Evangeline’s Prayer: Being A Father Begins Now
I’m delving into a new topic today – this is my first post about fatherhood. It’s a recent development in my life. At the time of writing, I’ve been a father for 6 months, to a little girl named Evangeline.
Now, to many people, it might seem strange for me to even claim to be a father. Why? Because my daughter Evangeline is a six month old fetus.
I’m not going to go through all the arguments about the nature of an unborn human being – there are innumerable other blogs about that. Let’s just say this one is addressed to those who’ve accepted the obvious reality that human beings begin as zygotes, and then grow up, rather than materialising ex-nihilo at birth (the belief that our Canadian legal system is based on… but I digress).
What I realised recently is that even among those who know better, we often still don’t view our first roughly 9 months of parenthood as real parenthood. We talk about being mothers and fathers-to-be, but we’re not. We say we’re going to be moms and dads, but we already are. And in the same vein, we prepare materially for our child, but do we pray for them?
That’s the question that hit me a few months ago, and I realized that not only was I missing out on a way to grow closer to my wife and daughter, but I was also failing to protect and care for her. I may have known that she was a living human being with an immortal soul, but I wasn’t acting like it.
In the physical sense, I was doing everything I needed to do, but I wasn’t using the spiritual means I had for her good.
Being a Father Right Now
I see pictures quite often on the internet, of children born at the same age as my own daughter. And the fact is, some of those babies live and grow up, but many of them don’t. These first few months may be the only time on earth that I get with my child. But even if they’re not, I don’t want to let it slip by without being the best father to her that I can be.
Everyone knows that when you become a parent, you get advice from just about everyone, and a depressing amount of it is just awful. I don’t claim to be someone who knows everything about being a dad. In fact, I think it’s pretty sad that I didn’t connect the dots and start purposefully praying for Evangeline every day for months.
But let this be my one piece of parenting advice so far. If you’re a father to an unborn child, be a father right now. Don’t waste your first months of fatherhood. Pray for your child, and make sacrifices for her. Don’t wait until you hold your child in your arms to start being a father.
For anyone who might be looking for a place to start, I’m going to share the simple prayer that I wrote, and pray every day. Maybe it will be a starting point for you to write your own prayer, or just inspire you to pray from your heart for the good of your own child, or someone else’s child.
I’ve formatted it so it can be used by anyone to pray for a specific unborn child, and the child’s parents. Just replace the pronouns, or whatever else you need to.
Lord, in your mercy, preserve and protect your child, N, from all danger. Keep her safe and secure within her mother’s womb, that she may receive the baptism of salvation.
For the sake of the passion and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, let this little one be washed in His blood, and saved from all stain of sin and evil.
In accordance with your perfect will, I humbly ask that You also preserve and protect N, her mother, and N, her father, and bestow on us (them) in Your generous love every grace and blessing, that we (they) may raise N in the heart of Your Church, and teach her to know Your Truth, and to observe all that You have commanded.
We entrust our prayer to the sure intercession of Mary, our blessed mother, and of St. Gerrard, Blessed Imelda, and St Catherine of Siena.