I wake in the middle of the night and try to find some way to get comfortable again. I toss this way and turn that direction and can’t seem to locate comfort. My mind decides to wake up completely and I’m reminded of the midwife’s words earlier that day: “Your baby is breach right now.”
I’m still far away from a delivery date and I’ve heard these lines before. I know this child can turn around even at the last minute, but still, her notice sobers me to remember how fragile childbirth really is. I lay there in the still night and my thoughts begin to run to all the dark corners of frightful possibilities. My eyes are wide open now and I can’t help but imagine a frightening birth experience or something as awful as losing this baby entirely.
My thoughts slip this way and that until finally I surrender them to prayer. ‘Lord, please, please, please let this baby live. Turn this baby the right way, let it be a safe birth….’
My prayers rise quicker and with more desperation and I imagine the young man knocking and knocking and begging for bread in the middle of the night. I’m telling God all these needs and fears and suddenly, out of the darkness, God seems to silence me. And gives me a new prayer.
‘Lord, you know my will. Help me to love yours.’
I whisper it again and again. ‘You know my will. Help me to love yours.’ I start to again list off my worries, tell Him my desires, and again my hurried requests slow to this one: ‘Help me love your will.’ Had Christ given me His own prayer? ‘Not my will, but Yours be done.’ Was this moment, this middle of the night moment, a tiny Gethsemane for me?
The prayer silenced my thoughts and calmed me. I forgot the discomfort of my big belly and the next thing I knew it was morning. I woke not to fears about the baby but the daily anxieties that steal my joy. How much was there to do this morning? What frame of mind would the kids wake in? Could I finish the duties of the day before the sun set?
And as I roused myself (why is it easier to wake up fully in the middle of the night than in the early morning?), that sweet prayer returned, ‘Lord, you know my will. Help me love yours.’ And I walk headfirst into the day. The prayer didn’t remove the day’s mistakes or challenges, but opened my sleepy eyes wide to see that every moment was ordained by Him and an invitation to love Him more.
I make it through the day and find myself with more pillows than you can count as I toss and try to find the sleep I need. I feel for the baby’s head and am fairly sure it’s as high as ever. I pray that prayer…’Help me love your will,’ and He grants me sleep.
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven….’ Matthew 6
The month of September, I hope to look with you at the great privilege of prayer, challenging us all (especially myself!) to better enjoy conversation with our Savior. Would love to hear your thoughts on prayer as we journey together.