Journal

Contemplative Life

A New Parent’s Bleary-Eyed Prayer

Back on September 9th, my wife and I had the joy of welcoming the newest member of our family and the Coracle team into the world: Owen Kennedy Masterson. We were exceedingly blessed by a safe delivery, and our first month with our son has been marked with awe, gratitude, and much rejoicing.  And much fatigue.  Like most newborns, Owen is not yet fully convinced that nighttime is for sleeping, which has lead to many hours of drowsy crib-side vigil for his parents.

During one of my first nocturnal stretches with Owen, I remember being awash with conflicting feelings – love, fear, pride, frustration, sleep deprivation, and on and on.  Out of all that emotional frothing, a question came to mind that has been one of the most significant takeaways of my experience as a Coracle Fellow over the last year:

 

“What might God be trying to reveal about himself or about me in this situation?”

 

It’s a simple enough question on its face, but when pursued, it has the power to transform our experience of just about any set of circumstances.  It has certainly helped to quell the more negative responses my sleepless sin-self is capable of during those times with Owen.  In fact, if I actively remember and work with that question (not at all a given), those spaces of exhaustion and exasperation can become spaces of gratitude and intimacy.  They can become sacred spaces with my son and with my God.

As I have pondered that question through my nights and days with Owen, my response has come as a prayer, which I am grateful for the chance to share with you.  Whether you’re a parent or not, I hope you will find something in it that stirs your heart!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

God Our Father,
Who has known and loved us since the beginning of time,
Who knit us together in our mothers’ wombs
          and can count every hair on our heads,
Who desired a skin-to-skin relationship with us and made it possible
          through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

We are in so many ways like a newborn child in our relations with you—

Our vision is blurry and near-sighted,
          we struggle to perceive accurately what is real and present,
We struggle to trust that we are ultimately secure where you place us, and
We thrash against your constraining swaddles intended for our good.
Anything new or unexpected can send us wailing into a fearful tantrum,
We don’t always know how to express what we need or want,
We cannot make for ourselves that which is true nourishment, and
We produce all sorts of mess, none of which we are able to clean ourselves.
We are fundamentally limited, dependent, needy creatures,
          powerless in our own power,
          longing for a loving embrace.

And yet, you are not in the least surprised by our neediness,
          nor does your love diminish when faced with our fits and messes.

May we find full and rich life as we receive regular nourishment from your body,
          experience abiding security and comfort in your embrace,
          make ample time to listen to your soothing voice,
          learn to submit to our limits, and trust you for every good thing.

Help us to remember that yours is the gaze of an adoring new parent,
          that you behold us with wonder and rejoicing,
                    delighting in every strange babbling, expression, and gesture.

Under your loving gaze, may we grow daily in our family resemblance to you.

In the name of Jesus our Savior and Older Brother,
Amen

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