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A Prayer for Women Near the Time for Childbirth

Before reading this prayer, I will share some information about Matthew Henry that will make it all the more weighty for you. He writes from deep personal grief in this matter. His first wife Katherine died in childbirth in 1689 after only two years of marriage, and although he remarried in 1690, he and his second wife, Mary, lost three children in infancy in the following seven years. Henry refused to blame God for these losses, for he accepted that, “the Lord is righteous, He takes and gives, and gives and takes again.” Nor did he allow his sorrows to hinder his work since he believed, “weeping must not prevent sowing,” and so he went on with perseverance and assurance. So he maintained his intensive preaching and pastoral ministry through this time when his personal life was afflicted by tragedy. It would be good for us to emulate such a man of faith!

"When we pray with or for those women that are near the time of travail or in travail"

"Lord, thou hast passed this sentence upon the woman that was first in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:14), that in sorrow she shall bring forth children (Genesis 3:16). But let this handmaid of thine be saved in child-bearing, and continue in faith and charity and holiness, with sobriety (1 Timothy 2:15). Enable her to cast her burden upon the Lord, and let the Lord sustain her (Psalm 55:22); and what time she is afraid, grant that she may trust in thee (Psalm 56:3) and may encourage herself in the Lord her God (1 Samuel 30:6).

O let not the root be dried up from beneath, nor let the branch be withered or cut off (Job 18:16), but let both live before thee. Be thou her strong habitation, her rock, and her fortress, give commandment to save her (Psalm 71:3). And when travail comes upon her, which she cannot escape, be pleased, O Lord, to deliver her (1 Thessalonians 5:3). O Lord, make haste to help her (Psalm 40:13); be thou thyself her help and deliverer, make no tarrying, O our God (Psalm 40:17). Let her be safely delivered and remember the anguish no more, for joy that a child is born into the world, is born unto thee."

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