Father son prayer

This is one of my favorite things ever written. Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this prayer for his son.

A Prayer For My Son

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee — and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, give him, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

An absolute classic. I get a lot of comments on this, and if you enjoy it, then chances are good you’ll also appreciate this piece, called “Prayer of an Unknown Confederate Soldier.”


Lord I’m overwhelmed with where my son / daughter is his / her life, but I thank You for him / her. Thank You for giving him / her to me to love and parent. Thank You for who he / she is and the plans You have for his / her life. Let me not forget that if You could save me, You can certainly bring him / her into Your kingdom. Your arms are not short, Your strength is not abated.

I give You my hopes and dreams for him / her. In Your hand is the only safe place to put him / her. Bring to pass what is right in Your eyes for his / her life. Let me remember You are faithful to the utmost.

In the place he / she is walking today, keep him / her safe from harm, and take him / her to those who would prosper him / her, and not harm him / her. Put people in his / her life who will correctly answer the hard questions he / she has, and answer them in such a way that he / she will listen, and with an answer that honors You.

Please give me grace to walk out the calling of a prayer warrior on behalf of my son / daughter. Let me become more humble, realizing that I have done things which have broken Your heart, and I am not better than my son / daughter, my sins are just different. However, I give You the frustration and difficulty of parenting. And I give to You my pride and ask forgiveness for when I am wrong. Let me realize this is Your kingdom and You are quite capable of populating it and managing its citizens. As much as I love him / her, let me recall that comparatively, it is only a fraction of how much You love and care for him / her.

Please quickly bring my son / daughter to his / her senses. If I need to get out of the way, show me where. If I need to pray a certain way, teach me how. I’m more dependent on You than ever. Give me what I do not have so I may be a better parent.

Give me grace to love regardless of where he / she has been and what he / she has done, the way You love.

Cause me, help me, make me to rejoice over him / her when he / she returns. Pull out of me all that would make me feel the need to chastise, belittle or shame. Deal with me in secret, that I may deal with him / her lovingly, the way the father of the prodigal son did, and truly mean it.

Cause me to remember who You are, and whom You chose to use in both the Old and New Testaments, and from where You brought them. Cause me, help me, make me to remember how big You are and that nothing escapes Your knowledge. Nothing is too difficult and nothing is impossible with You.

Cause me, help me, make me to be forgiving and not harsh about the things I know my son / daughter has done, remembering the sins I’ve committed that put Your Son on the cross. Don’t allow me to exalt my life or lack of sinning simply because I haven’t sinned like he / she has. I am not better than he / she is. I’m simply older and have been at this longer. Remove from me pride or arrogance if it exists within me.

Father, the apostle Paul said when the jailer became a believer, that salvation had come to him and his household. I take that to mean his whole house. So, Father, my whole house. My entire family. Save them all. Further redeem me as a leader in my home, for there are areas in my life not yet submitted to You. Cause me, help me, make me to be humble before You and treat my son / daughter with the same warm welcome and dignity with which You have treated me.

All these things I commit into Your hands, choosing to remember and choosing to trust, that You can handle them all. Forgive me for thinking You couldn’t and I could.

To Your honor and glory, Father, I ask these things. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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