Father in Heaven,
We thank you that you relate to us as a father. You are our good Father who delights to give his children good gifts. You are the father who runs after his lost children — whether we run away from you or we try to earn your favor by our good deeds.
Show us the kind ways how you parent us — how you surround us like a house, how you shelter us under the shadow of your wings. Show us your intimate care as we care for our own families today.
Today, we confess our worries from yesterday. We confess all the ways specifically we’ve let the cares, concerns, and opinions of others shape how we respond to our families, our closest neighbors. We confess all the ways in which we’ve used our families to puff up our importance, or how we’ve been slow to see our sin.
Forgive us, Father, for the ways we’ve used spouses, friends, children, relatives, to make us feel seen and worthy.
Forgive us for looking to our roles — as mother, wife, friend, colleague — to define if we’re worthy of love and belonging. Thank you, Father, that even in our mess you see us. Even in our sadness, grief, fear, doubts, and ways where we forget you, you call us your beloved child.
Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that we have a Savior who was the perfect Son — who perfectly obeyed the law of God on our behalf. Thank you that Jesus did all that we couldn’t do, so that we could be beloved sons and daughters of God.
We thank you for our families. Some of our families are rent by dissension, frustration, and betrayal. Others, still, are places where it’s hard to be ourselves. Thankfully, some families are places where we grow and thrive, where we parent and are parented from grace.
Relationships are both beautiful and broken.
Whatever our family dynamics, we pray that today, we would experience your redemptive parenting. We need to see ourselves as you see us. We need to have safe places to make mistakes, say “I’m sorry,” and ask for forgiveness. We start today, with our Father God who tenderly cares for us.
We confess we can easily be overwhelmed with all that needs doing as we love our families. We know that our relationships with our family can also be strained, because they’re the most intimate.
We know we’ll try to make ourselves feel seen by the ways we get angry, frustrated, sad, and lonely with our families. We know you see this, and yet you love us, and you forgive us because of Jesus.
We pray for your eyes — to see our families how you see each member of our family. Help us not be ruled by our to-do list and emotional responses. Help us offer love as a gift to each member of our family today.
We have much to do today. There are errands and relationships; dinner to make and work to do. Yet we know we’re not alone. We know we do not love others alone or in our own strength.
Give us your strength to see ourselves and our families how you see us. As we move in our own families today, we pray we can see you more clearly. As we go about our work, may we see how it reflects your goodness. As we love our spouses, may we see love as a gift that comes from your love for us. As we parent children, may we count it a privilege to shape little people. May they know they are loved, they are safe, and they have worth and dignity because they are made in your image.
When our children fall apart, let us move towards them rather than walling them out. When our spouses are distracted and tired, let us listen well. When our friends are hurting or distracted, let us ask good questions that draw them closer to you. When we’re tired and hurt, may we express our needs but always come to you first, confident that you parent us well.
Today we know we will fail. When we fail, may we run quickly to you. May we start again. We rejoice because your love is greater than our failures.
Slow us down. Remind us of your great love and mercy. Let us love our families well because you first loved us.
We give you our days with our families, knowing you will work to bring about the good for each member, and you will receive glory. May we be families who love well.
Ashley Hales is a writer, speaker, church planter’s wife, and mom to 4 littles in southern California. Ashley has written for places such as The Gospel Coalition, Books & Culture, and ThinkChristian and is writing her first book, Finding Holy in the Suburbs (IVP). Be sure to connect with her at her blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Subscribe to get a free booklet on how to practice sustained attention and chase beauty right where you are.
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