God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ ”

Genesis 1:28

 
Hands shaping a heart

For the last several days, I’ve been reflecting on the imperative in Genesis 1:28, “Be fruitful.” Most recently, I was focusing on literal fruitfulness, that is, on bearing and raising children, something in which all members of God’s family participate either directly by having children of their own or as partners with parents in the family of God.

I was planning to move on in Genesis today, but then I realized that it is Mother’s Day in the United States. Not an official church holiday, Mother’s Day is a time when Americans pay special tribute to mothers. It seemed right for me to pause before moving on in Genesis so that I might lead us in a prayer related to mothers. Indeed, they are some of the most influential leaders in the world, considering their impact on children, not to mention what they do beyond their families.

So, I invite you to join me in the following prayer.

Gracious God, thank you for giving us life. Thank you for the gift of rebirth through Jesus Christ. Thank you for never forgetting us, even as a mother will not forget her nursing child.

Today, we thank you for those who live out their fruitfulness as mothers. Thank you for the mothers who gave birth to us and who raised us. Thank you for those who became our mothers through adoption. Thank you for the sacrifice, patience, and love of mothers. Thank you for ways they help us see something of your love through their lives.

We also thank you today for those who have been like mothers to us even though they are not our literal mothers. Thank you for childcare workers and teachers, for doctors and Sunday School teachers, for aunts and grandmothers, for coaches and counselors, and for so many others.

We pray for mothers today, that you would bless them with all they need to raise godly, fruitful children. Give mothers wisdom, strength, and vision. Fill them with your love and goodness. We pray especially for those who are struggling to be faithful mothers, that you will grant them an extra measure of your grace today. Bless single mothers, working mothers who struggle to fulfill all of their responsibilities, mothers with children who are especially challenging, mothers who are struggling in poverty or oppression.

We also pray for those for whom Mother’s Day is a difficult day: for children who have lost their mothers, for mothers who have lost children, for mothers and children who are estranged from each other, for those who would like to be mothers but are not, and for those whose memories of their mothers are painful. May those who hurt today know that you are with them in their pain. Heal their hearts and give them hope, Lord. Wrap them up in your arms of love. Nurture them with your compassion.

All praise be to you, God of tender mercies, for the blessings you pour out upon us. Amen.