We pray for the children who put chocolate fingers on everything, who love to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin new pants, who eat candy before supper and who can never find their shoes in the morning.
And we also pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who have never bound down the street in a new pair of shoes, who never played "one potato, two potato," and who are born in places that we would not be caught dead in and they will be.
We pray for the children who give us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with their dog and who bury their goldfish, who hug us so tightly and who forget their lunch money, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who watch their fathers shave, and who slurp their soup.
And we pray for those who will never get dessert, who have no favorite blanket to drag around behind them, who watch their fathers suffer, who cannot find any bread to steal, who do not have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures are on milk cartons instead of on dressers, and whose monsters are real.
We pray for the children who spend all their allowance by Tuesday, who pick at their food, who love ghost stories, who shove their dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse the bathtub, who love visits from the Tooth Fairy, even after they find out who it really is, who do not like to be kissed in front of the school bus, and who squirm during services.
And we also pray for those children whose nightmares occur 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 wake up hungry, who live and move and have no address.
We pray for those children who like to be carried and for those children who have to be carried, for those who give up and for those who never give up, for those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it and for those who find no hand to grab.
For all these children, we pray today, for they are all so precious.
Children's Prayers by Ina J. Hughs
Note: This poem was in our liturgy at church today. I just loved it. There are, apparently, several versions. The only information I can find on Ina J. Hughs is that she was/is an American Schoolteacher.