One year ago today my niece, Lily René, was born sleeping (stillborn). I have always been one to turn to the prayers of the church for comfort and guidance, and so to cope and as a way to offer pastoral care to my family I put together a prayer book for my niece.
On the first anniversary of Lily’s birth I would like to offer her prayer book as a resource to all who have lost children in stillbirth and miscarriage. These prayers have been most helpful to me and my family in the last year.
At the end of this post I have included a .pdf of Lily’s prayer book for download.
Lily René, may light perpetual shine upon you. +
Prayer Book for Lily René
For my niece, Lily René, and her parents, Ted and Kristina.
Lord, you are near to those who call upon you, to all who call upon you faithfully.
I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep; the Lord himself watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand, so that the sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; it is he who shall keep you safe.
The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time fourth forevermore.
Prayer for Comfort
Lord god, Father of mercies and God of all comfort: We thank you for your care in this time of trial and sadness. Console and comfort these your servants with assurance of your tender compassion and unfailing love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice; let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, O Lord, who could stand?
For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; in his word is my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy; with him there is plenteous redemption, and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.
Prayer for the Grieving
Merciful God, comfort your servants whose hearts grieve, and grant that they may so love and serve you in this life that, together with this child, they may obtain the fullness of your promises in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Prayer for Entrusting Lily to God’s Care & Mercy
O God our Father, your beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them. Give us grace, we pray, that we may entrust Lily to your never-failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
My soul is deprived of peace, I have forgotten what happiness is; I tell myself my future is lost, all that I hoped for from the Lord.
The thought of my homeless poverty is wormwood and gall; remembering it over and over leaves my soul downcast within me.
But I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Good is the Lord to one who waits for him, to the soul that seeks him; it is good to hope in silence for the saving help of the Lord.
Prayer for Lily’s Parents: Ted and Kristina
Compassionate God, soothe the hearts of Ted and Kristina, enlighten their faith, give hope to their hearts, and peace to their lives.
For those who trust in God, in the pain of sorrow there is consolation, in the face of despair there is hope, in the midst of death there is life. Lord, as Ted and Kristina mourn the death of Lily place them in your hands and grant them strength, healing, and love.
Lord, grant mercy to Ted and Kristina and comfort them with hope that one day they will live with you, with your Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.
Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
In grassy meadows he lets me lie.
By tranquil streams he leads me to restore my spirit.
He guides me in paths of saving justice as befits his name.
Even were I to walk in the ravine as dark as death I should fear no danger, for you are at my side.
Your staff and your crook are there to soothe me.
You prepare a table for me under the eyes of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup brims over.
Kindness and faithful love pursue me every day of my life.
I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come.
Prayer for God’s Presence
Out of the depths we cry to you, O loving God. Come near those whose hearts are torn with grief and sorrow, for you know and share our tears. Help us trust your care, so that even in the pain of losing Lily, we may be assured that we do not walk alone in the valley of the shadow of death; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
And as well as this, the Spirit too comes to help us in our weakness, for, when we do not know how to pray properly, then the Spirit personally makes our petitions for us in groans that cannot be put into words; and he who can see into all hearts knows what the Spirit means because the prayers that the Spirit makes for God’s holy people are always in accordance with the mind of God.
Prayer for Comfort through God’s Presence
Merciful God, your Spirit intercedes for us even when we do not know how to pray. Be present among us now, that we might commend Lily into your loving care and, by your presence, find comfort; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Savior.
St. Mark 10:14-16
“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.
Prayer for Hope and God’s Love
Heavenly Father, your love for all children is strong and enduring. We were not able to know Lily as we hoped. Yet you knew her growing in Kristina’s womb, and she is not lost to you. In the midst of our sadness, we thank you that Lily is with you now, and with you forever.
St. John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him.
What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men; and light shines in the darkness, and darkness could not overpower it.
Prayer for Commendation
Lily, Child of God, we entrust you to the arms of God’s Mercy.
Almighty God, who formed us all out of the dust of the earth, receive you in peace.
Christ, the Good Shepherd, enfold you with his tender care.
God the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, bear you to life in god’s new creation.
May you dwell forever in the paradise of God.
Psalm 139 13-14
You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb.
For so many marvels I thank you; a wonder am I, and all your works are wonders.
Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit,
Bless you now and forever.
Download Lily’s Prayer Book.
I curated this prayer book from the following resources: Lutheran Book of Worship, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, The Book of Common Prayer, Shorter Book of Blessings, and Book of Common Worship.