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A Prayer for Rebekah

(For those of you who don’t know, yesterday my wife and I gave birth to our first child. She is premature by three months. While she is alive and stable, there is a long road ahead of us. This is what I’m praying tonight. You don’t have to pray it; many of you might not even agree with it. But there are few things I’ve meant more.)

Almighty God,

A pious saint might stand over the trembling, fragile form of his too-small daughter and sagely nod, noting that your ways are beyond searching out. But I do not believe you are a God for pious saints, but for broken human beings desperate for mending in every way. I do not know your plans, I do not know the future, but I do know who You are.

You are the great Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. Father, I beseech you to have mercy on your tiny child. Jesus, I beg you to consider the youngest of your sisters. Spirit, I groan with desires I cannot twist through my lips, and I pray that you might intercede with me for my little girl.

You are Yahweh, Covenant Lord. You have given your promises to me and to my children. You have knit my daughter together in her mother’s womb, known her hidden form, counted her among your people. You are the God who says the kingdom belongs to little children, and I can think of few smaller than my own.

You are Yeshua, God with us. You came not in heavenly majesty but with labor pains and afterbirth. You sympathize with us in our weakness, and her hand is the size of my fingernail. You show mercy to the least of these, and she struggles to move her mouth. To work salvation you took on frail flesh and bone, and I can see her lungs laboring beneath stretched skin.

God, I know you are a king, but you are no petty tyrant who breaks men’s backs with an iron rod. You are the Servant King, the Lamb who wins the victory at the price of His own life. In this knowledge, I do not hide behind platitudes, but ask plainly. Grant my daughter protection, peace, and many years. Let me hear her speak, let me watch her grow up in faith, or at least let me hold her in my arms.

They say men pray to lift their sagging hearts, but I have no interest in self-delusion. I bow my head and lift my hands in supplication because I know You are the most real thing in this universe. Your palm holds the ocean, your voice sets the cosmos spinning, and your will includes every day of my daughter’s lift. I bend my knee because I know it is your right to take her away if that is your desire; she already belongs to you. Yet this power cuts both ways, and I ask that you would watch over my Rebekah tonight with your sovereign mercy and uphold her with your omnipotent grace.

I do not presume to approach you as one worthy of your ear. I have no more to offer you than does my premature baby. I approach instead in the name of Jesus, to whom both I and this covenant child belong. In your mercy shown us on behalf of Christ, watch over her. She is my child; she is Yours as well.

Amen.

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