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A prayer

We Pray for Children
Ina Hughes 
We 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. 

We pray for children 
Who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, 
Who sleep with the cat and bury goldfish, 
Who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, 
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 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 get visits 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 are never 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 never 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 children. Amen.


Kati Smith said…
Thank you for posting this, Debbi.
Liesl Garner said…
My eyes are so full of tears over this. Thank you for sharing. It is heartbreaking and beautiful. We have so much work to do.

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