After a much-too-long hiatus, I'm inspired to write again by the realities of this Advent season. I'm now at an age where my conversations with friends and family are more about pregnancy, babies, and child-rearing than they are about dating and weddings. It's a new stage for many of us, and with that new stage come new prayers. Here is one.
God of Advent Expectancy,
You chose a courageous young woman named Mary to birth your presence and promise into the world. Through her nurture and labor, you became Emmanuel, God-With-Us. And so in this season of anticipation, we pray for all expectant mothers who are preparing to bring your children into the world.
As Mary, nervous about her new condition, fled to the home of her cousing Elizabeth, we pray for all those form whom pregnancy is a frightening prospect. We pray for teenage moms and women with high-risk pregnancies. We pray for first-time mothers, alarmed by nausea and concerned about all the changes that await them. We pray for women who tremble at the prospect of raising their children alone. We pray for women who have struggled with infertility, who worry daily that something will go wrong. Give all these women peace and courage, Lord. Help us to become a community that offers them support and care.
As Mary had to travel to Bethlehem while great with child, we pray for mothers who face travail and danger. We pray for refugee mothers and migrant mothers, who flee violence, war, persecution, and poverty seeking better lives for themselves and their children. We pray for mothers in war zones and areas of conflict, and for those whose homes are places of abuse and fear. We pray for mothers-to-be struggling with nausea and exhaustion, who must carry forth with the tasks at hand without regard for their own health. Strengthen these women, Mothering God, for the challenges they face. Help us to build a world that gives safety and shelter to the vulnerable.
As Mary gave birth in a stable with no midwife, we pray for mothers who lack access to medical care. We pray for women living in places where doctors and medical facilities are unavailable. We pray also for women who cannot afford the care they and their children need. Send your healing Spirit to enfold them. Move in our world to inspire us to care for all in need.
Be born anew in our hearts, Holy One, that we might learn to love as you love and to bear your presence into the world through the good news of Jesus Christ, the Emmanuel. Amen.