Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


My Father-of-the-Bride Toast

posted by Mark Herringshaw

It rained on Saturday, the day my daughter, Ellie married Andy. It rained from the skies and it rained from heaven. In every way, the day was a slice out of heaven. I can’t imagine that more joy could be possible on this planet. As father of the bride, I offered a toast at the reception dinner. I offered my blessing. I offer it here below on behalf of all fathers of the bride who pray for the blessed best of their precious daughters.

What’s a father to do?

 The truth is, we Dads can feel like a third wheel. We won’t admit that, accept in times like this, when vulnerability is finally allowed, but with our daughters, we’re all thumbs. Sons, that’s another matter. I feel admiration, irritation, and pride with and in them. I can say, “Look me in the eye, son and don’t give me that line. I know what you’re thinking.” With my daughters I’ve never been able to catch up. it’s been all wonder, confusion and amazement.

From day one it’s been like this… Ellie, I did get to run red lights driving at break neck speed for 30 miles to race you to the hospital. A dad can do that… that was cool. But once the real action started, I wasn’t needed. I went to the Lamaze classes, read the stuff and practiced the coaching moves. That was a project  and I thought, “I can do this.” Then in transition labor, when I was down next to your mother’s face, encouraging her on… Let’s just keep this clean… She didn’t need me; she didn’t want me. And you were born…

And it’s been a bit like that since. You come to dear old Dad for advice, for an anchor point to your identity – you carried my name until 2 hours ago – and perhaps for a picture of your future. But your secrets, your fears, your dreams shared in long hours of mutual dialog, that is your mother’s privilege. The truth is, I didn’t and couldn’t really understand.

What’s a father to do?  Ellie, you are a well too deep for me. You bring a wonder that is over my head. When I saw first saw you this afternoon in this pure white gown, in things old, borrowed and new, I knew, “Yes, there is a God. A Hope this amazing, could never come from me…” So hre we are again, Belle, playing dress up, playacting and pretending the Big Story, the final wedding from the final page of history.

Here’s what a father can do… Ellie, walking with you down the aisle, saying the words, “Her Mother and I,” and then entrusting your hand with Andy, I have found my place. I haven’t really known my role, until now. The bitter sweet side is that at the moment I find my role and what this has all been about, at that moment I let you go and you’re gone.

So what’s a father of a daughter to do, now?

Jesus has words for everything that matters. When in doubt, I turn to him. Jesus says, “If someone asks for your shirt, give your coat as well.”

Someone has asked for my daughter. What do I say? I always wondered, and now it has happened.

Andy, today you asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage. I said my own, “I dd.” I gave her away, willingly, joyfully, and hopefully to you. Her mother and I do this because we’ve grown to love and trust you.

To Dennis and Janice, your parents thank you for such a young man. You have raised him well, as a man of honor, a man of excellence, man of many passions and one love, and a man of God. We prayed for him through the years, not knowing his name. But you have done the hard work. And for this day we offer our gratitude to you both. And to all our guests… please don’t imagine that Jill and I could have offered such a splendid, inclusive celebration such as this on our own!

Andy, I’ve given Ellie because you have asked. But as Jesus commands, I give what’s asked AND something more: I give my blessing. Ellie and Andy, I bless you and your new life. This, finally is my Father’s right and gift. I bless you both.

Andy and Ellie, the two of you will bring joy into the world. May your new home know peace – SHALOM – where everything is as it should be, as God intends. May your marriage become a lighthouse of HOPE… This is my prophetic declaration: Your name, Elisabeth, is ELISABTH HOPE. You will fulfill your destiny together with Andy. Together you will be a sign in a world that does not believe, that HOPE is real! Let this be so!

Join me, all… I am father and THIS IS WHAT A FATHER CAN DO… Join me in blessing my Daughter and my new Son, Elisabeth and Andrew!



  • http://Amen John W.

    Well said, Mark.

    JW ( Father of two daughters)

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