Father in heaven,
Thank you for the joy and mystery it is to carry a baby in our womb. At the first sensation of their movement, we can hardly believe that it is life we nourish within us. Thank you for the miracle of each baby grown from a seed invisible to the naked eye. You knit and thread together their bodies, all of it a fearful and wonderful work. The days of each of these children is written, and your thoughts about them cannot be measured. How vast is the sum of them!
When there are medical concerns for either the unborn baby or the mother, grant them into the hands of able physicians. When there are circumstances of either financial worry, marital tensions, or simply a sense of unpreparedness, give each pregnant mother a peace that passes understanding. For the mothers who must stay at home under orders of bed rest, be present to them in their increasing boredom, and help them fight any kind of depression, which might threaten to descend. And when the difficult trial is visited upon a mother (and father) to lose a baby prematurely, nurture in them a steadfast faith that You are still good. Be close at hand, loving and listening to their breaking hearts.
Thank you for the birth of every child that happens routinely, and for the expert medical care on which we have learned to rely in our part of the world. It is a privilege of which we are mindful today. When babies are born healthy, we rejoice in their first cries. And when we hold them close to our chest for the first time, our heart explodes with mother love. Thank you for the chance to draw a small step closer to Your heart and love, Father, for the 7 billion people to whom You’ve given breath on our spinning planet.
We confess how terrifying it at times feels to have the responsibility for living, breathing human beings. The care of an infant can feel especially demanding and exhausting, especially when we are plagued for a constant sense of perplexity (why are they crying?) and a chronic fear of inadequacy. Grant new mothers an inclination to pray, rather than worry. To You, Father, who feeds sparrows, may they look for practical advice, peace, and physical strength each day. Help them when they are desperate for a full night’s sleep. Help them when their bodies feel worn out by the demands of nursing. Help them when choices must be made about when and if they will return to work.
For each of these new families, may bringing a baby into the home be cause for praise and thanksgiving. The human body is a masterpiece: the intricate sculpting of fingers and toes, the rise and fall of a baby’s chest while sleeping, the instinctual ability of a baby to suck. It is all a marvel, bringing us closer to the awe that this world is indeed Yours, every person Your CREATION.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother,
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131