For Mothers: A Prayer and Response

by | May 6, 2016 | Encouragement

As Mother’s Day approaches, we can sometimes feel unworthy of celebrating motherhood if we feel as though our efforts, or the dreams we envision for our children, haven’t measured up somehow. Today, I offer you this prayer and response inspired by Psalm 86. May it be a sweet surrender of the ways you are hard on yourself. A long embrace from God because he made you the caretaker of another human.


Lord Jesus, as I unfurl thoughts about you slowly, interrupted, repeated, and finally contemplated with intention; grant your divine favor on this small moment of reflection.  May this pause be looked upon with the brightness of your face shining upon me. Allow my racing, frantic, hurried heart to leave what is undone for what is most important now.

Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

For the times I have refused help, not because I didn’t need it but because I associated receiving help as weakness, forgive me.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.

For the times I’ve confused discipline with control and acceptance with popularity, forgive me for suffocating the good work you began in the young hearts I mother. Thank you for redeeming my misguided motives.

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.





Forgive me for wanting to be right more than I’ve wanted to follow you. Thank you for waiting patiently and never giving up on me.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.

Forgive me for the times I’ve judged my children as a knee jerk reaction before choosing to love and believe the best in them. Thank you for redeeming my mistakes into something beautiful.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Awaken me from complacency in parenting. Give me the courage to begin again, not as a consolation for the ways I have failed, but as a means of removing the idol of comfort I’ve made as the goal of daily living.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.




When I wax nostalgic with a tendency to keep records of the ways I fall short, change my perspective into a collection of memories that document your nearness with us, always.

For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Because I am tempted to fret about the uncertainty of their future, grow the smallness of my trust into a big, mighty Savior. Remind me that you love them more than I do.

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant.

Help me to leave the work of what you have entrusted to me into your hands. And rejoice in the gift of motherhood this day. For great is your steadfast love towards me, you have delivered me from myself.


Happy Mother’s Day!


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  1. Kim Hyland

    So good. So wise. So redemptive. A prayer to return to often. Thank you, Shelley!

  2. Celeste

    OK, so I just sat down with a coffee in hand to read this. Thus far the best Mother advice I’ve received from anyone. I can’t drink my coffee for the tears. Thank you Shelly. So many of your words resonated within my heart and soul.

  3. Nancy Ruegg

    Kim said is so well, below: This prayer is full of wisdom and redemption–well worth returning to often. No doubt many mothers seek forgiveness for poor choices and grace to redeem the misguided motives and mistakes. We praise God for his perseverance–to never give up on us, and for his presence with us always. Thank you for this cleansing prayer, Shelly, that also uplifts us, because our God is great and does wondrous things–even through our imperfect efforts!

  4. Malia Grant

    Thank you Shelly. The Psalms are beautiful and speak to me in such touching ways. These words were just what my soul needed to hear. I even put down the dish towel and rested in these words for a moment. How refreshing…

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