She was so small,
so full of hope and promise.
What a blessing she has been
to all of us who knew her
those few short months.
She taught us to love,
to hope beyond expectation,
to trust in that which is unseen.
She drew us together
in our anxiety,
our moments of despairing and hopelessness,
as well as in our joys and delight,
and in her every breath.
Her life ended prematurely;
just so had she been born.
Too soon she died.
The tears continue.
and held one another.
The pain will always linger.
Our hearts emptier
for her absence
and the unfulfilled dreams
But the love she brought
into our lives will live forever.
Thank you for giving her to us.
Thank you for the blessing
that she will always be.
Thank you for the love we
would never have known,
but for her
and her brief days with us.
Thank you for _____,
our blessed child of grace.
At six months pregnant, Monique Gray suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. The brain damage was too great, and doctors gave up hope for mom. Their attention turned to saving the baby. So, they placed Monique on life support. But one nurse refused to give up, and kept on praying for Monique. And prayer saved a brain-dead mom and unborn baby!
All Monique remembers from the day she went to the hospital is getting home late and hitting the sack. But at some point she called for an ambulance. Paramedics say she was complaining of a headache and throwing up.
By the time they got to the hospital, Monique was unconscious.
CAT scans showed Monique, who was six months pregnant, had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
“I have to tell you we didn’t think she was going to make it,” retired critical care nurse Barbra Hamm recalls.
Because of the brain damage caused by the hemorrhage, doctors didn’t think there was any hope for Monique. They placed her on life support in an effort to save her unborn baby.
RELATED: Parents saying goodbye as their baby is taken off life support get a miracle
Praying For Divine Healing
Barbra knew Monique’s and the baby’s fate was in God’s hands. So, she started praying. She prayed without ceasing, asking our Heavenly Father to send a miracle.
“The minute I started taking care of her, I knew I had to pray for her, and I prayed every day,” Barbra said. “It was almost like a prayer was going through my mind all the time I took care of her. I felt this compelling need to pray for her all the time.”
Two nuns who work for the hospital also felt compelled to pray for Monique. They came to her bedside and started praying over her. At the end of the prayer, something incredible happened.
The nuns felt a powerful presence enter the room — something they described as “the Ultimate Love.” The nuns knew instantly it was God. Then a voice told one of the nuns,
“Don’t worry, Nickie’s going to be okay.”
As it turns out, Nickie is the nickname Monique’s family gave her.
RELATED: Doctors gave a mom days to live until the whole church started praying
A Miracle Arrives
Immediately after God assured the nun all was well, Monique sat up, looked at them and asked for some water.
“And that was after three days, brain-dead, no brain wave activity, nothing registered at all,” Monique explained.
Barbra knew this was a miracle from God.
“I was just elated for one thing, and surprised,” she said “because they really gave her very little chance, very little chance of surviving.”
In just a matter of days Monique was well enough to remove life support. Her CAT scans showed completely normal brain function — something the doctors hadn’t believed possible!
“She became stable enough to be transferred out and that was a miracle,” Barbra said.
Three months later, Monique had a beautiful and perfectly healthy baby girl. She named her Cassandra.
“She survived all of this; all of that medication, all of that with absolutely no neurological deficits, no medication in her system, which is another miracle in and of itself,” Monique says of her baby girl.
The Gift Of Life
Today, Cassandra is 21 years old. Monique has enjoyed 21 years with the daughter she was never supposed to meet.
Monique doesn’t know why she received such a huge blessing from God, but tries to honor Him by sharing her story and living the best life she can possibly live.
There’s no doubt it was prayer that saved this brain-dead mom and unborn baby. And the incredible miracle only bolstered Monique’s own faith.
“I know without a shadow of a doubt that God exists,”she says. “The only reason I’m here today at the capacity I’m here, is because of Him, and His grace.”
Their baby girl was supposed to die, so the family prayed for and got a miracle!
Therefore, we see panikhidas and prayer at home for the dead are beneficial for them, as are good deeds done in their memory, such as alms or contributions to the church. But especially beneficial for them is commemoration at the Divine Liturgy. There have been many appearances of the dead and other occurrences which confirm how beneficial is the commemoration of the dead. Many who died in repentance, but who were unable to manifest this while they were alive, have been freed from tortures and have obtained repose.
How important commemoration at the Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence: Before the uncovering of the relics of St. Theodosius of Chernigov (1896), the priest-monk (the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, who died in 1916) who was conducting the re-vesting of the relics, becoming weary while sitting by the relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who told him: “I thank you for laboring me. I beg you also, when you will serve the Liturgy, to commemorate my parents”—and be gave their names (Priest Nikita and Maria).** “How can you, O Saint, ask my prayers, when you yourself stand at the heavenly Throne and grant to people God’s mercy?” the priest-monk asked. “Yes, that is true,” replied St. Theodosius, “but the offering at the Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer.”
Therefore, we see panikhidas and prayer at home for the dead are beneficial for them, as are good deeds done in their memory, such as alms or contributions to the church. But especially beneficial for them is commemoration at the Divine Liturgy. There have been many appearances of the dead and other occurrences which confirm how beneficial is the commemoration of the dead. Many who died in repentance, but who were unable to manifest this while they were alive, have been freed from tortures and have obtained repose. In the Church, prayers are ever offered for the repose of the dead, and on the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, in the kneeling prayers at vespers, there is even a special petition “for those in hell.”
