As a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, so we, because we had so fond an affection for you, were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, for you had become very dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:7–8
Heavenly Father, just as you gave us mothers to delight in us, to feed us, and to pour their lives into us so we would grow and flourish as human beings, you gave us parents in the faith who performed the same function. Apart from these selfless, affectionate, gracious men and women, we would have floundered not flourished. Without all the energy they poured into us, we would have died in our spiritual infancy, abandoned to the attacks of the Evil One, the appetites of the flesh and the appeal of the world. Without the precious, nourishing words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our souls would hunger and thirst with no hope of satisfaction. Without their care the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of material success and the desires for other sources of joy would have choked the life from our hearts. Without their protection, the heat of persecution and the anguish of affliction would have caused our souls to melt. But your proxies, your mentors, your pastor-teachers, shielded us and pruned us and refocused our attention on your glory, so that we not only survived, but thrived and have hope of bearing much glorious fruit. Now to you who can keep us from stumbling, and can make us stand in the presence of your glory blameless with great joy, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.