Using your prayer in pregnancy

Using your prayer in pregnancy

OK, so you don’t want to wait for labor to start using the prayers you wrote this week?  I personally think that is fantastic and I encourage you to start incorporating them into your prayer life now. But I can also see how just reading the prayer you wrote probably isn’t the prayer experience you were hoping for.  If this is the case, here are three ways you can use the prayer you wrote for labor now.

Journal it

If you’ve never tried journaling it may seem intimidating.  It shouldn’t.  It is still just talking to God.  But the process of writing in a journal slows you down-your hand cannot write as fast as your head can think.  Slowing down gives you more time to really reflect on what you are praying. When I journal I often find I have stopped writing and am really listening and questioning God about issues I had thought I already fully understood. I learn a lot about myself, about God and about the world when I journal.  That is probably why it is one of my favorite ways to spend time with God.

Journaling the prayer you wrote could take several forms.  You might try rewriting the prayer in different words.  This can allow you to think about the topics in a new way. You might try breaking the prayer down by topics, sharing your heart on each one.  This allows you to really dig deep into the roots of any fears, hesitations or worries about the upcoming birth.  You might like writing an explanation of the prayer, as if you were sharing the importance of it to you.  God already understands the prayer, but think about how you would explain the prayer to a friend, your midwife, your mother, your unborn child.

Wear it

Deuteronomy 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

You many not usually take this verse literally, but consider how helpful it might be to have a reminder of your prayer now and while you are in labor. There are many different Christian traditions you can draw from to “wear” your prayer. You might collect some beads or string that each represent a part of your prayer and make them into a bracelet. You might choose to cover your head with a scarf each time you pray, being sure to always wear the same scarf when you pray the special prayer you’ve written.  You might choose to anoint your head with oil each time you say your special prayer.

The specific method you use is secondary to the fact that by wearing your prayer you have a constant reminder to be praying.  The object you wear helps to bring your mind back to the issues you identified when you wrote your prayer. This can help you spend more time in prayer for important, but overlooked, issues. It might also help you keep focused on the things you have decided are most significant.

Walk it

There is something about being surrounded by the natural world that helps most women (but not all) relax their mind and heart. Whether it is the deep breaths of fresh air or the wonder of God’s creation, praying in the great outdoors can help you move easily into a deeper prayer life. Head out to your favorite local nature spot with your personal prayer in hand.  Spend time admiring God’s creation and meditating on the prayer you wrote.  Be open to periods of silence and listening.  Be open to walking in circles or just sitting in the shade. Follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit as you walk out of your regular prayer routine.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas and childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student in a nursing program learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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