This article is part of the How to Pray series.
1. Pray that your child would know he or she is an image bearer of God.
Whether you are a brand-new mother or a mother of twelve, it is astonishing that God would grow another one (or more!) of his image bearers in your womb. Though the child is made up of your DNA and bears resemblance to you, he or she is foremost an image bearer of the triune God. As are you.
Pause for a minute to notice the swirling arcs on your fingers. Be conscious of your lungs filling with air, your heart pumping blood through your blood vessels, and your brain controlling your body’s functions (even as you sleep). Your life is no accident. Someone is purposefully holding you together (Col. 1:17). Both you and your unborn child belong to the Lord, you are his imagers, and you exist for his glory.
As God’s imagers we have the unparalleled privilege and responsibility of representing him to the watching cosmos in every capacity he has designed for us.
2. Pray that your child will be a disciple who makes more disciples.
God’s big idea of the way his glory will fill the earth is for all of us to enjoy: “making babies who make more babies” points us to discipleship. The offspring of the Suffering Servant—followers of Jesus who are born again through his Spirit—pass on the gospel to those who will pass on the gospel.
Our biological and spiritual fertility is facilitated by God for God’s glory (not ours). By the power of the Spirit, the new humanity in Christ will fill God’s new creation to the praise of his glorious grace. And it will be profoundly more than lovely.
God is after godly offspring because Jesus is destined to be the firstborn among many brothers who love like he loves, think like he thinks, and serve like he serves.
3. Pray that your child will know God is central.
Oh, how we need eyes to see that God is the center of the universe! As dizzying as the pain we experience in raising children can be, we need to have the wherewithal to remember how it points us to God himself.
Our fertility complications are not about us. Our pregnancy pains are not about us. Our labor in building our family is not about us. In eternity past the triune God ordained that the crucifixion of the Son of God would be the means of our salvation. Prior to Creation. Prior to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden. Prior to his pronouncement of the judgment of multiplied pain in childbirth. Prior to the rock incident at Meribah. All along, God designed the just judgment for our sin to exemplify his lavish grace.
4. Pray that your child would be nourished by God’s Word and surrounded by a community of brothers and sisters.
There is so much more to our mothering work than meets the eye. Our hope is not merely that our children would be fed, clothed, and educated, but our desire is that they would be nourished by God’s Word, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and taught to fear the Lord.
God is after godly offspring because Jesus is destined to be the firstborn among many brothers who love like he loves, think like he thinks, and serve like he serves. This is God’s goal for you, dear Christian sister, and for all whom he has predestined. The church is one great, big family of brothers and sisters. We are alive together with Christ even as we die to ourselves every day, and will one day be physically raised from death like Jesus was raised. Our heavenly Father has lovingly appointed for us the way he brings about this character-conforming in each of our lives. Our place is not to criticize him, but to gratefully submit to him. And we do this together!
5. Pray that your child’s soul would be delivered from death and receive new life from God.
The Spirit of God is like the wind: he freely blows where he wishes to give life and is capable to bring forth life. God is the one who causes his children to be born again. The Spirit awakens faith, and a babe in Christ is born. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything on the cultural baggage carousel, pray the Spirit would move those bags out of the way and shine light on the truth of God’s Word. Sow the seed of the gospel and pray God would awaken faith in their heart.
What a marvelous thing to think about—that he would design childbirth in such a way that we would have such a stark, urgent, visceral, common, and unparalleled picture of our inability to save ourselves and the Spirit’s freedom to give us the life we need.
This article is adapted from Labor With Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood by Gloria Furman.