Tens of thousands of Americans are marching through the streets of Washington, D.C. today. I have been among them in the past and will be again one day soon. But this year I can only join them in prayer. This is definitely one of those “with you in Spirit” moments.
I have belonged to an international Christian movement for a couple of decades now called Mothers Prayers. And in that 9 step prayer service we pray for our children and other people’s children when asked to do so or moved to do so. I have led Mothers Prayers groups in Germany and in a few locations in the states, too. It is moving and the women who participate often feel comforted by the experience and want to continue.
In many cases, as in mine, that continuation can last for years. While it has been a privilege to share Mothers Prayers for all that time, I have also found that my own faith and trust in God has grown immensely. As I tell women when I present to them for the first time, “If you’ll trust God with your children, you’ll trust Him with anything.”
I did not know when I began my first Mothers Prayers group in 1998 that this powerful prayer service would have that effect on my spiritual life, but it slowly over time dawned on me that Mothers Prayers was the reason why I had come to rely on God more and more and to worry less and less about life’s challenges. The trust I was giving Him in my prayers as a mother permeated into the other areas of my daily existence. It was gradual and it was subtle, but eventually, the result was undeniable, it was very real.
So, all of that is by introduction so I can explain that, at the end of each Mothers Prayers session I will say a few personal prayers. The rest are written in a handy little booklet that the leader reads from so all Mothers Prayers services are the same the world over. And I always include a prayer for the children who have no one to pray for them. I pray that God will provide someone in their lives who will lead them to Jesus, someone who will be Jesus for them.
We also pray for mothers. But I think, and I’m ashamed to say that for 2 decades I have been neglecting a lot of women from our prayers. While I always pray for the moms who are there and for the moms of the kids in the basket as not all their mothers are at our services, I have not prayed that often for the mothers who are expecting and not very happy about it. Or those who are despairing at the news. It’s never too late to start. From now on, I will include the mothers who did not want to be pregnant, the mothers who worry about how they will care for this child, whether it’s their first or their fifth. I will pray for mothers who don’t know that there is help for them, that people want to support them and their unborn child. I will pray for mothers who don’t fully comprehend early on that they even are carrying a tiny person within their womb.
I do pray for all of the silent intentions of each woman who comes forward and kneels or stands head bowed before the cross, and places the names of her children or child in the basket at the Lord’s feet. And so maybe sometimes, one or more of the above prayers have been in their hearts. But I don’t know – and I do know that some of those intentions for mothers I have never prayed. So, that ends today.
Yes, I am a pro-life woman, from “womb to tomb.” But I have for a while now felt that we who are pro-life need more prayers for and more help for the women who are pregnant. I know there are many resources out there, mostly sponsored by churches of various faiths, that exist to help all women in desperate situations. I think we need to ensure they are more visible. This pro-life movement has never been just about the babies, but we have not always been the best at sharing the resources that are there for mother and baby.
I know about the Gabriel Project. And I’m sure there are others. I did find several non-profits who help single mothers once they’ve had a child. But I would like to see more of the organizations who are there giving a woman hope when she finds she’s expecting and doesn’t know if she should remain so. We can’t just ask women to carry a baby to term, and deliver the child without offering a way ahead for them when they cannot see one. Whether it is adoption or another way to ensure that child gets to live and grow up, have a chance at a childhood in a loving home, and a future, we’ve got to offer more help.
I don’t view the Pro-Life March as just a protest to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. It is about raising awareness to what abortion really is. Abortion ends a life, stops a beating heart. And the farther along in her term a woman is, the more horrific the procedure is. People who are pro-life don’t want anyone to suffer or die in this circumstance. It is about raising awareness and compassion for both the woman and the person she carries within. No one wants to criminalize abortion again.
I heard a young priest one time talk about “misplaced” compassion, that is all emphasis on and concern for the woman or all emphasis on and concern for the baby, while neglecting the other person. Both are dangerous for one or the other. We must always consider mother and child.
While I work on that personally, looking for more resources and publicizing them, and maybe helping to organize one myself, here is a prayer for Life that I wrote in 2005. It’s in my book, Drowning in Lemonade – Reflections of an Army Wife so I can’t really change it here. But, I would add another line about the moms and caring for them, if I did…
May the Creator of the Universe,
The God of all that is good,
The Lord of all creation,
The Victor, the Savior,
The Lamb of God,
The Alpha and the Omega,
The Great Physician,
The Perfect Healer,
The Good Shepherd, Our Father,
Our Brother, Our Friend,
Our Defender, Our Advocate,
Our Light, Our Way, Our Truth, Our Life
Bless and protect His little ones.
May He surround them with angels,
Whether in heaven in His presence,
Or on earth in earth in their mother’s womb.
May we never lose hope in, and always work for,
The day when our nation humbly turns
To defend the unborn.
We ask this in Jesus’ Holy name.