally, or in a more general sense. And we need to take time to honour and thank them for what they do.
I have an amazing Dad. In a generation where there are not many fathers, I have been blessed with one who has led me to the Father, and shown me what He is like through ‘time and effort’, love, and modelling deep commitment to God.
Could you take some time over the next few days to truly thank and affirm any father figures in your life who have helped you see more of God, and follow his ways?
And whether you choose to do this or not, please join us in praying for:
– all fathers and their relationships with their children
– men in leadership and their relationships with those they lead
– the fatherless
– refugees searching for a place to call home and the leaders who are required to welcome them
A Father’s Day Prayer
Father God thank you for your perfect fathering
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Shepherded and nurtured; disciplined and challenged
So I can flourish in your purpose and plan for me
And bear my Fathers image more fully still.
Father God thank you for your perfect example
I praise you because you show all fathers how to love;
To shepherd and nurture; discipline and challenge
So their sons and daughters can flourish in this world as you have planned,
And carry your presence to all they meet.
Father God bless all fathers today with wisdom, with patience, with courage
And above all with love for their children.
Father God bless all children today with openness to correction, with eagerness to learn
And above all with love for their fathers.
Father God bless all who are fatherless today surround them with godly men to teach, affirm and guide
And above all to love with the love of a father in your strength. Amen.
(written for Christian Aid’s daily readings for 19/06/2011)