Chapped Lip Prayers Over Baby Onesies


megan gahan -prayed over onesies3

I yank open the drawer in my bedside table, on a mission for lip balm. But the search is halted before I can start rummaging, when my eyes land on a tiny, white onesie. It’s carefully folded atop the random receipts, bobby pins and candy wrappers.

There’s a grinning clock on the front, and tags dangle from the little sleeve. Below the image, it cheekily reads, “Mommy’s alarm clock”.

I forget my chapped lips for a moment, and I pause. I pray for my friends, who are yearning for a baby to fill that onesie. I pray for an empty womb to be filled. I pray for a precious child yet to be conceived, and for the one who was devastatingly lost just weeks before.

Prayer does not come very naturally to me. My prayers are never eloquent or filled with flowery language. They sound more like conversations. Honest, raw conversations with a friend I adore but am also sometimes completely annoyed with. Perhaps that’s why I have always felt awkward praying for others’ needs—especially out loud. I think it needs to be a sweeping, poetic plea to really count. The kind that leaves others overcome with emotion, lavishing compliments on the pray-er’s articulate prose. But my words come across more clumsy than inspired. Long ago, I decided I should leave divine intervention to those bestowed with that gift.

This amazing piece by Kelley Nikondeha shifted my perspective on praying for others. She wrote of a friend who was traveling to Spain for a year to teach English. During that time, Kelley used only Spanish olive oil. Every time she reached for that oil, she would be reminded to commit her friend’s journey into God’s hands. No need for profound speeches. Just a bottle of oil and regular words spoken over a frying pan. “That,” I thought, “I can do.”

About that time, I had a friend who was hoping for a baby. She and her husband had exhausted their medical options, and were starting the adoption process with a local agency. They wanted to adopt a newborn, but knew it would be a long shot. More likely, they would adopt an older baby, possibly a toddler.

I wanted to stand with my friends as they waited. I wanted to do something intentional. So I wandered into a baby store, thinking I could find an object to remind me to pray. When my eyes landed on a cream coloured onesie with a tiny Eiffel Tower on it, I knew the search was over. My friend adores all Parisian things. It had to be this onesie

Now came the difficult part. Selecting a size. I hovered over the nine-month shirt, wondering if I should find something bigger, just in case. Then, I felt a not-so-subtle nudge to the top of the pile. To the very smallest one: 0-3 months.

“No,” I breathed. “It’s not realistic. They’ll never get to use it.” But the nudge was rapidly turning into a spiritual shove. I reluctantly purchased it, and gently placed it in my bedside table.

For months, every time I opened the drawer, I prayed over that onesie. It was never a particularly long prayer. It was simple, pleading, a daily reminder floating up to the heavens.

Then one ordinary day, there was a knock on my door. And my friend rushed in, flushed and brimming with happiness.

“I’m pregnant!”

“What? Pregnant? But how?”

As she joyfully told me of the miracle she was housing inside a body she once imagined broken, I remembered.

“Wait. I have something for you.”

Completely overcome, I went to retrieve the tiny onesie I had fought God about purchasing. The one I thought they would never be able to use. But it wasn’t too small. It was perfect.

Now it was my dear friend’s turn to be lost for words, as I handed her the onesie with the Eiffel Tower on it. And we stood in disbelief at all of it. At the glory, the God-ness of it all.

Not long after, I got to see a precious baby girl wearing the onesie that had lived in my bedside table. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. And one that deeply convicted me of my fear of praying incorrectly for others. My friends do not care whether my prayers are impressive or not. Whether they’re good enough to be read aloud or heard by the masses. But they care deeply that I’m standing with them in the trenches, gripping their hand. That I’m willing to do something wildly and audaciously hopeful when their faith is wavering. Like praying. Or buying way-too-small baby clothes.

As I mentioned earlier, there is a new onesie in my drawer—the one with the clock. Once again, it was purchased in faith. Again, it is prayed over in words my five-year-old could easily follow. But this time, my expectation is greater. I pray with more authority. I pray as someone who has seen the intervention of God up close. As someone convinced that her stumbling prayers are just as necessary, as worthy, as divine, as the stunning ones.