I’m willing to bet that M.D. mamas secretly troll Dr. Google for quick answers to questions about mysterious rashes and childhood ailments.
So I’ll admit that one late night recently found me googling “prayer for stressed-out mother.” (Tsk, tsk – such a poor pastoral response for a mother with a MDiv!) Yet my need was great, my desire to pray was strong, and my ability to form thoughts into words was positively shot. And despite stacks of theological volumes around me, I came up empty-handed for a prayer that spoke to my heart.
I needed someone else’s words.
While I didn’t find exactly what my Google search sought, I was delighted to uncover a treasure I’d never found before – a collection of prayers for mothers from Creighton University’s Online Ministries.
The prayer for working mothers touched my heart (and made me chuckle), but I found myself pausing at prayers that didn’t speak to my life situation. The prayer for a mother with Alzheimer’s is heart-wrenching, as is the beautiful prayer for a mother whose children are no longer at home.
What I appreciate most about these prayers is their particularity. They don’t lump experiences of motherhood into one quick blessing. Instead, each one lifts up a unique aspect of mothering. Far from closing the window to those whose lives don’t match the situation described, the sharpened focus allows prayer to reflect in many directions, like a prism’s light.
Every day perfect strangers find my blog in search of prayer. I see the words that bring them here: prayers for pregnancy, prayers for anxiety and parenting, prayers for childbirth. Sometimes I see desperate words: prayers for unexpected pregnancy, prayers for depression. I wonder if they find anything here that speaks to their need; I wonder if I could do something more to help.
But all I can do is pray my own prayers. From the particular perspective of my life, my questions, my circumstances. And yet finding those prayers for mothering that spoke about Alzheimer’s and adoption and all sorts of situations that don’t reflect my own, I realized the merits of praying the particulars: even if they are not my words, someone else’s story can shed light on my own understanding of the divine.
So I’ve started scribbling down some prayers. Prayers for particular situations that are challenging for my parenting these days. Perhaps they’ll ring true to your struggles. Or perhaps they won’t, but they’ll remind you of someone else. Or another season in your life. Or they’ll simply reflect God’s light through a part of the prism you never noticed before.
What I really hope they’ll do is inspire you to pray the particulars of your own life. Because as interesting as someone else’s words may be, the Word of God inspires each of us to speak words of our own.
So if you’re wondering just why I’ve been so stressed out lately, check back tomorrow for the first in this series. (Here’s a hint: we’re eating lots of pizza for dinner and should have bought stock in Home Depot.) Maybe by the end of the week you’ll have your own particular prayer to share, too…
What part of parenting is challenging for you this week?