If you or someone you know is struggling to have a child, here are some ways to pray.
Posted in , Nov 5, 2019
You probably know someone who has suffered from infertility. According to my friend the bioethicist Robert Klitzman, some 20 percent of couples in the United States look for medical help to have a baby, and that number is growing.
Fortunately, there are many reasons for hope—and some concerns. At Guideposts we get many prayer requests from couples or their parents or grandparents going through this struggle. After talking to Klitzman and reading his book Designing Babies I had a better idea about how to pray for them.
Look to the Bible.
Robert reminded me how some of the major figures of the Bible struggled with infertility. Think of Abraham in the book of Genesis or Zechariah and Elizabeth who “in her old age also conceived a son,” John the Baptist.
“Birth and reproduction are deeply religious phenomena,” Robert says. “From a woman’s body comes a human being who has a soul, a full human being, the greatest miracle that each of us experience in our lives.”
Turn to God.
Many of the people Robert interviewed brought up God as they discussed their struggles, saying, “God meant me to have a child” or “God didn’t mean for me to have a child.” Prayer is the most natural recourse. Asking God for help like this goes back…well, to Biblical times.
You are not alone.
The numbers are staggering. Robert said that at least 10 percent of couples are infertile, and as couples wait longer to have children, those figures are increasing. “Women’s fertility drops drastically in their late thirties,” he reminded me.
Be honest in your prayers.
Klitzman is a trained psychiatrist and he has good listening ear (which explains why his interviews are so compelling). I could tell him anything—and have. God is the same sort of friend. If you’re angry or confused or miserable over the struggles of infertility, be honest in your prayers. Just letting go of the steam can be a gift.
Prayers are answered.
We’ve run countless stories in Guideposts about people who have discovered their prayers for a child were answered by adoption. They found they had families they never dreamed of having. I’ve seen that in my own extended family. Most of the time I don’t even remember if someone is adopted or not. They’re family, and that’s what counts.
So many modern miracles have come through medical intervention. I, for one, would not be alive—and thriving—today if it weren’t for good doctors and hospitals. I can also be grateful that there are bioethicists like Klitzman to help guide us through the moral quandaries that can come up.
Thanks, my friend, for the values you maintain and pass along. Godspeed.