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A Prayer for a Woman in the Time of her Travail. (From Bishop Patrick.)
O MOST mighty Lord, who hast given us innumerable pledges of thy love, and encouraged us to trust in thee for ever, and to expect with quiet and patient minds the issue of thy wise and good providence; we most humbly commend thy servant, in this her extremity, to thy care and blessing; beseeching thee to give her a gracious deliverance, and to ease her of the burden wherewith she labours. We ourselves are monuments of that mercy which we beg of thee. Thou didst preserve our weak and imperfect frame before we were born. Thou has succoured and supported us ever since, many times beyond our hopes, and always beyond our deservings. We commit ourselves and every thing belonging unto us most heartily into thy hands; remembering that thou hast the same power and goodness still by which we came into the light of the living. We cannot desire to be better provided for than as thy infinite wisdom judgeth most convenient for us: unto that we refer ourselves, beseeching thee, if it be thy good pleasure, that her deliverance may be as speedy as her cries unto thee; or her patience as great and long as her pains. Thou who ripenest the fruits of the earth, and then givest us the gathering of them to our comfort, blast not, we beseech thee, the fruit of the womb; but bring it to maturity, and deliver it safe into thy servant's hand as a new pledge of thy goodness to her, to be an instrument of thy glory, and a future comfort and blessing to thy servant, who travails in
so much pain with it now. Or if thou hast otherwise determined, Lord, give her grace to submit to thy holy will, and to rest satisfied in thy wise appointments, and never to distrust thy goodness and care over her. Hear us, O Father of mercies, and pardon hers and all our offences, and pity our infirmities: make us more thankful for what we have received, and more fit for the blessing which we now request; and prepare us for all thy future mercies, either in this life or in the next, through thy infinite love and compassion declared to us, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for a Woman who cannot be delivered without Difficulty and Hazard.
O LORD GOD of all comfort and consolation, who art the refuge of the distressed, and the help of all that depend upon thee; we thy unworthy servants do now offer up our supplications at the throne of thy majesty, in the behalf of this thy servant, who is in great pain and misery. Thou hast been pleased to bring the child to the birth, but there is not strength to bring forth. On this account thy servant is in violent agonies, crying out in her pangs, and pouring out her soul to thee in prayer. O grant that "it may be in an acceptable time."
"Thou art our salvation; thou shalt preserve us from trouble; thou shalt compass us about with songs of deliverance." O let thy servant feel these blessed effects of thy goodness; and as thou hast brought to the birth, enable her, we beseech thee, to bring forth, that she may rejoice in the workmanship of thy hands, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
Consider the low estate of thine handmaid, and deliver her soul from death, her eyes from tears, and her feet from falling. "Gracious art thou, O Lord, and righteous; thou preservest the simple, and helpest those that are in misery." Help thy servant therefore now, we humbly entreat thee, who stands in so much need of it. Accept her tears, and assuage her pain, as shall seem most expedient for her. And forasmuch as she putteth her whole trust in thee, give her strength and patience proportionable to all her pains and agonies. Support her spirits under them, and, if thou pleasest, carry her safely through the same, and "make her to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
"Restore unto her, O Lord, the joy of thy salvation, and uphold her with thy free Spirit; then shall she teach transgressors thy way, and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver her" from this great affliction, "O God, thou God of her salvation, and her tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness."
Thy mercies and power are still the same, and will be the same for ever. O let them now be shown in this thy servant's delivery, as they have been formerly on the like occasion; that so, by having fresh instances of thy lovingkindness, she may still praise thee more and more.
O perfect her repentance, and pardon her sins. Give her patience whilst she lives, and peace when she dies, and after death, the happiness of a blessed eternity, which thou hast promised and prepared for all that love and fear thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
12 This is to be omitted if it be the first child.
A Prayer for Grace and Assistance for a Woman after Delivery, but still in Danger. (From Mr. Kettlewell.)
O FATHER of mercies, what thanks can we worthily give unto thee for thine unspeakable goodness to this thy servant, and her helpless infant, and for the wondrous things which thou hast done for her! The pangs of death compassed her, and she found trouble and sorrow. The mouth of the pit was opened, and ready to shut itself upon her: but thou hast graciously assuaged her pains, and turned her sorrows into joy.
Lord, we will ever adore and magnify thy mercy, which has dealt so lovingly with her, and praise thy truth and faithfulness, which have not suffered her hopes to fail. We will never forget how mindful thou hast been of the low estate of thy handmaid; for she has been supported by thy power, O blessed God, in her greatest weakness. She has tasted thy goodness in the midst of all her pangs and sorrows.
Perfect, O Lord, that deliverance to her which thou hast most graciously begun, and let her not be lost, after the wonders which thou hast already done for her.
Continue her patience and her humble dependence on thee, under the pains and accidents to which she is still exposed. Support her spirits, and raise her up again in thy due time. Thy mercy and power are still the same, and will be the same for ever. O let them still be shown for her recovery, as they have been already for her delivery; let them be shown upon her, that she may praise thee more and more.
But if, in thy paternal providence, whereunto we pray she may willingly commit herself, thou hast determined otherwise concerning her, thy blessed will be done. Dispose her either to life or death, as thou pleasest, only in both to thy mercy: and whether living or dying, let her still please thee, and be thou her portion. O perfect her repentance, and give her patience whilst she lives, and peace when she dies, and after that, the happiness of a blessed eternity, which thou hast prepared for all that truly fear thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If the Child be living, this may be added:
PRESERVE likewise her tender infant, O Father of mercies, and let its own weakness, and our cries, commend it to thy care.
Keep it also afterwards in health and safety, and as it increases in years and stature, let it increase in wisdom, and in thy fear. We beg not for it wealth or greatness, but wisdom to know and to serve thee. For, O Lord, we do not desire life either for ourselves or it, but that we may live to thee, and grow daily in love and thankfulness for all thy mercies, and in faith and patience, and all holy obedience, which may fit us for the happiness which thou hast promised; through Jesus Christ our only Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
Prayers for a Sick Child.
O ALMIGHTY GOD and merciful Father, to whom alone belong the issues of life and death; look down from heaven, we humbly beseech thee, with the eyes