My second child is a little girl, and I joke that she has been strong-willed and stubborn from her earliest days in my womb. I was incredibly sick during that pregnancy, throwing up sometimes six times a day. I was hospitalized twice for fluids during my first trimester. It was as awful as it sounds, and some days my only prayer was, Please let me survive this.
At thirty-two weeks, we learned she was breech. We prayed she would turn, but with every check-up, she remained butt down. As the weeks went on and delivery drew near, I did everything trying to force her into the right position, including:
- Placing frozen vegetables on my stomach to try to make her flip away from the cold.
- Pointing a flashlight directly on my stomach because some said the light would penetrate, and she would try to move away from it.
- Handstands in the swimming pool (thankfully, it was a warm spring in Nashville).
- My husband, Matthew, talking to my stomach, pleading for her to turn toward his voice.
- Seeing a chiropractor that specialized in prenatal adjustments.
Nothing worked. My stubborn little girl was staying put.
I desperately wanted to avoid a C-section, and at thirty-nine-weeks, we were scheduled an external cephalic version, which is a procedure where doctors use a great deal of pressure on a mother’s stomach to flip the baby.
I remember being so anxious about the procedure and praying for a successful outcome. Would it work? Would it hurt? Some risks were involved, and I prayed I hadn’t made the wrong choice choosing this procedure. I opted to have an epidural after a trusted friend and midwife told me that many mothers can’t handle the pain of the procedure, deciding that my desire not to have a C-section trumped my desire to have a drug-free delivery.
My hospital room was filled with people. Delivering at a teaching hospital meant normally an extra resident or two would be present, but I learned that seeing a version take place that was kind of a big deal meant there were a LOT of students in the room. In addition to my midwife, there were several doctors, Matthew, and my best friend, Angie.
The doctors had my bed tilted in such a way that I couldn’t see much more beyond my belly. As they prepared for the procedure, Angie spoke up, “Before you begin, would y’all mind if I said a prayer?” The doctors said, “Of course,” without hesitation. As she prayed, I felt a calming peace cover the room. The energy completely changed.
Within just a few minutes, the doctors had successfully turned Adeline. Everyone in the room was either cheering or crying. It was a perfect example of the 1 John 5:15 verse, which says, “And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that story lately and the way in which a prayer ushered my girl into the world in such a specific, memorable way.
Prayer isn’t always like that with our kids. As a parent, my prayers for them take on many forms, from pats on the head to hugs to evening snuggles and whispered prayers at bedtime. The prayers shift as they grow older, becoming more independent and strong. The moments are holy, messy, ordinary, and extraordinary.
But throughout it all, I believe God is intently listening to the prayers of our mouths and our hearts. In a lot of ways, prayer is the heartbeat of a parent’s life.
In my husband Matthew’s new children’s book, When I Pray for You , he addresses all the ways we pray for our kids and the way our prayers evolve as our kids grow and change. I love these words:
From the moment I saw you, I started to pray.
Big prayers and small ones I have sent God’s way…
I’ll pray where you go, that wherever you land,
you’ll find purpose and meaning and a role in God’s plan.
That you’ll know who you are. And like what you do.
And love yourself fully, as God wants you to.
Prayer is an important part of our parenting DNA because there is an intimacy fostered when our kids hear our prayers for them, as well as when we invite them into those prayers. Though they aren’t usually big moments like the day my daughter was born, praying for our kids is impactful. Prayer is a part of the legacy we can give to our kids.
Are there specific prayers you regularly pray for your kids? Do you talk about how you pray for your kids? How do they respond?
Matthew Paul Turner’s new book, When I Pray for You, celebrates the dreams, hopes, and longings parents pray over their children, and shares with the little ones how much care and concern a loved one feels for them. This is a book you will read to your child again and again. Perfect for any occasion, as well as for milestones including baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.
Click here to order a copy (or two) of When I Pray for You. It’s the perfect bedtime story and way to introduce fresh conversation with your kids about prayer in your home.
Love this topic of prayer? We want to invite you to participate in a special prayer conversation on Instagram. Post a photo of your kids and share one way you pray for them. Be sure to include the hashtag #WhenIPrayforYou and tag us at @incourage. On Friday, we will choose 5 winners to receive signed copies of When I Pray for You.
In a lot of ways, prayer is the heartbeat of a parent's life. -@JessicaNTurner #WhenIPrayforYou: Click To Tweet