(Unless otherwise noticed, prayers are taken from the “LSB Pastoral Care Companion” copyright © 2006 CPH. Reprinted with permission under license number 11:5-4. www.cph.org.)
Let us Pray.
Heavenly Father, Your Son bore all our griefs and carried all our sorrows. Strengthen the faith of these grieving parents and all who bear this heavy burden. Help them to rely on Your boundless mercy and to trust that their little one, who has been gathered into Your loving arms, will rise on the last day; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
Almighty God, gracious Father, Your ways are often beyond our understanding. In Your hidden wisdom the hopes of (Names of Parents) have been turned from joy to sadness. In Your mercy help them to accept Your good and gracious will. Comfort them in their hour of sorrow with Your life-giving Word for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Lord God, Father of mercies and God of all comfort, we thank You for Your care in this time of trial and sadness. Console and comfort (Names of Parents) with the assurance of Your tender compassion and unfailing love; through Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Stillbirth/Death shortly after birth
Almighty and eternal God, You have given, and You have taken away. Comfort (Names of Parents), whose hopes have been turned to sorrow. Strengthen their faith in this time of sadness that they may trust in You. Teach them to depend on Your boundless mercy, confident that their little one has been invited into the arms of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Heavenly Father, Your Son bore all our griefs and carried all our sorrows. Strengthen the faith of (Names of Parents) and all who bear this heavy burden of sorrow and loss. Help them to rely on Your boundless mercy and to trust that their child, who has been gathered into Your loving arms, remains in Your abiding care; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Heavenly Father, our lives are in Your care and keeping. Look in mercy upon the fragile life of (name of child/this child). Preserve (his/her) life, and nurture (him/her) that (he/she) may grow and develop in both body and soul. Grant patience to (Name of Parents) and dispel their fears that with confidence they may rely on your promises; through Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Those seeking to adopt
Heavenly Father, before the foundation of the world You chose us in Christ to be Your sons and daughters. Look with favor upon (Names of Parents) as they (seek to adopt/prepare to receive) a child into their family. Give them patience during their time of waiting, and encourage them with Your love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Thanksgiving upon adoption
Heavenly Father, You have adopted us as Your sons and daughters by grace. We give You thanks that (Names of Parents) have been granted the gift of a (son/daughter). Fill this family with wisdom and patience that they might live together in faith and love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
When a mother is considering an abortion
God of all grace, out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy You have given us life and commanded us not to hurt or harm our neighbor in his body. Teach us to care for this unborn child whom You have created in Your image. Grant Your grace to (Name of Mother) that, by Your Word and Spirit, she may live according to Your will and have the courage to nurture and cherish her child. Surround her with those who will rejoice in this child, and provide for her needs of body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
For the comfort of one who has undergone an abortion
Gracious Father in heaven, look with mercy on your daughter (name), who suffers the shame of abortion. For the sake of Christ Jesus, our Savior, forgive her all her sins, and remove all feelings of guilt and despair. Protect her from the accusing voices of others and the accusations from within. By Your Spirit increase her faith that she may entrust herself and her child into Your fatherly hands; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Eternal Father, You alone make the decisions concerning life and death. Have mercy on (name), whose illness seems irreversible. If it be Your will, restore (him/her) and lengthen (his/her) earthly life; if not, O Father, keep (him/her) in (his/her) baptismal grace and prepare (him/her) to commit (himself/herself) to Your eternal care. Give (him/her) a repentant heart, from faith, and a lively hope that the pain or fear of death may not cause (him/her) to waiver in confidence and trust. When (his/her) days on earth are ended, grant (him/her) a joyous entrance into everlasting life with the glorious company of all Your saints; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
For the physically disabled
Lord God, heavenly Father, receive our thanks for the gift of life and everything in Your creation that enriches our physical lives. By Your merciful guidance, aid and strengthen (name), and enable (him/her) to find fulfillment in (his/her) life and encouragement and support for all (his/her) endeavors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Lord Jesus Christ, give (name) at all times a patient spirit, willing and ready to wait and pray, that (he/she) may not weary of You, but cast every care upon You with all cheerfulness and confidence and always hope for the best from You, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Patience to bear afflictions
