August 2007


Is it really stupid (you’re allowed to say ‘yes’) for me to be contemplating a 30+ hour plane flight next March with a 23 month old? I did it about a year ago and it was exhausting but fine. Now my daughter is, of course, much more active and I’m anxious how she (and I) will cope. It will probably be just the two of us (and a plane load of wierdos). I am really keen to hear from others who may have been (or still are) similarly mad and if you have any tips.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve got few clues about most things …

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There is something particularly special in listening to children pray, and in praying with them. This was brought home afresh to me today when I read Children’s Letters to God, compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall. While some of the prayers included in this volume seem not merely humorous but silly (to an adult), most betray a deeper cognition. All betray, however, a glaringly beautiful honesty and unpretentiousness that God not only makes possible for us, but encourages in us by the Spirit.

Here’s a few that I like:

  • Dear God. Are you really invisible or is that just a trick?
  • Dear God. Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
  • Dear God. Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones why don’t you just keep the ones you got now?
  • Dear God. Who draws the lines around the countries?
  • Dear God. I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that OK?
  • Dear God. Are there any patriarchs around today?
  • Dear God. It’s OK that you made different religions but don’t you get mixed up sometimes?
  • Dear God. I would like to know why all the things you said are in red?
  • Dear God. Is Reverend Coe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?
  • Dear God. I am English. What are you?
  • Dear God. Thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy.
  • Dear God. How come you didn’t invent any new animals lately? We still have just all the old ones.
  • Dear God. Please put another holiday in between Christmas and Easter. There is nothing good in there now.
  • Dear God. Please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year.
  • Dear God. I wish that there wasn’t no such thing of (sin. I wish that there was not no such thing of war.
  • Dear God. Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.
  • Dear God. I bet it is very hard for you to love everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.
  • Dear God. If you watch in Church on Sunday I will show you my new shoes.
  • Dear God. I am doing the best I can.

‘… For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me’. (Matthew 18:2-5, The Message)

Children’s Letters to God is a great little book to use to open up the questions of life, of God, and of the world – and to encourage mutual and humble dialogue which, after all, is at least part of what we are engaging in when we pray. Warmly recommended … as is prayer.