St. Gregory the Great, in answering in his Dialogues the question, “Is there anything at all that can possibly benefit souls after death?” teaches: “The Holy Sacrifice of Christ, our saving Victim, brings great benefits to souls even after death, provided their sins (are such as) can be pardoned in the life to come. For this reason the souls of the dead sometimes beg to have Liturgies offered for them … The safer course, naturally, is to do for ourselves during life what we hope others will do for us after death. It is better to make one’s exit a free man than to seek liberty after one is in chains. We should, therefore, despise this world with all our hearts as though its glory were already spent, and offer our sacrifice of tears to God each day as we immolate His sacred Flesh and Blood. This Sacrifice alone has the power of saving the soul from eternal death, for it presents to us mystically the death of the Only-begotten Son” (Dialogues IV: 57, 60, pp. 266, 272-3).
St. Gregory gives several examples of the dead appearing to the living and asking for or thanking them for the celebration of the Liturgy for their repose; once, also, a captive whom his wife believed dead and for whom she had the Liturgy celebrated on certain days, returned from captivity and told her how he had been released from his chains on some days—the very days when the Liturgy had been offered for him. (Dialogues IV: 57, 59, pp. 267, 270).
Protestant theologians find the Church’s prayer for the dead to be somehow incompatible with the necessity of finding salvation first of all in this life: “If you can be saved by the Church after death, then why bother to struggle or find faith in this Life? Let us eat, drink, and be merry…” Of course, no one holding such a philosophy has ever attained salvation by the Church’s prayers, and it is evident that such an argument is quite artificial and even hypocritical. The Church’s prayer cannot save anyone who does not wish salvation, or who never offered any struggle for it himself during his lifetime. In a sense, one might say that the prayer of the Church or of individual Christians for a dead person is but another result of that person’s life: he would not be prayed for unless he had done something during his lifetime to inspire such prayer after his death.
St. Mark of Ephesus also discusses this question of the Church’s prayer for the dead and the improvement it brings in their state, citing the example of the prayer of St. Gregory the Dialogist for the Roman Emperor Trajan—a prayer inspired by a good deed of this pagan Emperor.
**These names had been unknown before this vision. Several years after the canonization, St. Theodosius’ own Book of Commemoration was found in the monastery where he had once been Abbot, which confirmed these names and corroborated the vision. See the Life of Elder Alexis in Pravoslavny Blagovestnik, San Francisco, 1967, No. I (in Russian).
Excerpt from The Soul after Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose
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Giving a dedication to a child provides an opportunity for the mother and father to present their child to God and ask for his grace and wisdom. Here is a look at some of the best prayers for baby dedication to remember.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this treasured child of mine. Although you have entrusted this child to me as a gift, I know he or she belongs to you. Like Hannah offered Samuel, I dedicate my child to you, Lord. I recognize that he is always in your care.
Help me as a parent, Lord, with my weaknesses and imperfections. Give me strength and godly wisdom to raise this child after your Holy Word. Please, supply supernaturally what I lack. Keep my child walking on the path that leads to eternal life. Help him to overcome the temptations of this world and the sin that would so easily entangle him.
Dear God, send your Holy Spirit daily to lead, guide, and counsel him. Always assist him to grow in wisdom and stature, in grace and knowledge, in kindness, compassion and love. May this child serve you faithfully, with his whole heart devoted to you all the days of his life. May he discover the joy of your presence through daily relationship with your Son, Jesus.
Help me never to hold on too tightly to this child, nor neglect my responsibilities before you as a parent. Lord, let my commitment to raise this child for the glory of your name cause his life to forever testify of your faithfulness.
In the name of Jesus, I pray.
We pray that You will be their shepherd, that
they will not be left in need. Lord, make them
to lie down in green pastures. May You lead
them beside the still waters. Restore their
souls. May You lead them into paths of righteousness
for Your Name’s sake. Yes, even
though they will walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, they will fear no evil for
You are with them. May your rod and your
staff comfort them. May You prepare a table
before them in the presence of their enemies.
May You anoint their heads with oil. May
their cups run over. May goodness and mercy
follow them all the days of their lives; and we
pray that they will dwell in the house of the
Lord forever. Amen.
We are so grateful for the blessing of being your parents! We bring you before your Maker and give Him complete authority over your life. We pray you will be blessed with love, grace, and an eternal relationship with Jesus. We love you so much!
We pray that you are rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Lord, we pray that Matthew’s heart, like seed sown on good soil, will hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—a hundred times what was sown. Please bless him throughout his life. Use us, Lord, as examples to him of what living a life of obedience to you looks like. We pray he finds his joy in You alone!
Thank you for my precious little one.
This love I have for my child overwhelms me with joy.
Today I dedicate myself to parent this child in accordance with your Word.
I commit to teach my child the stories and the instructions in your Word.
I will seek to display your love and wisdom each day.
Guide my words and my actions daily, so that I continually show my little one the wonders of you, my Loving Heavenly Father.
I pray that you, Lord, will be the passion of his heart from a young age to his last day.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
Here is a look at one baby dedication as performed at Sattleback’s Fuel Service by Pastor Chris Reed.