A Prayer for Mother’s Day

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Lord, God of Sara, Rebekah, and Rachel;
and God of Hagar, Bilhah, and Zilpah.
God of the hopeless, surprised by joy;
and God of the used-up and thrown away.

Created in your image,
her identity is found in relationship to you.
Made to reign over creation alongside man;
not to be ruled over or cheapened,
reduced to a bodily function, defaced,
only giving men what they want.
Oh God, forgive us.

So God help us this Mother’s day
to recognize what is genuine, what is good.
Open our eyes to those hidden among us,
and help us to see your love in the hard places.

We recognize those who work so hard
to be the mother you call them to be.
To balance work, dance lessons, and baseball games,
with dinner around the table, homework, and bed-time prayers.
And we bless them.

We recognize those who thought parenting days were done,
who had dreams of their own for the second half of life.
But for a dozen reasons are now changing diapers and mixing formula,
putting on pajamas, reading about three bears, and saying bed-time prayers.
And we bless them.

We recognize mothers whose plans for family,
changed forever when he walked out.
And now, working forty hours a week is only the beginning,
to finding good day care, finding time to cook,
and finding the energy to love their children.
And we bless them.
We recognize mothers who are most like you,
adopting children who are not their own.
But making them their own with unconditional love,
no less than any mother ever loved her child.
And we bless them.

And we recognize those who invest their hearts
in children destined for other families.
Knowing their time will be short, their attachment strong;
and every time their heart will break just a little.
And then they open their homes and their hearts again.
And we bless them.

And God, we recognize the mothers
who cannot understand how life can possibly go on.
Who cannot answer the question,
“How many children do you have?”
And we cannot imagine the pain this day inflicts,
year after year, tear after tear.
And we grieve with them.

God, we recognize those like Sarah and Hannah;
month after month, year after year unable to conceive.
Wanting more than anything to hold a baby – their baby,
but being told that it will not, cannot happen.
And we cannot imagine the pain this day inflicts,
married and unmarried, who just want a child.
And we grieve with them.

So we lift our hands to you,
on one hand those with whom we rejoice and bless,
on the other hand those with whom we weep.
Might you overwhelm our blessing
with your blessing, rich and full.
And might you break into our weeping,
surprising us with your grace.

Amen

Glenn Pemberton is a minister turned professor turned writer. After serving churches in Texas and Colorado, Glenn completed a Ph.D. (Old Testament). He then taught at Oklahoma Christian University before coming to Abilene Christian University in 2005, retiring as professor emeritus in 2017 due to a severe chronic pain. Glenn now spends his time writing for the church. Along with short essays he has published four books, including The God who Saves: An Introduction to the Message of the Old Testament (2015), and Hurting with God: Learning to Lament with the Psalms (2012). Glenn and his wife Dana continue to live in Abilene, Texas.

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Author:  Publish Date: May 10, 2018

4 Comments

  • Glenn Pemberton says:

    My apologies for the original post that sent the incorrect link. Thanks for whatever you’ve done to get to this page.

  • Larry Henderson Henderson says:

    Thank you for this prayer/reflection, Glenn. It is a gentle reminder that ‘Mothers’ are not a one-size-fits-all. There is great diversity and great strength in the mothers you cite.

    Blessings!

  • Glenn Pemberton says:

    Let me set aside any concerns (or emails): yes, you have permission to use this prayer on Sunday. As long as you are not reprinting it, there is no need to make mention of me or this website.

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @ acu.edu.

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
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Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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