A prayer for mothers and those who wish to mother

Mother’s Day prayer also pays tribute to those ‘who contribute to our common life in other impactful ways’

by the Rev. Denise Anderson | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Dulari Besra, right, helps mothers treat and prevent childhood malnutrition in rural northwest Bangladesh. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Holy One, who gathers us as a mother bear gathers her cubs,

We give thanks for your goodness and mercy toward us. We are grateful for your lovingkindness and care for your children through the ages. We thank you for your protection and correction. And we thank you that we of all genders, ethnicities, and racializations bear the imprint of your caring nature.

In culture and in the church, we celebrate and give thanks for mothers — mothers who reflect your incessant care and teaching. We are grateful for their role in our lives and ask that you sustain in these difficult times all who mother. For those who try to keep their children safe, educated, and engaged in new ways, we ask for energy and imagination to do that work. For those who have always had to mother in difficult circumstances, we ask for provision.

We also acknowledge that for many of us, the concept of “mothering” is painful to consider. Our mothers may have been absent physically or functionally. Some of us have experienced the untimely death of or abandonment by a mother, and we continue to grieve their absence. For some of us, the mothers in our lives were abusive or neglectful. We ask for your grace in grief and your care for hearts that are hurting.

We lift those mothers who have lost children. Some to perinatal loss. Some to illness. Some to violence. We ask for your arms of comfort to surround those mothers in their loss. We give thanks for the strength of mothers who continue to advocate and fight for their children and everyone else’s child. We ask for their prophetic voices to be lifted in the public square and that their continued labor not be in vain.

We remember those who wish to mother. We ask that you would soothe hearts that are in agony, longing to build the family for which they have dreamed and to which you have called them.

And God, we give thanks that not everyone wants to mother. Many instead chose to contribute to our common life in other impactful ways. We thank you for those who inspire, who give, who love, who teach, who nurture, who challenge, and who make the world better in myriad ways. We thank you for those who step in as chosen family to people without access to their families of birth. We thank you for those who adopt others, whether formally or informally. We remember Jesus’ admonition that whoever does the will of God is his mother, brother, sister, sibling. Help us, O God, to be your family in all the ways you have imagined for us.

In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, brother to us all,


The Rev. Denise Anderson is coordinator for Racial & Intercultural Justice with the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

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