Before You Were Born, We Prayed for You
From Gospel Translations
Five Prayers for Expecting Mothers
No parent is completely ready for their first child.
At least that’s what we’ve heard. Our first is due soon. It’s a girl, our precious daughter — we are thrilled beyond belief. She is a gift from God, a sweet treasure we don’t deserve, but one we’ve been entrusted with for as many days as her Creator has planned. Many moments, I’m stilled by the wonder of such a gift, and in the next breath I’m anxious, thinking, How on earth will we ever be ready for her?
We won’t. Not in the sense of having all the answers, or anticipating what’s coming. Perhaps we’ll be ready in the way of stuff: the baby registry, doctor appointments, showers, nursery, classes, the works (okay, maybe not the birth). These are good essentials that will help us navigate uncharted territory — but they aren’t the most valuable way we can prepare for our daughter in these expectant months.
The best thing we can do is pray.
What Our Prayerlessness Reveals
I mean this sincerely. It’s easy to toss out the word “prayer” as something Christians should do. But when the rubber hits the road — when the baby’s on the way — are we actually praying? Are we expecting it to make a difference? Do we honestly believe that petitions to God around this new season of life are more important than preparing for it in our own strength, than checking off the baby to-do list?
We can pray because we think we have to, or we can pray because we yearn to. There’s a difference. We can recognize our desperation for God and give voice to our desire for him, for his authority and action; or we can be unconvinced that prayer matters and set it aside, even unintentionally, in lieu of more tangible preparations.
Prayerlessness reveals that we’re unconvinced prayer does anything. Prayerfulness, however, declares that we believe God hears us; that he will use our pleas throughout our baby’s (and our) days; and that he’ll increase our joy in him as we draw near to the throne of grace.
My Soul Thirsts for You
Prayer is humble dependence. I’ve sought, though imperfectly, to come before our heavenly Father in this expectant season in the spirit of Psalm 63: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you.”
Though David’s immediate context may be different than ours, we resonate with the attitude of his heart. God’s people desperately need him, and we aren’t ashamed to voice our hungry and thirsty petitions: My flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water!
The heart behind our prayerfulness in this expectant season of motherhood is humble dependence on God. We cannot see the future. We cannot do all things. We cannot know what our baby will be like. But we can recognize our insufficiency and lack, our inability to control our child’s outcomes and ultimately turn his or her soul to Christ. We can worship and praise the Almighty God who’s able to do all things, and so, as David did, we lift our eyes to him in trust:
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63:2–4)
Five Prayers in Preparation for Your Baby
With this attitude of humble dependence on God through Jesus Christ, what are some specific ways we moms can pray as we prepare for our babies in this expectant time? These have been some of my pleas as of late:
1. That we would love Christ more than our daughter.
Deliver us from idolizing this precious gift, Father! May our first love always be Jesus Christ, and may we seek our supreme satisfaction in him alone. Help us to root our identity in your Son, not in our daughter.
2. That our baby would know Christ.
O God, be pleased to save our child and deliver her from the snare of death! Open her eyes to see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ from a young age. Spare her from years of wandering, and appoint her to eternal life. May it please you to deliver her from sin and death, that we may call her “sister” as well as daughter.
3. That we’ll continually entrust our baby into God’s hands.
Every good and perfect gift comes from you, God. What do we have that we did not receive, even this child? She is your possession; she is not ours to claim. Help me trust you with her delivery and her entire life; humble me to your sovereign control; reveal to me the great freedom and joy of knowing you are good and do good, always.
4. For a daily desperation for God’s Word.
Convict me that the greatest gift I can give our daughter is the good news of your Son. Incline my heart to your testimonies, so I will run hungry to your word each day! Make us ambassadors for Christ in our home by feeding us on your perfect truth so we can nourish our child with it each day.
5. That our child would love the church.
May our daughter find another home in the body of Christ and never resent our commitment to it. May she take great delight in your people, in corporate worship, in serving others, and ultimately in Jesus, the Head.
I Will Sing for Joy
Expectant mom, add your desperate petitions to these! May your joy in Jesus Christ abound as you humbly depend on him through prayer in this season of preparation. May you sing along with David —
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips…
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:5, 7–8)