Father’s Day is fast approaching, and many churches across the country will take time during their worship services to honor those men who are blessed to be fathers. We believe fatherhood should be celebrated, particularly in churches that affirm life. For Life Team members, pastors, and worship leaders who are looking for ways to equip your church to affirm life in the beauty of the gospel, Father’s Day presents a powerful opportunity to do so.
However, we are not only called to rejoice with those who rejoice; we are also called to weep with those who weep. And for many, Father’s Day brings about much more weeping than rejoicing. There are likely to be people in your church who have recently lost their father, or people who have never known their father. There may be men who are mourning their wife’s recent miscarriage and men who are waiting to be united with their adoptive children. There are men who are struggling with unwanted singleness and others who feel called to lifelong singleness. There are even men who desperately need God’s forgiveness for pressuring women to abort their unwanted children.
With the wide range of emotions present in your church on Father’s Day, what does it look like to wholeheartedly celebrate fathers while still acknowledging and coming alongside those for whom Father’s Day carries a bittersweet taste at best?
We believe that there are many good answers to that question. The one I present to you here is to ask your church to pray two Father’s Day prayers: a prayer of rejoicing on Father’s Day and a prayer of mourning on the Sunday before Father’s Day. This will allow those in your church for whom Father’s Day carries mixed emotions to have time the week beforehand to process what they are feeling, to experience the power of prayer, and to know that they are not alone in what they are going through. Then Father’s Day itself can carry a celebratory tone for those who have had the immense blessing of having or being a father who reflects the Heavenly Father well.
Pastors, worship leaders, and Life Team members: we encourage you to use the following prayers in your church worship service during the time of corporate prayer. Feel free to use parts of them or all of them, depending on what suits your church’s typical worship service format.
A Prayer for the Sunday before Father’s Day (June 10, 2018)
[A Sample Introduction] As we prepare for our time of corporate prayer today, we want to do something a little different. Next Sunday is Father’s Day, and for many of you that means a time to celebrate with your dad or rejoice in the gift of being a dad. However, for many, Father’s Day gives rise to some difficult emotions. God’s Word calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. Next Sunday we will rejoice and celebrate fatherhood, but today we want to spend our prayer time bringing before our Heavenly Father those people for whom Father’s Day is more a time for weeping than a time for rejoicing. Please join with me in prayer . . .
[Prayer] Heavenly Father, thank you for being a perfect, loving Father who never leaves us and never forsakes us. Today we ask for your grace, comfort, and healing for those who will have a hard time celebrating Father’s Day next week.
For those who have lost their father, especially those for whom this will be the first Father’s Day since their father’s passing . . . we pray for your comforting presence.
For those who are separated from their fathers or children by geographical distance . . . we pray for the opportunity to be together again soon.
For those who have strained relationships with their father or children . . . we pray that you, the God of reconciliation, would mend those broken relationships.
For those who never knew their father . . . we pray for your fatherly love to be felt all the more.
For those struggling with infertility . . . we pray for your peace, patience, and provision.
For those who have lost a child . . . we pray that your presence would be felt in the midst of mourning.
For those whose wives have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth . . . we pray for your healing hand.
For those who are enduring the lengthy process of adoption . . . we pray for patience, strength, finances, and for the child to soon be brought safely home.
For those who are called to lifelong singleness . . . we pray for close friendships and renewed strength in the areas of service you’ve called them to.
For those who are struggling with unwanted singleness . . . we pray that they would trust and treasure you above all else and that you would provide for them as you see fit.
For those who have pressured women toward abortion . . . we pray for their repentance, forgiveness, and freedom from guilt or shame.
For single mothers . . . we pray for energy, wisdom, patience, and love.
For those who have suffered physical, verbal, or sexual abuse at the hands of a father . . . we pray for long-term healing for the victim and justice and forgiveness for the perpetrator.
For those who have physically, verbally, or sexually abused their own children — or any of your children . . . we pray that your Holy Spirit will change their heart and remove their guilt.
Father, we thank you for sending your one and only Son, Jesus, to live, die, and rise for us so that we might become your sons and daughters through adoption. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to be our Comforter, which we desperately need in this world marred by sin. We pray all of this in the name of your Son, Jesus, by your Spirit. Amen.
A Prayer for Father’s Day (June 17, 2018)
[A Sample Introduction] Last week during our prayer time we brought before God the many people in our church and community who experience grief, sadness, anger, and hurt surrounding Father’s Day. God’s Word calls us both to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. Today we want to celebrate God’s good gift of fathers by offering a prayer of thanksgiving, which I will lead, ending with The Lord’s Prayer, which we will pray together in unison. Please join with me in prayer . . .
[Prayer] Heavenly Father, thank you for being the perfect Father to your people and for giving us earthly fathers to reflect your goodness.
Thank you for giving us fathers to lead our families financially and spiritually.
Thank you for giving men courage to boldly follow you in pursuing adoption, foster care, and raising children, when our culture so readily promotes abortion and abandonment.
Thank you for the gift of elders and spiritual fathers in the church who lead us and come alongside younger men.
Thank you for the grace of fatherhood, which allows men to grow in holiness by learning to love more deeply, serve more sacrificially, and seek forgiveness more quickly.
Thank you once again for making us your children through the finished work of your Son, Jesus, and for making us more like him through the ongoing work of your Spirit.
Now we pray together the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples, saying . . .
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
 Romans 12:15
 Taken from Matthew 6:9-13 in the English Standard Version