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November is National Adoption Month.  Did you know that a child is orphaned every 18 seconds in the world?  That there are 143 million orphans in the world today?  that they will spend an average of 10 years of their life in an orphanage or in foster care if we do nothing to help?  That if only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for the orphans, there would effectively be no more orphans?  God has led the way by adopting us into God’s family.  The scriptures also tell us that pure religious that is faultless is to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27).

In honor of national adoption month, the very least we can do is to pray for these kids.  This Sunday, we are using the following prayer, adapted from a poem/prayer by Ina Hughes.  We are doing it with two readers and the congregation’s response (it should make sense when you read it).  Maybe you could use it in your church this week?

We pray for the 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’ve never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,

who never had crayons to count,

who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,

who never go to the circus,

who live in an X-rated world.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,

who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,

who give hugs in a hurry and forget their lunch money,

who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key,

who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,

who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those

who never get dessert,

who watch their parents watch them die,

who have no safe blanket to drag behind,

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.

Lord, hear our prayer.

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 never rinse out the tub,

who get visits from the tooth fairy,

who don’t like to be kissed in front of the school,

who squirm in church and scream in 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 aren’t spoiled by anybody,

who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,

who live and move, but have no being.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for children who want to be carried,

and for those who must be.

For those we never give up on,

and for those who never get a chance.

For those we smother with our love,

and for those who will grab the hand of

anybody kind enough to offer.

Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.

*Adapted from “We Pray for the Children” by Ina J. Hughes