Many people carry father wounds. We all have a deep longing for a father’s love. These reflection questions will help you on the path to healing.

You have father wounds if your dad was abusive, harsh, absent, addicted, perfectionistic, unpredictable, or emotionally distant. These are some of the positive qualities that children need from their dad: supportive of mom, good character, generous provider, gentle and strong protector, compassionate and kind, listens with empathy, affirms and blesses your gender identity, and encourages your gifts and emerging adulthood.

What your relationship with your father was like when you were younger and how you’ve dealt with that has a lot to do with who you are today and how you see and relate to God as your heavenly Father. Some people’s lives are devastated by father wounds. Others are left with a void in their soul which they can’t seem to fill or they suffer from a lack of confidence, especially with male authority figures. Despite our best intentions we may perpetuate the pain of our father wounds onto our own children and others.

Whatever your experience (or lack of it) with your father, being aware of your emotions, memories, and needs will help you. It’s important to share the results of this inventory with a Soul Friend and pray together about your relationship with your father. Together seek God’s comfort and healing for your father wounds.

Father Dialogues *

Complete any statements below that help you to express your heart about your relationship with your father:

I wish…

I miss…

I really enjoyed it when you…

It was painful for me when you…

I am angry that…

I forgive you for…

Thank you for…

Talking to your Father in an Empty Chair

Using the Father Wounds and Longings Inventory in a small group or on retreat can be a powerfully healing experience. (Of course, it needs to be done in a safe community with confidentiality and compassion.)

Here’s a way to do this:

  • Have everyone gather with a partner or in triads. (You may want to have people do this by gender and choosing friends sitting nearby.)
  • Each person then takes a turn talking to his or her father in an empty chair. They can use their Father Wounds and Longings Inventory to help them express their emotions, memories, and needs to their father.
  • The helper(s) stand beside listening, perhaps with a hand on the shoulder, offering emotional support and silent prayer.
  • When the person is done then the helpers take turns sharing some of the “Bible Verses on the Father’s Love” that seem to be especially comforting, personalizing them by using the person’s name. Then after sharing a few verses the helpers can share their own prayer or words of comfort.

* Adapted from my friend Joe Johnson, founder of “Heart of the Father Ministries.” Contact “Papa Joe” for healing prayer ministry appointments, seminars, and retreats: pastorjoejohnson@gmail.com.


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