Did you know that 1 in 4 children live without a father in the home, in the United States?
This means there is no biological or adoptive father, nor a stepfather. Perhaps you are in a household without a father present.
Just as mothers play a unique role in the life of a child, so does a father. When you do not have a father in your life, there are vital aspects of upbringing and parenting that are lost or diminished.
Jesus talked of this when he said:
“And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven” (Matthew 23.9, NIV).
His intent was to reassure us that, ultimately, we have a heavenly Father, regardless of what our earthly situation is. There is encouragement in knowing that God is looking out for us and guiding us according to his will and his plan.
Your circumstances as to why your dad is absent are personal and surrounded by deep emotions. The prayers offered here are for you to use, as you have need. I cannot envision every scenario that led to you having an absent father- whether it’s financial, substance-related, a death, or anything else. But these prayers are a starting point for you to begin to pray. You are welcome to modify any of the prayers to suit your specific situation.
We invite you to share your comments and personal prayer requests at the end of this article.
A Brief Prayer For an Absent Father
Dear Lord, I really wish my dad was around, but he is not. I don’t know where he is since he took off a couple of months ago. I feel like I’ve been abandoned. My mom feels like she’s been abandoned. Why would he just leave? Did we do something to make him want to leave? God, I pray for him to come back and for his safety. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Prayer For an Absent Father Due to Military Service
Dear God, my father was called up by the military three months ago. He said it was for a six-month deployment, but now it’s going to be longer. I know he’s serving his country and all of that, but I don’t like him not being here.
He’s missed my birthday and so many things at school. I see the other students with their dads at school events and I feel terrible. I wish he could have been here to see me perform and play. Those moments don’t come back.
And when he gets back, I can’t really catch him up on all that he has missed. I just miss him and want him to be back at home. Please keep him safe and help me to make it through each week without him here. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Prayer For an Absent Father Due to Illness
God, this makes week five that my dad has been in the hospital. He has some hard to pronounce disease that makes it impossible for him to be at home right now. I hate that disease!
Because he’s in the hospital, he has not been around to help me with my homework, or give me pointers as I do the yard work. I know he’s still alive, but it feels like he has died. We’ve all just adjusted somehow to him not being here, even though we miss him.
I feel bad about having thoughts and emotions like these but I lift them to you in prayer. Please help me, Lord. I want my dad to be back at home and healthy, not in the hospital hooked up to tubes and machines. I pray to strengthen my faith and to keep hope alive in my heart. I make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer For an Absent Father Due to Work Shift
God in heaven, I haven’t really seen my father in two months. I leave for school before he gets home from his shift at work and I go to bed when he departs to start his shift. When I get home, he usually is sleeping.
I’m glad he has a job and an income to help support our family, but it’s like he’s left the family, even though I know he’s just at work. All the usual times I’d kid around with him or just have him around are gone. His presence was a comfort for me.
I don’t want to feel like this and I haven’t mentioned my feelings to anyone, which is why I’m praying to you, Lord. I love my dad and just want to have some time to be with him, but right now that is not possible and it hurts. Help his employer to move him back to a day shift, or some type of normal shift so I can see my dad again. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Prayer For an Absent Father Due to Divorce
Jesus, my parents have gotten a divorce and now I only see my father in the summer months and on certain holidays. I don’t know all the reasons why they divorced but they did and now it affects me. I love my mom and I love my dad.
Not having him around has really influenced my mood. Even when I know I’ll get to see him at a certain time, the day-to-day reality is that it feels like he is dead and gone. Like I’ll never see him again. I’m having a hard time having an absent father.
I used to think that term was for men who ran away from their families and just abandoned them. Now I know it means that a dad is not in the home. I never thought this would happen to me but now I am living it. I don’t like this at all.
I’m not praying for my parents to get back together, necessarily. I just want to have my father around more often. I wish he lived closer to us. I wish he was still in the house every day. Help me to deal with this Lord, as much of it is beyond my control. I miss my dad. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.
Prayer For an Absent Father Due to Travel
God, my dad is never around. He’s always traveling for his job to somewhere else besides here. I’m grateful he has a job and income and all of the provision you provide through his job. But I wish he could make a living doing something else so he didn’t have to be gone all the time.
He leaves Sunday night and usually gets home late on Friday, or sometimes on Saturday morning. So, I see him for maybe 24 hours. He’s never here for any of my school events or activities. I joined one of the sports teams last year and he’s never seen me play. Not once.
Can you lead him to another job, Lord? I really am having a hard time with him being gone so much. Help me Jesus, I pray, Amen.
Our relationships with our fathers are different than our relationships with our mothers. When a father is not around, or is just gone, it can be very hard, even devastating.
Although we can look to God as our heavenly Father, we still sometimes want an earthly dad right here, right now. We want to hear him cheer for us from the stands. We want to have him hug us and kiss on the forehead. We want to smell his cologne or aftershave. We want to hear his laughter. We want our dad to be here, not absent for some reason we typically have no control over at all.
Still, sometimes our only comfort is the comfort found in scripture about our relationship with God. A prophet reminds us:
“Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us?” (Malachi 2.10, NIV).
When our dad has left, the Psalmist reminds us that we are not alone:
“Though my father forsake me,
the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27.10, NIV).
Absentee fathers are not around for a myriad of reasons. It is easy for their children, regardless of their age, to think that their fathers are not around because of something they have done, or not done. Each dad makes their own decisions about why they have to be gone from their families.
For some, they have to because of demanding work or other responsibilities they have committed to–things that matter. Others are not around due to situations beyond their control, like health complications. And yes, there are some who simply leave their children for selfish reasons.
Whatever the situation, the children feel alone. We miss our father and want him to be near. Let these prayers bring you in close to the Father who is always loving and always with you, even if you cannot see him. You can also teach your child to pray their own prayers, even if they’re very young. May the words of the Psalmist be an encouragement for you to cling to in your hardest moments:
“Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9.10, NIV).