One of the best things about blogging is seeing what brings perfect strangers to your writing. Everyday I can see the list of searches that bring people here.
And what brings more visitors to my blog than anything else?
Over time many of these searches were phrased in ways that broke my heart, that found me wondering about the back stories, even sending a quick prayer out to whomever searched and arrived here. Things like:
“prayer for anxious pregnant woman”
“prayers for pregnancy help”
“prayers for unexpected pregnancy”
The growing number of searches I see for “prayers for anxiety in pregnancy” has reaffirmed for me how worried, even desperate, women (and perhaps men) can be in the face of pregnancy. It is not always the blissful nine months of joy and expectation that the baby industry paints in pretty pastels.
There are lots of reasons to be anxious and troubled during pregnancy.
Medical reasons: previous miscarriages, a history of infertility, underlying health concerns, unexpected prenatal diagnoses, prepartum depression.
Financial reasons: an unplanned pregnancy, the loss of a job, the added strain of one more mouth to feed.
Emotional reasons: uncertainty about parenthood, fears for its effect on a marriage or other relationship, stress about the responsibilities it brings.
To say nothing of the run-of-the-mill pregnancy worries:
Is my baby healthy?
Am I healthy?
Will my baby come too early?
Can I handle the pain of childbirth?
So when I was reading through the Book of Psalms and I came across this familiar one, I read it with new eyes and realized that Psalm 139 is a perfect prayer for anxiety in pregnancy.
We’ve all heard those reassuring words, the comforting images of God’s hand holding us wherever we go and the beautiful idea that God has known us intimately from our first days in our mother’s womb.
But I had never before reflected on the fact that the psalmist unites the two – comfort in anxiety and the experience of pregnancy – in a way that speaks directly to those who are facing anguish during this time of waiting and worry.
So today I offer this prayer for all of you who stumble onto this page searching for some word of peace in an anxious time. May the God who knows us from the darkness of the womb bring us comfort in the light of day.O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the winds of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them – they are more than the sand;
I come to the end – I am still with you. (Psalm 139: 1-18)
All will be well and all will be well; all manner of things will be well.
– Julian of Norwich