There are many mothers in the Bible that we can look up to as powerful examples of how to pray for our children with love and compassion. These women endured great pain and suffering as they journeyed through motherhood, but many of them persevered in the midst of difficult circumstances and trusted God with their children’s lives.
Are you in need of encouragement and strength on your motherhood journey? Take a look at these 13 powerful mothers in the Bible as you seek the Lord for inspiration and hope as a godly mother. You can even download a FREE printable with these mothers in the Bible at the end of this post!
What Does the Bible Say About Mothers?
The role of a mother is highly honored in the Bible, and there are many Scriptures that speak to the importance of a mother in the lives of others. One Bible passage that includes a detailed description of a godly mother is found in Proverbs 31. This passage offers insight into how a godly wife and mother can conduct herself in her community and in her home.
One of the most well-known verses describing a mother’s godly attributes is described in Proverbs 31:28-29,
Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Godly mothers in the Bible are honored for serving the Lord and conducting the affairs of their homes with grace and diligence. Let’s take a closer look at 13 mothers in the Bible to gain more wisdom on how to live as grace-filled mothers in our own lives.
Mothers in the Bible: Eve
Eve was not only the first woman created on Earth, but she was also the first mother. Her name in Hebrew means “life” or “living”. In Genesis 3:20, Adam named her Eve, since she would become “the mother of all the living”. As recorded in Scripture, she gave birth to Cain, Abel, and later Seth after Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4:25). We also know that Adam and Eve had more children after Seth (Genesis 5:4).
Lessons from Eve
Eve is most known for disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She and Adam were both guilty of sinning against God, ultimately ushering sin and death into the world through their actions (Genesis 3:3,6,16-17). Although not much is mentioned about her role as a mother, we can learn a powerful lesson from Eve’s life as a mother: our actions have consequences.
Her choice to disobey God impacted the lives of her future children. If sin had not entered the world through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, their children would have experienced a very different world. We often do not know how the impact of our decisions will greatly affect those around us–especially our children. Through the example of Eve, we can make the conscious decision to love God and obey his commands, which will positively impact our children.
Mothers in the Bible: Sarah
When we are first introduced to Sarah in the Bible, her name was Sarai, which means “princess” in Hebrew. Later in Genesis 17:15, God changed her name to Sarah, which means “noblewoman”. In Genesis 12, God spoke to her husband Abram (God later changed his name to Abraham), and instructed him to take his possessions and travel to a land God would reveal to him (Genesis 12:1).
God also promised Abram that he would become the father of many nations (Genesis 13:14-17, 15:2-5). This meant that Sarah would become the mother of many nations. This was hard for them to believe, since Sarah was unable to have children (Genesis 16:1).
Lessons from Sarah
When God told Abram that he would have a son and become the father of many, Abram believed God (Genesis 15:6). Sarah on the other hand, was doubtful, and even laughed at the seemingly ridiculous idea (Genesis 18:10-12). The Lord responded to her disbelief by proclaiming,
Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14)
One of the lessons we can learn from Sarah’s story is that nothing is too hard for God. When God makes a promise, he will bring it to fruition. There are times when we struggle to see God’s promises come to pass in our own lives. Like Sarah, we scoff in disbelief, or we take matters into our own hands and try to make things happen ourselves. (Sarah took matters into her own hands when she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham to produce an heir for their family in Genesis 16:1-2).
Although Sarah made many mistakes, God kept his promise. She became the mother of Isaac, and ultimately became the mother of many nations. In our own journey through motherhood, we will experience times of doubt, despair, and disbelief. During those times, hold tightly to God’s words of encouragement to Sarah–is there anything too hard for the Lord? No matter what difficulty you may face in your motherhood, trust that God will keep his promises in your life.
Mothers in the Bible: Jochebed
Jochebed was the birth mother of Moses, and a mother of relentless faith. When Moses was born, she did not obey the Pharaoh’s command to have every baby boy thrown into the Nile river (Exodus 1:22). Instead, she hid Moses in her home for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she created a papyrus basket and covered it with tar and pitch. She put Moses in the waterproof basket and carefully placed him among the reeds in the bank of the Nile (Exodus 1:3-4).
