Father of all fathers, and of Jesus Christ our Lord,
Fatherhood is a great mystery. The calling is majestic, and the dangers real. We love our children, and we long to love them better, but we fail so frequently.
We worship you as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and marvel at the perfect fellowship you enjoy with him. He is your pristine image, the radiance of your manifold perfections. You love him with an infinite fullness of love, and your love is returned in fullest measure.
We are therefore amazed at the choice you have made, together with him.
For sending him into our world, for crushing him at the cross, for raising him from the dead, and for seating him at your right hand — so that we might be reconciled to you and adopted back into your family — we are astonished, and we bow in worship.
Now may we shadow you, our Father, until we become your shadow to our own sons and daughters.
your truth to shape us,
your love to fill us,
your wisdom to guide us,
your strength to gird us,
and your grace to cover us.
Instill in us
the virtue to lead,
the wisdom to instruct,
and the fortitude to endure.
Form in us integrity our children can trust, and faith they can follow. Teach us to love them on their worst days, and especially our worst days.
Teach us to know your Word, our times, and their hearts, so that we might steer them well through the storm-tossed harbor, till we commit them fully to you and release them to the open seas.
With all our fatherly burdens, help us
love without reservation,
discipline without anger,
teach without hypocrisy,
listen without distraction,
and care without coddling.
Make us men who
and listen long,
Make our wisest words sink in, and our most foolish fade away.
May they remember mainly the smile of our favor, and recall our anger and disappointment only in ways that warn them well against the many wanderings that will tempt them in days to come.
When those days arrive, and they stumble and fall, help us bring the gentle conviction and abundant mercy you yourself have shown us.
All along the way, help us at all times
to do all that we should do,
say all that we should say,
give all that we should give,
and withhold all that we should withhold.
Raise us up as we raise them up. Forgive our sins as we forgive our children’s. Protect our hearts so that we might protect theirs.
Grant them Godspeed and safe passage, Lord, for you know how much we love them, how much we fear for them, how our hearts swell at their best joys and ache over their follies and sins and sufferings.
Answer these prayers, our Father, that our children might know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, rise together like a mighty host, and give body and soul in faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Be merciful to us, O Lord, and to these little ones you have given us to love in your name.
Make our children yours, we pray,
In the name of your Son, our Lord,