Collected with commentary

“I only pray when I’m in trouble,” said Isaac Bashevis Singer, “but I’m in trouble all the time so I pray all the time.” The Nobel Prize winning author wisely recognized his own helplessness and God’s greatness. American novelist Anne Lamott writes that the two best prayers she knows are, “Help me! Help me! Help me!” and “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

A young child prays “the praises, the sorry’s, the thank you’s, the please’s and the blesses” which an adult understands as adoration, confession, thanksgiving, petition and intercession. The language of prayer needs to speak all five dialects. Some prefer spontaneous prayer. Certainly, prayer must be from the heart not just the lips. But the prayers from other’s hearts can sometimes touch our own and we can echo them back to God.

We live in a broken world. Sometimes we find ourselves or our loved ones in some very hard places. We need to pray the Scriptures, especially the Psalms, the Bible’s prayer book. It expresses the whole gamut of human emotions. We need to be honest with God, not only with our hallelujahs but also with our hurts and disappointments. After all, Jesus came to bear our sins and our sorrows. He can turn our mourning into dancing.

For women who are pregnantO Lord and Giver of life, receive our prayer for all women who are pregnant and for the children they carry, that they may safely and happily come to the time of birth, and serving you in all things, may rejoice in your loving providence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

– Book of Occasional Services

For childrenFather, we bring our children to you for your blessing. Help us to be sensitive to their needs. Give us wisdom in our care of them, that they may grow up rooted in love, steadfast in faith, strong and courageous in life. Guide us and all who have the care of children. May we never hinder but help and encourage them towards independence and maturity, and to a living faith in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-Frank Colquhoun New Parish Prayers

For children who are hurtingO God, whose Son Jesus Christ took the children into his arms and blessed them: hear our prayer for those children who are suffering through the sin, cruelty and stupidity of men and women. Wipe out from their souls the stain and misery of fear, and give back to them the trustfulness and untroubled joy that should be theirs. To those who look after them and teach them, grant faith that you are able to do this, and patient wisdom to co-operate with you for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen

– Frank Colquhoun New Parish Prayers

Father, we pray for all children whose lives have been shattered through their family being broken; broken by selfishness, by death, by cruelty, by desertion. Heal the deep wounds that have been made. Give them such a sense of your fatherly love and care that they may grow strong and straight in their emotions, able to form good and loving relationships in their own time. Amen.

– Mary Batchelor, The Doubleday Prayer Collection

After a stillbirth or miscarriageLord Jesus,
For this baby we will never know or hold,
We pray.
We do not know why;
Wipe our tears,
comfort our mourning
Give peace and hope, we pray.

– Marjory, from Prayer in Pregnancy, Not Out of Mind Project (DPC)
Gracious God,
in your mercy you have safely brought
your daughter ___ through childbirth.
Comfort this family,
grieving the loss of their hoped-for child.
Help them to find assurance
that with you nothing is wasted or incomplete,
and uphold them with your love,
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen

– adapted from a New Zealand Prayer Book (DPC)

Prayers are drawn from: