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    EDITOR’S NOTE— When I was younger, I wrote poem entitled “A Child Again.” It began, “I wish again that I could be, a child in love with life and all I see.” I wanted it to be “sing songy” rhyme that might be like a jump rope rhyme. I guess that poem was really a testimony to my parents who gave me such a wonderful home and childhood. As I’ve grown older and been in ministry for over twenty years, I’ve seen the hurt that many children grow up with. I’ve cried with adults as they’ve recounted the hurts of their childhood as if they’d happened yesterday.

    When Robert Gelleni, our Heartlight mailing list coordinator, shared this prayer with me, I was touched, but I also knew it needed to go with this week’s issue that revolves around the theme of families staying together.

A Prayer for the Children, by Ina J. Hughs

We pray for the children...
who put chocolate 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 a new pair of sneakers,
who never “counted potatoes,”
who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who will never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

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.

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,
who 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 or temple 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,
who 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.

We pray for our children, for your children, for all children, for childhood’s dreams and nightmares.

In each child let us behold anew your promise of the creation. Sustain these little and not so little ones. By your grace may they live the lives for which they were created.


HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
Poem by Ina J. Hughs of Charleston, South Carolina.
HEARTLIGHT and the flared heart design are service marks of Heartlight, Inc.