Monday, May 3, 2010

A Prayer for Children

Ina Hughes wrote a prayer for children that I love more and more each time I read it. It has been published many places. I'm sharing it as it was published in her book by that title, "A Prayer for Children." If you haven't read it before, I hope you are as moved as I have been. If you have, I hope you hear something fresh in it today.

We pray for children
who give us sticky kisses,
who hop rocks and chase butterflies,
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've never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
who've never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us fistfuls of dandelions and sing off-key,
who have goldfish funerals, build card-table forts,
who slurp their cereal on purpose,
who get gum in their hair, put sugar in their milk,
who spit toothpaste all over the sink,
who hug us for no reason, who bless us each night.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind,
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.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw 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 quarters from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
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 aren't spoiled by anybody,
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 have a chance.
For those we smother,
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer.

2 comments:

Corinne said...

I'm in tears after reading this... what beautiful words. Thank you for sharing...

This Heavenly Life said...

This is such a moving prayer. It makes me sad and hopeful at the same time. Now I want to go find a child who's hungry and crying, and soothe her. How do I manage that?