Prayer for a Mother, Whose Son is in the Military (1858)

From Fanny Neuda, Stunden der Andacht: Ein Gebet und Erbauungsbuch für Israels Frauen und Jungfrauen  [Hours of Devotion: A Prayer and Devotional Book for Women and Young Women of Israel], (Prague: Wolf Pascheles Publishing, 1858, 2nd ed.), pp. 101-102. Translated from the German by Hinda Tz. Eisen.

Almighty, Lord of Hosts, You who rule mightily in Heaven and on Earth, to You my prayer rises from a deep maternal heart. Turn Your face to me and answer me in Your Grace.

Following the call of duty, my son has joined the ranks of fighters for the Fatherland, to stand up for right and order, and to ward off evil and malice where they threaten the Fatherland and its inhabitants. Well, this is a fine, honorable profession, and I thank You, Father of All, that You gave me a child with healthy, strong limbs, capable of bearing arms in service of the Holy Fatherland; but it shakes and trembles my motherly heart when I consider the dangers and obstacles that surround him. Young and inexperienced, away from the teachings and reprimands of his parents, how difficult it will be for him not to give into the temptations of his youthful heart and to be unfaithful to his obligations and fall into sin!

Therefore I beseech You, Father of All, take him into Your mighty protection, surround him with Your overwhelming kindness. Strengthen every strong and noble feeling, every good impulse in him, that he should let every memory of the teachings of virtue and the Fear of God never go out of sight, that his soul may not harden under the hard service of the weapons, so the voices of sin will never master him. Grant him, Compassionate One, insight and strength, vigor and stamina, to meet his heavy obligations promptly, that he commit no transgression. Make him feel no false guilt, never to be misled by anything, or to shake his abounding obedience, in the self-sacrificing loyalty and devotion to his Prince and Ruler, whose flag he swore. And if the hot hour strikes, trust him out on the battlefield, where death is rampant; Father of All, envelop him with Your Grace, let Your steadfast love be his shield and armor, and pour courage into his heart. And let the memory of the fine old heroes of Israel inspire him, that he may join freely and enthusiastically in battle against his enemy. May his courage be impenetrable and bravery in his people’s honor, and may he prove his loyalty to Prince and Fatherland.

Hear, Maker of All, my prayer for him; let him be supported by my motherly blessing, as a protective banner, that he may come back again after completion of services, healing of body and mind, adorned with the sign of recognition of duty fulfilled, to the delight of my heart, for fame and glory of Your Name. Amen.


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