Moses was found in the Nile river by Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted Moses and raised him in the Egyptian palace (Exodus 2:5-10). Moses later became one of the greatest leaders among the Israelites.
Lessons from Jocheved
We can certainly learn from Jocheved’s courage to protect her child no matter what obstacles were in her way. Not only did she protect Moses, but she placed his fate in the hands of God when she placed him in the basket of the Nile. As mothers, we can also confidently place our children in the hands of God. When we trust God to take care of them, we can rest secure knowing that they are in good hands.
Mothers in the Bible: Rebekah
Rebekah’s story starts in Genesis 24. As Abraham was approaching the end of his life, he asked his servant to go to his home country to find a wife for his son Isaac. This led him to find Rebekah, who was willing to travel back to Canaan to marry Isaac (Genesis 24:57-58). Many years after Isaac and Rebekah were married, she gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. While she was pregnant, she felt the twins jostling inside her womb, and she inquired of the Lord about it (Genesis 25:21-22). God spoke to her saying,
“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”Genesis 25:23
When the twins grew up, Jacob (who was the youngest) swindled his older brother Esau out of his birthright and Rebekah helped Jacob deceive his father Isaac to receive the blessing that traditionally goes to the first born son (Genesis 25:29-34, Genesis 27).
Lessons from Rebekah
What lessons can we learn from Rebekah’s life as a mother? Her family went through many challenges and difficulties, and in some ways, it seems that she positioned herself right in the middle of the family drama. She showed favoritism toward Jacob (not a good idea as a parent), and took matters into her own hands by deceiving her husband so that Jacob could receive the blessing.
These are clear examples of what not to do as a mother, but we can give Rebekah credit for seeking the Lord when she felt her sons jostling in her womb in Genesis 25:22. There are times when we observe the troubling actions and behaviors of our children, and our first response should always be to inquire of the Lord for wisdom and direction.
Related: Check out this post on 35 Scriptures to Pray Over your Children!
Mothers in the Bible: Rachel and Leah
Rachel and Leah were sisters, and the wives of Jacob, the son of Isaac. Genesis 29-30 outlines the tension, jealousy, and rivalry these sisters had with each other. Jacob loved Rachel, and he expressed to her father Laban his desire to marry her. The agreement was that Jacob would work for Laban for seven years, and then he would be able to marry Rachel.
When the wedding night arrived, Laban deceitfully gave his older daughter Leah to Jacob instead, since it was not customary for the younger daughter to be given in marriage first. At the end of the bridal week with Leah, Rachel was also given to Jacob in marriage in exchange for another seven years of work (Genesis 29:21-27).
Leah was jealous of Rachel because she was more loved by Jacob, and Rachel was jealous of Leah because she bore Jacob more children. Both sisters resented one another and competed with each other by using motherhood as a twisted source of power and status. Each sister also gave their servants Bilhah and Zilpah to Jacob as concubines.
They did this so that their servants could produce more children for them when they themselves were unable to bear more children. Eventually, Rachel tragically died giving birth to her second son Benjamin (Genesis 35:16-18).
Lessons from Rachel and Leah
Rachel and Leah definitely had a complex family dynamic. They were sisters, wives, mothers, and both longed for the love and attention of their husband. What can we learn from their stories? First, we can understand that motherhood is a wonderful privilege to be cherished and honored, and should not be used to wield power and status over others.
Perhaps they were so busy bearing children to out-do each other that they lost sight of the true gift of motherhood. The real beauty of motherhood is the opportunity we have to raise godly children in the fear of the Lord–but they were too focused on bearing children for selfish motives. Our children are not trophies to be touted, but precious souls to be nurtured and raised in the strength and admonition of the Lord.
Mothers in the Bible: Hannah
One of my favorite mothers in the Bible is Hannah. She was distraught and in despair, because like Rachel, she was unable to bear children. Even though she was deeply loved by her husband Elkanah, she still longed for a child of her own.
