The sole biblical account of the birth of John the Baptist comes from Luke’s Gospel. John’s parents, Zechariah - a Jewish priest - and Elizabeth, were without children and both were beyond the age of child-bearing. During Zechariah's rotation to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem, he was chosen by lot to offer incense at the Golden Altar. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and announced that he and his wife would give birth to a child, and that they should name him John.
However, because Zechariah did not believe the message of Gabriel, he was rendered speechless until the time of John's birth. At that time, his relatives wanted to name the child after his father, and Zechariah wrote, "His name is John", whereupon he recovered his ability to speak (Luke 1:5-25; 1:57-66). Following Zechariah's obedience to the command of God, he was given the gift of prophecy, and foretold the future ministry of John (Luke 1:67-79).
Prayer for St John the Baptist
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way for your Son our Saviour by preaching a baptism of repentance: make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent, and, following his example, may constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.