Loving Father, whose Son who welcomed children into the Kingdom,
Help us to encounter you in the children we know who bring us joy, and the children we only know as tragic statistics. Help us to hear your voice in the children who make joyful noise in our ears, and the voiceless children who struggle for survival on un-named parts of your beloved earth. Help us to hear your challenge through happy children who can’t stop asking ‘why?’, and through the poor children whose images cause us to ask ‘why?’
We thank you for the children in our church, for their noise, for their ability to be profound, for the ways you are made present to us through them. May every member of your church play their role in helping those children to grow “in wisdom and stature, in favour with You and with others”.
We pray for those children whose childhood has been taken from them:
For those children who must act as parents, caring for younger brothers and sisters, sometimes caring for their parents.
For those thousands of children forced to become soldiers. Smaller than their weapons, conditioned not to cry, forced to commit horrific acts, even upon their own families.
For the thousands who are sold into slavery and trafficked around the world.
For the millions of little people, who know what it is to last for days on end with no food.
Loving Father, we pray for an end to the injustice that treats these children as less than human. Open our eyes, and through us, open the eyes of the world to see how all these are made in your image and precious in your sight.
Show us how to challenge the political machinery that robs these children of their humanity. Awaken in your church and world a desire for true justice:
that the dignity of all would not be prevented by the greed of the few,
that the fairness for all would not be prevented by the power of the few,
that childhood would not be stolen from the children of our world because of our indifference, our laziness, or our cowardice.
Speak to us in the still, small voice of those dependant upon us for their growth, and health and life.