She was also provoked by Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, who had many sons and daughters (1 Samuel 1:2-8). Year after year, Peninnah caused Hannah grief for her childless state (this resembles the rivalry between Rachel and Leah!)
Every time Hannah went to the temple, she poured her heart out to the Lord in supplication (1 Samuel 1:10-11). God remembered her, and she bore a son named Samuel. Out of gratitude to the Lord, she surrendered Samuel back to God by allowing him to be raised in the temple after he was weaned. The words she is most famous for saying are found in 1 Samuel 1:27-28,
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
Lessons from Hannah
In the beginning of Hannah’s story, she prayed to the Lord in supplication by boldly asking for a son. At the end of her story, she offered a prayer of surrender to God. Hannah willingly surrendered her son back to God out of her love, reverence, and gratitude to him. Later on as Samuel grew in the temple, he became one of the most influential prophets in Israel.
Are we willing to completely trust the Lord with the lives of our children? Are we willing to surrender them to God in prayer? We as mothers must realize that surrendering our children to God is the best thing we can do for our children. When we release control to him, we can open the door for God to do amazing things in our children’s lives.
Mothers in the Bible: The Widow of Zarephath
Another powerful mother in the Bible is the widow of Zarephath. Her name is never mentioned in Scripture, but her faith was greatly displayed in her actions. We are introduced to the widow of Zarapheth during the time when there was a famine in the land. God instructed the prophet Elijah to go to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and to stay there for a while. There, a widow would supply him with food (1 Kings 17:7-9).
When Elijah arrived, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her for some water and a piece of bread. She told Elijah that she didn’t have any bread–only a handful of flour in a jar, and a bit of oil in a jug. She was intending to make a fire and prepare a final meal with her son before they would eventually starve to death (1 Kings 17:11).
But Elijah told her,
“Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”1 Kings 17:13-14
The widow did as Elijah asked, and she and her son had enough food until the famine was over. Her faith and obedience saved their lives. Later in 1 Kings 17:19-24, the widow’s son became ill and died. She went to Elijah, and he prayed for her son’s life to be restored. When her son came back to life she declared to Elijah,
“Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”1 Kings 17:24
Lessons from the Widow of Zarephath
The widow of Zarephath’s faith and trust in God was essential to her and her son’s survival. She trusted that Elijah was truly a man of God, and obeyed his requests. Later when her son died, she went to Elijah for help. We also have “famine” seasons in our lives when our circumstances seem bleak and hopeless. During those times, we need to trust God like the widow did, even when things don’t make sense.
When we obey the Word of God, we can trust that he will provide for the needs of our families.
Mothers in the Bible: Naomi and Ruth
The story of Ruth and Naomi is a heartwarming narrative filled with sorrow, joy, and displays the beautiful bond between a mother-in-law and her tenacious daughter-in-law. The book of Ruth opens with a famine that ravaged the land of Bethlehem. Naomi, her husband Elimelek, and their two sons Mahlon and Kilion moved to the country of Moab in hopes to escape the harsh drought.
Sometime later, Elimelek died and Naomi was left with her two sons in a foreign country. Her sons married Moabite women (Orpah and Ruth), and after about ten years, both of Naomi’s sons also died (Ruth 1:1-5).
After hearing that there was food in Bethlehem, Naomi set out to return to her hometown–this time, without her husband or sons. Naomi urged her two daughters-in-law to return to their families and find new husbands, but Ruth was determined to not leave Naomi’s side. Ruth spoke these words to Naomi that have since then, been spoken during countless weddings and sermons across the globe:
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”Ruth 1:16-17
This passage displays the great amount of love and dedication Ruth had towards her mother-in-law Naomi. The two women traveled together to Bethlehem, and Ruth began gleaning in the fields of a close relative of Naomi’s named Boaz. With Naomi’s help, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son named Obed (Ruth 4:13-17).
