Father’s Day has long occupied an important place in American life. Celebrated on the third Sunday in June, it offers a chance to honor those fathers—or father figures—who have made a difference in your life.
What better way is there to honor someone than with a prayer of blessing? (Unless maybe it’s a dozen Krispy Kremes. But I digress). Though the best way to pray a blessing over someone is to do so aloud, in their presence, and preferably with a meaningful touch such as a hand on the shoulder or head.
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But the following blessings can also be handwritten in a card, sent via text or email, and prayed from a distance:
1) The Aaronic Blessing
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26, NIV).
2) An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(a traditional Irish blessing)
3) A Blessing from the Apostle Paul
May God, out of his glorious riches, strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.
May you, being rooted and established in love, have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and may you know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
May God, who is utterly able, do immeasurably more for you and in you than all you can ever ask or imagine.
(based on Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV)
4) A Sevenfold Blessing from Scripture
May God be gracious to you.
May God bless you.
May God make his face shine upon you.
May you be strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might.
May you be filled with joy.
May God give you the desire of your heart,
and make all your plans succeed.
(Drawn from Psalm 67:1, Colossians 1:11, Psalm 20:4)
You may want to combine one or more of these blessings, or add to them specific prayers of your heart for your father (or grandfather, or other father figure). And you don’t have to pray these blessings only on Father’s Day, of course. They work all year round.
Spend Unhurried Time
Sounds simple, but with our busy lives, it takes intentional planning to find time for unhurried eyeball-to-eyeball moments with our loved ones. If you can’t be there in person with your dad, consider doing a FaceTime or Skype call with him.
Say ‘Thank You’
Thank your dad for what he’s meant to you and for the sacrifices he’s made for his family.
Savor Family Memories
Reminisce and talk about family memories—the fun times, vacation memories, holiday stories and the sweet moments you’ve shared.
Tell him what he’s done as a dad that impressed or touched you. Was it spending time together at church each week? Was it the nights he played ball in the yard with you after he’d worked a long day? Was it hearing his prayers for you or seeing him reading his Bible each day?
What Are 5 Ways You Admire Him?
Think of five qualities that you admire in your dad that you’d like to instill in your own life. Share those things with him.
Read Scripture to Him
Find a verse (or passage of Scripture) that you think describes your dad. Read that to him, and explain why you think it fits him.
READ MORE: 7 GREAT PRAYERS FOR FATHERS
Pray with Him
Pray with and for your dad. Thank God for him and what he’s meant to you, and pray for God’s blessings on his life in the years ahead.
Work on That Bucket List
Talk to your dad about his bucket list. What would he like to do if given the chance? Plan to do one (or more) of those things with him over the coming year.
Throw Your Arms Around Him!
Give him a big hug, and tell him how glad you are that he’s your dad.
Say ‘I Love You’ Out Loud
Tell him you love him. Say the words. I wish I could do these with my late dad. I really miss him on these special days. If your dad is still with you, please make the moments count.
If you didn’t enjoy a warm and loving relationship with your father, this is a great opportunity to determine that your own children will have memories of a dad who loved them and was part of their lives.
READ MORE: FATHER KNOWS BEST–BEST ADVICE FROM DADS
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She was pushing a double stroller at 7:30 a.m. I spotted her at the end of the sidewalk and pulled my dogs over into the grass where I had them sit until she passed. It was the respectful thing to do. Let’s be honest, there wasn’t room on the sidewalk for all of us. Her huge stroller. My over-sized dog.
When she drew even with me, she thanked me. That was when I saw the newborn strapped to her chest.
Three babies. All under the age of 4-years-old.
“Bless you,” I said.
She laughed ruefully.
Before she could get too far away, I added – “I have five.”
“I don’t know how you do that,” she said, her voice weary.
“Well, they are big now…”
“And you survived,” she said.
“Yes, honey, and you will too.”
She walked on. I jingled the leashes and turned toward home as the emotions of those years when all of my children were small flooded back upon me. There was always the conflict between my fierce love for my babies and the crushing weight of caring for them day after day.
“The days are long but the years are short,” someone said to me during that time. That was truth.
My heart ached for that weary mother this morning. As I resumed my walk, I prayed for her and it went something like this prayer I wrote on my blog, which FaithGateway has now made available as a free download.
Here’s the Text Version of the Prayer for the Mom with Small Children
Please renew her strength for the tasks ahead of her today. Give her wisdom, patience, and… courage. Her job is the hardest one in the world.
And when the crying, the endless chaos, the never ending demand of caring for her small children pushes her to the breaking point and she loses her patience, please Jesus, help her grant herself grace.
Please provide some kind someone to offer her a helping hand: someone to rock a baby for awhile, or read her toddler a book, or take her pre-schooler to the park.
Could you give her the equivalent of the stay at home mom lottery and cause all of her babies to take a three hour nap… at the same time?
And a hot shower too during which not one child cries.
Grant her the treasure of a cup of tea, a Psalm, and a simple prayer – lead her beside still waters, Compassionate Christ, for she needs You.
Let her find a piece of chocolate in the back of the pantry she forgot was there.
Give her a good friend to walk beside her on her journey.
I pray that she would have moments of pure joy with each of her babies today. Let them make her smile and laugh out loud so that she might taste the reward of her labors.
And when her husband walks in the door tonight, give him your eyes to see her. May he be overwhelmed by her sacrifice for his children. May he see her as more beautiful than ever before because she is pouring her life out for those babies. Let him take her in his arms and tell her so and then, Jesus, prompt him to roll up his sleeves and bathe a kid because they are in this together.
I pray that no one fights bedtime, no one has a night terror, and that the baby sleeps until morning light.
One more thing, Jesus, be very near to this mom in the moment when the last child is in bed and she sits in the quiet alone. She will be so tired and that is the very moment the accuser will come to whisper his worst. He will remind her of everything she should have done that she didn’t. He will run the replay of each moment of irritability, and every time she reached the end of her rope. Silence him, sweet Christ. May your voice be the only voice she hears. May she find rest in you and assurance that when she has given all she has and finds that in her humanity it is simply not enough, You most certainly do not condemn her.
You make up the difference.
Published with permission by Sherri Gragg, copyright Sherri Gragg, 2014. Originally published on her blog, SherriGragg.com.
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How are you doing? Did you need that Prayer for the Mom with Small Children today? If you are overwhelmed and exhausted receive this as a blessing today. And, if you’ve been there, ladies, take a moment to pray it over the moms in your circle who are in the thick of raising little ones today! Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you!