children • education • parents
relationships • marriage • the elderly


The Father’s Day Prayer

June 21, 2020 by

Father’s Day comes around once a year just so that our wives and children can reluctantly recognize and celebrate how special and important a father is to every household: the head of the house, the bread-winner, the stoic rock of ages in human form. If not that, then at least it is an excuse to gather around the grill with the equivalent of tacky Christmas sweaters in man-aprons, to sizzle up a truck-load of all variety of meats while enjoying the liquid products of the influence of brewer’s yeast on hops and grain.

Well, not really. This year, I think dads and others alike will pause to reconsider the true meaning of fatherhood; to think back on the roles that their fathers and other male mentors had on their lives and world views; to ponder on what our responsibility is today. We should. What are we going to teach our children − especially our sons − about fatherhood? We are in a reconsidering mood after the challenges of COVID-19 have forced us into more (or less) family, and separation from our extended family, relatives, friends, work, church, and school. The issues of injustice, racism, protests, divisiveness, and the call for societal change should also challenge us to rediscover fatherhood. It does.

Grandpa and grandchild 

So what is important about fatherhood?

Any wise researcher will go to the source. That of course, is God, our Father in Heaven.

In the Bible there are hundreds of references to God our Father, as well as advice to fathers − too many good ones to list my favorites here. Suffice it to say that we all have a father, whether we know him or not, and we all have the same Father in Heaven whom we are invited to know, to believe, to obey, and to trust.

Since God is our Father, Jesus, the first son, taught us how to speak to him. This then, is The Father’s Day Prayer:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Yes, that is Our Father! Not somebody else’s. Heaven is a place that is perfect joy and justice and love. It is Our Father’s place; that means it is also our place. Hallowed means to be greatly revered, made holy. There is no better name. Kids brag about their fathers. Fathers are a source of pride and joy.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

A Kingdom is under the rule of its King. God our Father, come rule here! His will is perfectly good. It is righteousness, justice, peace, love, and everlasting life. That is a reality in heaven, our dream-house we haven’t seen yet. Bring it here to our rented apartments, our homes away from home.

Give us this day our daily bread.

That’s the barbeque part! But it is also everything we need each day to sustain us: food, shelter, safety, money, security, work, friends, fellowship, and a purpose to live for.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

What is a debt? We borrow what we lack with a promise to repay, usually with interest. Unless it is from our dad − and then we hope and trust in generous love, but we still ask for our debt to be canceled, to be forgiven. And when we ask, we innately realize that we need to forgive others to receive this grace.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

What is temptation? Being lured into a trap. There are so many side roads to get lost on, dead ends, sand pits, stagnant ponds, and cliffs to be wary of. There are powers and actors that do not want well for us. They conspire to cheat and ruin us for their own advantage. We look to our fathers for protection. Remembering that father said “no,” and what that means in consequences, will help us resist what we know is a bad idea.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

To us earthly fathers, the mandate is clear: give, provide, protect, forgive, bless, be firm in guidance so that the lives of our children and family may flourish. This is love. This is fatherhood.

Our everlasting Father will always rule his house, he should always rule our house. When his house is my house, that is glorious. We owe God the glory always.


J. Heinrich Arnold is a father and grandfather, as well as a pastor, physician assistant, teacher, and musician. He lives at Woodcrest, a Bruderhof in Rifton, New York. Follow him on Twitter: @JHeinrichArnold.


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