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A Prayer for Children

Photo: ©2012 Gary Dowd for World Vision

Photo: ©2012 Gary Dowd for World Vision

PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE FOR CHILDREN

Let us pray for the Church, the world, and our children.

Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world. Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace, that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

Let us pray for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in new sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead in, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world. Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real. Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw temper tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church and scream on the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who are not spoiled by anyone, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance, for those we smother and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it. Lord in your mercy, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

We pray for children. Amen.

An original form of Prayers of the People which includes the concerns of and for children was presented at the Triennial Conference of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in Washington, D.C. The children’s portion of the intercessions was written by Ira Hughes of Charleston, SC.

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