Father’s Day Prayer

This civic holiday occurs in different countries on different days. I guess those that celebrate it on St. Joseph’s Day March 19 could argue for it having a religious basis. And that is a wonderful aspect to the holiday — celebrating the truly mixed bag of “fathering” that is Joseph. This is my prayer — a little early in the week to reflect on some of the dynamics —not nearly all of them that are present to me when I think about this occasion.

God, I’m praying for fathers –
fathers, up at night with newborns,
fathers, bent under college debt,
fathers who are good with one age of child
and haven’t a clue with another.

I’m praying for fathers
balancing self and home and work
and parenting,
especially when no one seems to notice.

I’m praying for fathers of adolescents.
and for those who are adolescents themselves,
as well as many who prop up their elbows
when their hands slip
on the gift of accountability.

I’m praying for grandfathers and transfathers.
godfathers and grieving fathers,
foster fathers and adopting fathers,
solo fathers and step-fathers,
fathers-in-law and fathers-in-neighbor,
more grandfathers –
tiptoeing around divorce,

and also teachers, pastors,
coaches, counselors
who mix a tiny bit of what they know
from fathering into relationships
with dozens of children,
and learn the rhythm to step back.

I’m praying for those living
with their mistakes as fathers—
small thoughtlessnesses
that call for self-forgiveness,
or deep damage
needing repentance, transformation.

I’m praying for those who want
to be fathers,
and those who have wanted,
but it never happened.

I’m praying for those who miss their fathers
because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance.
and I’m praying those who miss their children
because of death or distance,
deep difference or disappearance.

Be a parent to them, O God,
on this day and all the days of the year.

I am praying for those
who have been so violated by men
in relationship to them,
that the very name “father” is a wound.

Heal them with time and anger,
memory, love and support.

As we approach this civic day
with its tangle of knotted emotions,
draw out for each of us
from your fathoms of tenderness
care and strength, for our most intimate needs –
named here, barely whispered to ourselves,
or still hidden
in the cave-rooms of our souls.
Amen.

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3 Responses to Father’s Day Prayer

  1. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    You’ve managed to catch all aspects of fathers supporting each in a wonderful hammock of woven words, and it’s beautiful, but when is your Father’s Day? Our is the 1st Sunday of September and comes from the US tradition achieved through the efforts of Mrs Sonora Dodd, a church woman of Spokane, who motivated by a mother’s day service, advocated that her father’s birthday be the day to honour all fathers! Do you have another Father’s Day tradition?

  2. Maren says:

    US Father’s Day is third Sunday in June. Mrs. Dodd’s suggestion ran for a while in Washington but since there was already the legal holiday of Labor Day it was doomed to failure and the legal holiday went with early summer weather. I think that is a difference that appears between northern and southern hemispheres.

  3. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    Interesting – it used to be said there were parts of NZ more English than in England, I didn’t expect us to honour an American tradition more faithfully than the Americans!

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