Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Prayer for a world in labor

One week ahead of Christmas Eve. One week ahead of remembering, focusing on, pondering the birth of the baby that changed the world. The birth of that baby on a night when there was no room for them in the inn. Born to a teenager. I've spend a lot of time over a long period of time thinking about what that night, that holy night, that painful night, that frightening night must have been like for Mary and Joseph and their newborn miracle.

Tonight, I heard Amanda tell a story of labor and delivery. Of waiting. Of fear. Of trust.
Of wishing for a predictable, controllable delivery. And how rarely that happens.
Contractions. Pain. Waiting. Hoping. Relief.
After a discussion of Amanda's story, I had the chance to close our time together in prayer.
For the second time, I wrote out my prayer.
For the second time, when it was time for me to read the prayer aloud, I had to leave out parts of it due to time constraints.
For the second time, I will share the whole prayer here.


Creator God, Waiting God,
Laboring God, Delivering God,
You who came up with the amazing, inexplicable miracle of pregnancy, 
we give you thanks tonight for the gift of life. 
Thank you for hospitals and doctors and nurses and midwives and birthing centers.
We thank you for medical insurance and payment plans and the willingness of medical 
centers to care for women and their babies even if they don’t have insurance.
Thank you for mothers and fathers and babies and siblings and family.

Please be with us, Lord, as we wait, as we wait for answers and resolutions.
As we wait for healing and restoration, for reconciliation and transformation. 
Please be with us as we wait, as we labor, and as we deliver all that is ours to deliver.

We ask, Lord, that you be with us at times of miscarriage and stillborn. 
At those moments of agonizing loss, pain, sorrow, and grief, 
at times when we think we cannot handle another contraction,
yet another piece of bad news about yet another tragedy, 
be with us even then, Lord. Especially then. 

On second thought, Lord, we ask, not that you be with us, 
but rather that you help us sense that you are already with us. 
You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us
so we don’t need to ask you to be with us. 
Help us, please, to feel your presence, to hear your voice, and to follow you. 
Help us to know that we can grip your strong hand and cry out when the pain hits,
and help us to trust you enough to lean back in your everlasting, outstretched arms.

As we leave this place tonight, please guide us out in this dark and cold night,
in this world that is groaning, in labor, and racked with pain.
Help us to be people of peace and calm.
Help us to be doulas for hearts and souls that are suffering.
help us to be caregivers of the hurting and the wounded
and co-laborers with you in your work of bringing new life into the world. 

Lord Jesus, please deliver us from fear and hatred.
Please deliver us from our addiction to ease and comfort.
Please deliver us from evil.
Please deliver us from this world of darkness into the kingdom of your light,
your joy, your peace, your hope and your love.
And please help us in turn to want to accompany you and each other as you deliver others.

Thank you, Lord God, for your patience as you wait for us, as you wait with us,
and as you wait in us.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being born, for being delivered into this world through 
your blessed mother, Mary, so that you in turn could die and deliver us. 

Thank you again for the gift of life, for the gift of the life of this community,
and for the gift of life that you came to earth to deliver in person. 

May your joy fill us, heal us, and surround us, and send us out into the world
with the good news of who you are and how you love us. 
May your peace surpass all that we understand.
May our hope be found in you, come from you, and flow from you into us and 

out into the world you were born to save. 

After we recited The Lord's Prayer together, 
I said this:
Go forth with joy.
Go forth with peace.
Go with God.
And have a very Merry Christmas. 

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