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Gratitude for Dad

All my dad ever wanted was for us to grow up to be good, honest God-fearing people.

He worked hard to put food on the table, clothes on my body, a roof over my head and provide my education. He never asked for a special thanks for those things. We all tried our best in our own ways to be fine, upstanding human beings, which I think was our a way of indirectly saying “thank you” to him. 

As I think about Father’s Day, my thoughts turn to my Heavenly Father. Just like my dad never needed special thanks to be our provider and protector, God’s goodness toward us is not dependent on our acknowledgement and gratitude. But is it enough to just be be fine upstanding human beings for God? The Scriptures indicate that God desires to hear our praise, our gratitude for who He is and what He does (see Hebrews 12:28, Ephesians 5:20, Psalm 107:1). That this is the appropriate response of someone who understands the gift, and the Giver, of life and blessing (see Luke 17:11-19).

There’s also hidden blessing in a lifestyle of gratitude. When I became a mother, I had a profound realization that showing appreciation and gratitude don’t just benefit the recipient— the act of expressing gratitude actually strengthens our own character and well being.

A posture of thankfulness means not taking things for granted, or feeling entitled, understanding that everything that comes their way is in large part due the effort of many individuals coupled with the grace of God. Mental health professionals actually agree that gratitude improves physical health, psychological health, improves sleep and increases self esteem.

So, on Father’s Day, I want to publicly thank my dad, who is now in heaven, and my husband. Thank you for loving me like our Heavenly Father loves us. I wouldn’t be the God-fearing person I am today without the lessons you’ve taught me.

A Prayer for Fathers

Heavenly Father,

Today we ask You to bless our earthly fathers for the many times they reflected the love, strength, generosity, wisdom and mercy that You exemplify in Your relationship with us, Your children. We honor our fathers for putting our needs above their own convenience and comfort; for teaching us to show courage and determination in the face of adversity; for challenging us to move beyond self-limiting boundaries; for modeling the qualities that would turn us into responsible, principled, caring adults.

Not all our fathers lived up to these ideals. Give them the grace to acknowledge and learn from their mistakes. Give us the grace to extend to them the same forgiveness that you offer us all. Help us to resist the urge to stay stuck in past bitterness, instead, moving forward with humility and peace of heart.
Give new and future fathers the guidance they need to raise happy and holy children, grounded in a love for God and other people –and remind these fathers that treating their wiveswith dignity, compassion and respect is one of the greatest gifts they can give their children.
We pray that our fathers who have passed into the next life have been welcomed into Your loving embrace, and that our family will one be day be reunited in your heavenly kingdom.