This has been a trying year for so many children in America — confused, consumed by and afraid of the intolerance, hatred and anger of adults. How do we keep the promises we have made to our children? How do we make a better America that values each and every child, regardless of skin color, faith, gender, sexual orientation, disability or immigration status? How do we remind our political leaders with unwavering clarity that every child is sacred and that God did not make two classes of children? This is not a time to weep. This is a time for work to ensure justice.
As we look to a new year, here are a few prayers to help guide us for the work ahead.
O God, help us recover our hope for our children’s sake.
Help us recover our courage for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our discipline for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our ability to work together for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our values for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover a spirit of sacrifice for our children’s sake.
Help us to recover our faith in Thee for our children’s sake.
We pray and stand for children who need our voice.
We pray and stand for children blessed by parents who care and for children without a parent or anyone who cares at all.
We pray and stand for children filled with joy and hope and for children whose days and nights are joyless.
We pray and stand for children with hope and for children without hope whose spirits have been dimmed and dashed.
We pray and stand for children high on play and study and laughter and for children high on heroin, cocaine and ecstasy.
We pray and stand for children for whom we pray every day and for children who have no one to pray them along life’s way.
We pray and stand for children poised by circumstance to soar and conquer life’s challenges and for children bogged down by hunger and homelessness and violence and miseducation and struggling so hard to survive.
We pray and stand for children who love to read and for children who can’t read at all, for children who learn with excitement and for children told by adults they cannot achieve.
We pray and stand for children who we expect and help to do well and for children whom no one believes in or helps succeed.
We pray for parents, grandparents, teachers, preachers, political and community leaders that we will be a help and not a hindrance for children we call our own and for all the children God created who are part of our family too.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small babies die of cold quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small children suffer from hunger quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where toddlers and school children die from guns sold quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets children be the poorest group of citizens quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets the rich continue to get more at the expense of the poor quite legally.
O God, forgive and transform our rich and powerful nation which thinks security rests in missiles and bombs rather than in mothers and in babies.
O God, forgive and transform our rich nation for not giving You sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.
O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal with what is just and right in Your sight.
Help us to stand together and vote to make America just and right for all Your children.
Click here to share your comments and find out what others are saying.
Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.
Mrs. Edelman’s Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.