The parents were obviously weary from dragging their two energetic preschoolers through airports and airplanes, and now their final flight was delayed. As I watched the two boys running around the crowded gate area, I wondered how Mom and Dad were going to keep the little guys settled down for our half-hour flight into Grand Rapids. When we finally boarded, I noticed that the father and one of the sons were in the seats behind me. Then I heard the weary father say to his son, “Why don’t you let me read one of your storybooks to you.” And during the entire flight, this loving father softly and patiently read to his son, keeping him calm and focused.

Relationships with dads are complicated things. Some of us have great relationships with our dads and are excited to celebrate that! Some of us didn’t have a relationship with him at all. Dads can build you up. And tear you down. They can cause great good, and can cause some of the deepest brokenness and harm. Some of us don’t even think about our biological dads as our fathers. For some of us, there’s another guy or guys in our lives that represents dadhood to us. Regardless of who you view as “dad,” or what emotions you run into this week of Father’s Day, here’s a prayer to pray to bless those father figures in your life.

A Father’s Blessing

Abba, who gives good gifts to us your children, and is the ideal picture of dadhood, bless__________ today. May he know your presence and experience your love. May he be filled with your strength, and overflow with your kindness and peace. I honor him, and you, for the gift of his presence in my life. I bless him—whether in person or from afar—with this Father’s Blessing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

What If I Don’t Like My Dad?

How are we supposed to relate to God as our Father if we don’t have a good relationship with our own dad? With Father’s Day coming up, it can be just another reminder that the person who was supposed to be there for us let us down.—And can we be real? Sometimes, it feels like God isn’t any different.

You might be wrestling with the question, “What if I don’t like my dad?”If our fathers were absent, abusive, or just disengaged, that can stick with us for years to come. That wound can affect the way we relate to God in ways that we often aren’t even aware of. Unfortunately, there aren’t any easy answers, and dealing with this wound is a difficult process.

But the good news is, there’s healing and wholeness for every wound we carry. When we decide to walk toward healing from our trauma, Jesus, who healed all sorts of wounds, brokenness, and shame, is walking with us. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, he shows us a picture of a God who radically loves us and is delighted to spend time with us. He also shows us two different responses to God’s love, in the younger and older brothers. Our prayer is that, instead of leaving God’s house like the younger son, or resenting God’s compassion like the older son, we would become people who accept this love from the beginning.

“So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20

If you’re dealing with a father wound, and it’s impacting your relationship with our heavenly Father, we invite you into this prayer.

A Prayer for Dealing With a Father Wound

God who calls me a beloved child, you know the pain I feel when I hear the word “father.” Help me trust you are with me in that pain, and you are different than what I’ve known as father. Reveal those parts of who you are that I have not yet seen for myself, and help me trust you are here for my good. Help me not to rush out of your presence like the prodigal, or mistrust your grace like the older brother, but to receive your love, and run to meet your embrace. Amen.

Fathers represent God’s love for us in a special way. This video reminds us that every day is an opportunity to love and honor them.

Regardless of the relationship you have with your earthly father, remember that your Father in heaven calls you His beloved child.

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*  Includes content from original devotional articles written for the Our Daily Bread devotional and  from Reclaim Today, a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries.