I’m writing a book of prayers for pregnancy. (Slowly. Painfully slowly. Almost like pregnancy itself…)
I wanted to write this book partly because of my desire for a good (i.e., theologically sound, personally engaging, poetically written, honest and hopeful) guide to the spiritual side of pregnancy.
But the main reason I felt called to write this book?
Because strangers write to me every single day asking for prayers for pregnancy.
They want prayers for trying to conceive. Or prayers for pregnancy after miscarriage. They’ve been struggling with infertility. Or they’re dealing with unplanned pregnancies. They’re women and men. Single, married, and divorced. Across the globe and across religions.
And their prayers have become mine.
I remember them every night before I go to sleep, the seekers who share with me the holy gift of praying with them through joy and sorrow, hope and fear. I remember their names and hold their stories close to my heart.
It feels like a rare and undeserved gift to have people trust me with their deepest longings and ask me to walk with them, even in small ways, as they look for God in their journey to become parents.
In the quiet lulls when life gets busy and blogging falls silent, these seekers keep the site humming behind the scenes. Some days I think I should close up shop and just let the pray-ers take over. Because they have become the lifeblood.
Maybe you are one of them.
Many of you have subscribed to Mothering Spirit because you found your way here through prayers for pregnancy. I’m grateful for your support. Even more for your inspiration. You keep me reflecting and writing and praying about pregnancy, even when it’s not the rhythm of my life.
And you’ve taught me, too.
As I’m deep into this book-writing season, here are 5 truths my readers have taught me about prayer and pregnancy:
1. Prayer is universal.
Every new blogger is taught that all their international hits come from spammers. (Because most of them do.) But after a few years of sharing prayers for pregnancy, I started noticing that prayer requests were arriving from every continent. From real people who shared real stories of hope and despair.
Sometimes the broken English is hard to decipher, but not the gut-longing behind the words. That I will never forget. Infertility is a haunting ghost, even after kids arrive.
So from Ireland to India, your invitations to pray remind me that prayer is a cross-cultural, interfaith, deeply human practice. You draw me out of my own small world each day, and I could not be more grateful for an ever-expanding prayer list.
2. We need each other.
People are lonely, anxious, and fearful. They want someone to hear them. I have never met a person who does not meet this most-human description. Yet we can spend so much of our days fooling ourselves into independence, imagining ourselves as individuals on our own.
Every comment and emailed plea for prayers from another hopeful parent-to-be teaches me how we are made for each other. In our darkest hours, we seek solace, support, and even a stranger’s promise of prayer.
Each new morning I am floored to think anyone would ask me to pray for them. But I do – because I know I need it, too.
3. The earlier, the better.
I’m fascinated to find that most pray-ers who come to Mothering Spirit are trying to conceive or are at the very beginning of their pregnancies. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised: my first trimesters have historically been so rough I can barely Google for help.
But all these parents seeking prayers for months 1/2/3 have made me wonder if this might be the thin place of pregnancy. The tender early weeks, when hope is all we’ve got.
The early birds remind me that there is no need too new or yearning too fresh that it cannot be brought to prayer. I would do well to follow your lead and remember to pray as they proverbially vote in Chicago: early and often.
4. God is good.
You would not believe the stories of suffering that strangers share with me. Multiple miscarriages, years of infertility, grief after stillbirth, devastating prenatal diagnoses, past abortions – the list goes on and on. And yet.
You would also not believe the resilience of people’s faith. The hope they find in God’s promise. The love with which they wait to welcome a child. Sometimes I cannot hold a candle to their convictions. And this is again the power of prayer: we pull each other through.
My readers remind me that God is good. The only thing I dare to do on these pages is the same.
5. Prayer changes us.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes the one who offers it.”
Praying for all these couples, for all their children, for all these years, has changed me. Is changing me. Will continue to change me.
Prayer is the breaking open of the heart, the broadening of the soul’s view, the widening of faith’s eyes beyond what vision holds possible.
When I started this blog five years ago, I would never have dreamed of writing a book on pregnancy, with prayers and practices to find God on the path to parenthood. But I have been changed by the prayers of those who share slivers of their journeys with me here.
So I am writing this for you.
. . .
And if you, dear reader, want to tune in and hear more, I’m delighted to share that I will be on Relevant Radio’s Morning Air program next Wednesday, August 5, at 7:45 EST – talking about parenting, writing, and Everyday Sacrament!
Click here to listen to the interview live or to find the archives after the show. (Especially if you do not delight in rising with the dawn. Unlike my darling children.)