Lessons from Naomi and Ruth
Although Naomi tragically lost her sons, she still served as a loving mother-in-law to Ruth. If it were not for Naomi’s wisdom and advice to Ruth on how to glean the fields of Boaz and ask for him to be her kinsman-redeemer, Ruth may not have had the opportunity to marry Boaz.
We can learn from Naomi that even in the midst of heartbreaking circumstances, God can still use us to impact the lives of our family and community. Ruth’s obedience and adherence to Naomi’s instructions opened the door for her to marry Boaz, and ultimately produce a son in their family that would be part of the lineage of King David, and generations later, Jesus.
Mothers in the Bible: Elizabeth and Mary
Elizabeth and Mary are mothers in the Bible with powerful stories that demonstrate how God’s plan and purpose for our lives will come to pass in his timing. Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were devout followers of God, and Zechariah served as a priest in the temple of God. Even though they were both righteous in the sight of God, Elizabeth was barren and unable to have children (Luke 1:7).
One day while Zechariah was performing his priestly duties in the temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife Elizabeth would have a son named John. This child would be no ordinary boy, but would help prepare the hearts of Israel for the coming Messiah (Luke 1:11-17).
Zechariah expressed doubt at the words of the angel, and wondered how this could happen since he and his wife were very old. Because of his unbelief, he was unable to speak until the child was born (Luke 1:19-20).
When Elizabeth became pregnant, she was humbled and honored at the wonderful privilege of becoming a mother to a future prophet, and declared,
“The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”Luke 1:25
Elizabeth was also the cousin of Mary, who would eventually become the mother of Jesus. When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, Mary came to visit her. Mary had recently received news from the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus, the Messiah (Luke 1:28-35). How great the excitement of these two women must have been to know that they were both carrying children who would powerfully impact the world!
Lessons from Elizabeth and Mary
Elizabeth and Mary both embraced their purposes as mothers with great humility, awe, and wonder. The Holy Spirit had already entered John the Baptist while he was in Elizabeth’s womb, just as the angel foretold to Zechariah (Luke 1:15, 41). Mary confidently told Gabriel that she was the Lord’s servant, and was open to God’s leading and direction in her life.
Our children may not grow to become prophets like John the Baptist, or the Messiah like Jesus, but we, like Elizabeth and Mary, can have faith that God has a special plan for each of our children. May we rejoice in our Lord as we wait in eager expectation for him to do great things in our children’s lives!
Mothers in the Bible: Lydia
Lydia was a powerful woman of faith, a business woman, and a woman of influence in her community and in her household. The apostle Paul and his companions traveled to Philippi, and went outside the city gate to the river where they expected to find a place of prayer. There was a group of women gathered there, where they met Lydia.
Although she was a Gentile, she was “a worshiper of God”. She listened as Paul shared the message of the Gospel with the women, and the Lord opened her heart to receive Paul’s message (Acts 16:14). She and her members of her family were baptized, and Lydia invited Paul and his companions to stay at her house (Acts 16:15).
Lessons from Lydia
We can assume that Lydia must have been a mother, since members of her household were baptized. We also know that she must have had great influence in her family. Lydia’s faith and enthusiasm for the Gospel can encourage us to live out our faith in front of our children. When we express our faith and love for God, they will see our example and may decide to follow Christ as well.
Not only was Lydia a dealer of purple cloth like the Proverbs 31 Woman (Proverbs 31:22, 24-26), but she was clothed with strength and dignity. She allowed the garments of God’s grace and salvation to impact her life and the lives of those around her!
Allow the example of Lydia’s faith and enthusiasm for God’s kingdom to propel you forward as you become a woman of faith and powerfully impact your family. As you pray for your children each day, remember the influence and example of Lydia.
Free Mothers in the Bible Printable
Feel free to download this FREE printable of the mothers in the Bible mentioned in this post, with Scriptures from their stories that we can read to grow as mothers of faith!
There are so many examples of mothers in the Bible who demonstrated great faith in God as they raised their children with courage and grace. As you pray and intercede for your own children, may the examples of these mothers give you hope and inspiration to serve the Lord as a mother with joy and faith!
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