Poetry, said the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge is simply: “the best words in the best order.”
Given that it’s Sunday, I want to talk today how our prayers for our children are a form of poetry. And then, I think each Sunday during this challenge, I’ll write a small prayer-poem for my boys.
The best words
Prayers, for our children… isn’t that just us as parents, speaking from our heart about the children of our heart? And these words go up to God above Who hears us? Certainly that is poetry.
No matter how stumbling our words, how faltering our tongue, our prayers are the best (and sometimes worst) part of us laid out, exposed, vulnerable before the throne of God. And He. hears. us.
Certainly that is poetry.
In the best order
And when our words fail us? When we are so heavy with heart we cannot speak. Have you been there, mama? When we’re so tired our brain scrambles up everything we try to say… and maybe we – shockingly – drift to sleep mid-prayer (the disciples slept for sorrow the night Jesus was taken).
Even then. We’re assured:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Words unspoken. Even these reach God’s ears.
Certainly. That is poetry. And in that regard, every prayer is a poem!
David’s prayer for his son, Solomon
Just to give you an example of how I think every prayer is a poem. I’ve copied out David’s final prayer for his son Solomon, from I Chronicles 29:19 and laid it out in poetic form.
And give unto Solomon
a perfect heart,
to keep thy commandments,
and thy statutes,
and to do all
and to build the palace,
for the which I have made provision.
Kinda poetic, right?
Writing a prayer poem for your children
When it comes to praying for my boys, I’ve been following along at The Mob Society as they have a monthly Prayers for Boys calendar they put out, which is basically just a verse for each day, rewritten as a mini prayer.
Writing our your own prayers for your children can be a great spiritual creative activity for parents. I’m taking it a step further and writing mine out in poetic lines.
1. Take a Bible verse that applies to your children – in whatever situation they’re in. Maybe they’re fearful. Perhaps unruly. Are they searching for salvation? Pick a verse that fits your parenting moment.
2. Write the verse out, putting their names into places where appropriate, or filling in specific details of a situation if needed. The purpose isn’t necessarily to keep the verse entire intact, but to use the message of the verse to guide your prayer and writing.
3. Arrange the words on the page in phrases and lines, similar to what I did above with King David’s prayer. Add in your own words and thoughts to the prayer if you like.
4. Pray this poem-prayer either alone or with your children.
Perhaps you’ll keep this poem-prayer in your pocket for the day. Maybe type and print it out for the fridge or a journal. This might become a poem you’d like to work on in greater detail to add more of your heart thoughts, if you enjoy writing and revising poetry like I do!
Whatever you choose to do (or not do!), just remember that every prayer you breath to the Lord for your children is its own form of poetry.
My poem-prayer for my boys
Psalm 27: 1 – The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
be the light for my boys
light their way to Your salvation
open their eyes to see You as Saviour and Lord.
when they’re afraid
of the dark, of the new, of people, or places,
teach them Your strength casts out fear.
Be their stronghold,
let their lives be filled with Your Light.
In case you’re wondering about today’s featured image, Poems and Prayers for the Very Young (affiliate link) is a book I’ve read to my preschoolers over the past two years – some of the verses are well known “children’s prayers” and other are simple poems praising God for the beauty of the earth, family, life. I think it’s a good book for introducing the idea of regularly talking about and thanking God in daily conversation (versus just meal time and bedtime prayers), as well as everyday reading of poetry.