Gracious and merciful God,
Our Lord Jesus Christ instructed us to pray to You as Our Father, and in so doing He taught us of your care, concern, and attentiveness to those of us whom You are pleased to call Your children. As our Father, we are more valuable to You than the birds and flowers that experience Your provision.
O God, we do not deserve to be able to address you as Father. But we gratefully address you in this way because You were pleased to adopt us as your children through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the eternal Son of God.
As we come to this day dedicated to celebrating the fathers in our lives, we thank You for those in our lives who have modeled Your fatherhood to us: fathers, grandfathers, mentors, pastors who have cared for us, taught us, provided for us, and put our needs above their own. Fill us with fresh appreciation for them, and let us that appreciation be expressed in words of encouragement to them.
Father, this can also be a day of pain. Today brings to mind faithful fathers who are sadly no longer with us. God, we thank you for their influence and for placing them in our lives. Today also brings to mind memories of those who did not model your fatherhood well: fathers who took care of themselves instead of us, who did not protect us, or guide us. Lord, remind us that You are grieved by this, and that while they failed us, You do not. Remind us of our preciousness in Your eyes and your attentiveness to us.
Lord, we lift up the fathers in our lives to You now: our own who continue to father us into old age, husbands who father our children, and spiritual fathers You have placed into the lives of our family. Help them to model Your own fatherhood. Help them to put the needs of their children above their own, to protect them, to be patient with them, and to be a wise and reliable guide to them as they walk through this life. And let them do this joyfully, not under compulsion. Let them see their task as a privilege and an opportunity to demonstrate Your care to others.