Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Praying for Children

Flower-Toy Memorial ~ St. Petersburg, Russia

The recent crash of the Metro jet in the Sinai Desert took the lives of 224 people. among them 25 children. Strong indications are that a bomb was planted in the cargo or luggage bays. But as depraved as someone must be to make and place a bomb that will take down a plane of people heading home after a seaside vacation, to know that your evil plan will kill children is a window into our human devolution. For all the advances: new medicine, cutting edge technology, space exploration and new forms of energy - we still kill and exploit children. We don't love them rightly.

No philosopher or spiritual leader in history ever placed children so squarely at the heart of his/her teaching as did Jesus. And so if the disciple wants to follow or be obedient to Jesus, then somehow, love for and attention to children must play a part.

Then some people came to him bringing little children for him to touch. The disciples tried to discourage them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant and told them, "You must let little children come to me - never stop them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Indeed, I assure you that the man who does not accept the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Then he took the children in his arms and laid his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)

Some scholars have suggested that religious orders of monks and nuns came into existence when it became clear that the ordinary folk were no longer living the Gospel way narrowly: we mixed with power too much, we found too little time for the works of mercy, we didn't pray as well, we loved money and possessions as much as anyone else.

But then it got to the point where we started to think that the real pray-ers were the monks and nuns, calling a monastery or convent, a powerhouse of prayer. That's regrettable, because every Christian home, every parish, indeed, every Christian, ought to be a powerhouse of prayer. And maybe  praying for the world's children could be at the top of our prayer priorities.

Often when human beings do terrible things to children we ask, "How could a merciful God allow that?" or "Where was God?" That might be the wrong question. I think the real question, the honest question, would be to ask, "How could WE allow that to happen?" "Where were WE...?" 

But will my prayer for children actually help them? I will trust it does. And even if it doesn't, then my prayer reflects there is at least one heart that cares for them in their pain and need. That's not for nothing in a hard world.

I pray for human life in the womb,
hungry children,
thirsty children,
naked children,
homeless children,
street children,

that we would
protect them,
guide them,
comfort them,
warm them,
delight them.

I pray for 
prostituted children,
disappeared children,
kidnapped children,
nameless children,
emaciated children,
unwanted children,

that we would
rescue them,
name them,
satisfy them,
discover them,
befriend them.

I pray for 
addicted children,
lonely children,
unsupported children,
uneducated children,
orphaned children,
sensualized children,

that we would
watch out for them,
embrace them,
console them,
play with them,
teach them.

I pray for 
the children of war,
children sold by their parents,
children trapped in slavery,
sex-trafficked children,
children caught in the turbulence of divorce,
friendless children,

that we would
clothe them,
house them,
defend them,
reassure them,
heal them.

I pray for 
children left behind,
refugee and displaced children,
special needs children,
failing children,
invisible children,
forgotten children,

that we would
educate them,
catch them,
clean them,
dignify them,
notice them.

I pray for
angry, violent children,
the child sufferers of terrorist violence,
verbally abused children,
physically abused children,
thrown away children,
murdered children,

that we would
search for them,
identify them,
surround them,
feed them,
love them all.



  1. It is important to remember the children who are hard to love. Their acts of hatred, anger and violence may be cries for help.

  2. Yes. I was chaplain to this population for 15 years. Some are very hard to love. I've met parents who struggle mightily to continue loving when their children turn against them in hate and violence. Difficult to see past that to what's behind it and underneath. Thank you!

  3. And then there are those children who are born and are inherently evil. Although they need love, they are born with a maliciousness that may not be overcome.

    1. I suppose that's where we get the notion of "bad seed." Still God's children. And wouldn't it be wonderful if we'd invest as much in even their re-clamation, healing and evolution as we invest in sports, wars, presidential campaigns, shopping for the thingdom come, fun and entertainment.

  4. May our voices echo the words of your prayer together as we pray for all the children of the world who need to be kept in our thoughts and in our hearts. Thank you for remembering the innocent victims.

    1. Children essentially have no voice - especially child-sufferers. If nothing else, the prayer brings them forward and lets them be heard for as long as it takes to read the prayer.

  5. A good post for World Kindness Day. We should all focus on being kind to someone today. Maybe just start with this prayer.

  6. Praying for the people of Paris now.