Heavenly Father, You teach us in Your holy Word that You do not willingly afflict or grieve Your children. Look with compassion on (name), for whom we pray. Remember (him/her) in mercy, strengthen (him/her) in patience, comfort (him/her) with the memory of Your goodness, and let Your face shine on (him/her) that (he/she) may be guarded by Your peace in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
For the caretakers (family)
Almighty God, gracious Lord, look in mercy on the family (and friends) of (name) as they care for (him/her). Grant them Your Holy Spirit that they may have faith equal to the task before them. Sustain them that by Your grace they may reflect Your love through their patient service to (name) and each other; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Merciful Father, God of all truth, we commend (name) into your gracious keeping, for You have redeemed (him/her). Guard and shield (him/her) from all the powers of darkness as (he/she) walks through the valley of the shadow of death. Grant that (he/she) may fall asleep in peace and awaken to the bright joy of your eternal presence; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
For the family in deliberation
Heavenly Father, we thank You for the truth of Your Word that nothing in death or life will separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus and that whether we live or die we belong to You. By Your gracious Spirit strengthen the family of (name) in this confidence, and guide them as they face difficult decisions concerning (name) medical care so that their actions may be in agreement with Your holy will. Do not forsake them, but uphold and keep them in Your love and peace, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
The following prayers were shared on May 2, 2013 at the National Day of Prayer event in Portage, Michigan. The prayers were written by Rev. Dr. Paul R. Naumann, senior pastor at Saint Michael Lutheran Church, in Portage.
Almighty God, Heavenly Father, the maker of heaven and earth, we praise You for creating us in Your own image, and for gifting us with bodies which You have formed with Your own hands. We praise You and bless You, and join our voices with Your servant David in confessing that:
You created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from
You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the dark of the womb,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in
Your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Remind us that we are not an accident, nor formed by random chance, but Your special creation, fashioned for Your pleasure. Help us to glorify You by yielding the members of our body as instruments of righteousness for Your service and the good of others.
Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, we praise You that You have purchased us for Yourself with Your own blood, shed for us on the cross. We join You in declaring that our bodies are not our own because we have been bought with a price. As Your disciples, baptized into Your death and resurrection, our body is now a temple of Your Holy Spirit whom we have received from You. Help us, therefore, to honor You with our bodies. By Your holy conception and virgin birth, by Your obedient life in a human body, by Your innocent suffering and death in our place, and by Your victorious resurrection from the dead, please forgive us for all the many abuses of our bodies. Have mercy upon us for the sexual immorality that is so pervasive in our culture, and for all the wanton disregard of Your precious gift of life, especially that of our unborn children. We pray for Your divine benediction to be upon pro-life agencies in this community and around the world. Bless those who counsel unwed mothers and fathers, those who do ultrasounds, those who provide care and shelter for people in crisis pregnancy, and those in adoptive services, that we would value and protect every child conceived. Bless also those who care for the frail elderly, those in nursing homes, and those in hospitals and hospices. May all human persons be honored, regardless of the quantity or quality of their lives. May those who care for others see You in those whom they serve, and may those who receive care and service experience Your love in the one who provides for their needs.
Lord and Giver of Life, Holy Spirit of God, life-giving Breath, we look to You for the strength to stand up for life in all its stages, from the moment of conception until that time when You say, “return to dust, O children of men.” Use us to give voice to the defense of life through our voting, our writing, our speaking, our non-violent protests, as well as our fasting and fervent prayers. Work in the hearts and minds of fathers and mothers everywhere. Inform their conscience and their conduct by Your Holy Word. Help all parents to take responsibility for their children, to bring them to healthy birth, and to do what is in their best interest for a healthy life, even when circumstances call for the loving option of adoption. Guide and direct the life-issues decision makers, not only those in the home, but also those in the White House, in the House and Senate of our state and nation, and in the courthouses of our country. May those whom You have charged with the responsibility of protecting all citizens, take it as a sacred obligation to defend the defenseless, to support the weak, and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. We humbly ask for all these things with boldness and confidence in the name Christ Jesus, our Lord, who is the Resurrection and the Life, and who has come to give us life in all its fullness. Amen.