The Prayer for the Children

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”   Matthew 19:14

A while back, I was introduced to The Prayer for the Children, which is a contemporary ballad written by Kurt Bestor and arranged for choir by Andrea S. Klouse. It is a God thing how this song came about.

Bestor described how he came to write the song: “Having lived in this war-torn country back in the late 1970’s, I grew to love the people with whom I lived. It didn’t matter to me their ethnic origin – Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian – they were all just happy fun people to me and I counted as friends people from each region. Of course, I was always aware of the bigotry and ethnic differences that bubbled just below the surface, but I always hoped that the peace this rich country enjoyed would continue indefinitely. Obviously that didn’t happen. When Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito died, different political factions jockeyed for position and the inevitable happened – civil war.

Suddenly my friends were pitted against each other. Serbian brother wouldn’t talk to Croatian sister-in-law. Bosnian mother disowned Serbian son-in-law and so it went. Meanwhile, all I could do was stay glued to the TV back in the US and sink deeper in a sense of hopelessness. Finally, one night I began channeling these deep feelings into a wordless melody. Then little by little I added words….Can you hear….? Can you feel……? I started with these feelings – sensations that the children struggling to live in this difficult time might be feeling. Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian children all felt the same feelings of confusion and sadness and it was for them that I was writing this song.”

“Those children didn’t hate anybody,” he said. “They didn’t care about who owned the land, or who had the power or the money. These are adult neuroses. They just wanted to have a mom and dad and a place to play.”

That is so true of every child in every place in the world. We take these words for granted but for some this prayer for the children is so real that it breaks your heart to hear these words. Rieti Gengo sang this as the benediction response at church the Sunday we introduced this story. It was a sacred moment… because Wilson just finished talked about working with people in Uganda who are dying with HIV/AIDS and have all sorts of needs. It involves the children. 

The Prayer of The Children

Can you hear the prayer of the children on bended knee,
in the shadow of an unknown room?

Empty eyes with no more tears to cry,
turning heavenward toward the light.

Crying, “Who will help me to see
the morning light of one more day?

But if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take?”

Can you feel the hearts of the children aching for home,
for something of their very own?

Reaching hands with nothing to hold on to,
but hope for a better day.

Crying, “Who will help me to
feel the love again in my own land?

But if unknown roads lead away from home,
give me loving arms, away from harm.”

Can you hear the voice of the children
softly pleading for silence in their shattered world?

Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
blood of the innocent on their hands.

Crying, “Jesus, help me to feel
the sun again upon my face.

For when darkness clears I know
you’re near, bringing peace again.”

Dali cuje te sve djecje molitve?
Can you hear the prayer of the children?

Dear Lord, help us be the answer to the prayer for the children of the world in and through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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