Anglican Morning Devotion for 22 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:23-27; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Some of the most enduring (as well as endearing) and beautiful prayers are those that are written in a book and, of these, those that are written in God’s Book of Life. There are some churches that refuse to repeat the Lord’s Prayer simply because it is written down. They believe in spontaneous prayer only. This restricts the prayerful from saying most any prayer at all since every need, every important aspect of life, is written in that Book. The Prayers recorded in the Book of Common Prayer are passed down from the early Church that faced persecution and the threat of death every day. Moreover, these common prayers are prayers that bear meaning for every single worshipper and not a specific individual unless special request is made to include their names in the Prayer of General Thanksgiving.
When our prayers are recorded in a book, or even a letter, it adds permanence to their meaning, and that meaning may be shared in legacy with others who bear like pains and desires.
I have attached a letter, written by a little girl of about ten years of age, to this devotion to demonstrate my point. In 1988, my wife and I attended a seminar on biblical service at Southern Missionary College near Chattanooga. There was a small mountain overlooking the campus and along its crest, a beautiful prayer garden well-maintained with beautiful flowers and other flora. There were prayer coves located off the beaten path along the way. As my wife entered one of those prayer stations, we met a young Korean girl of perhaps ten years of age coming out. On entering, we came to small monument of the Ten Commandments, and before the monument was a small park bench. On the bench, we found a damp washcloth and a note. The washcloth had apparently served as a cry-towel. When I read the words on the note, my heart melted for the child. It was her recorded prayer to God. I write it here in case some may have trouble reading from my attachment:
Thank you for everything you gave us. Help the poor to get food and be able to go to church. Help us to be like you and go to Heaven to see mommy and to grow faster to love you more. Help us to do our best. Help us to be healthy.
I love you, God, and mommy. God take care of mommy. Help mommy open her eyes to come home.
In Jesus Name, AMEN.
I have read that letter many, many times over the past thirty-four years. Though the precious little girl wrote the prayer to God, her prayer has caused my heart to overflow with love for her and for all precious children abandoned by a parent. Her prayer is as meaningful today as when first scribed by those small hands. “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” (Psalms 27:10)
I have often wondered about that young girl – did she get the answer she had petitioned the Lord to grant, did she suffer through childhood missing a mother that should have been her closest friend and confidante? How many young people do we pass on our daily walk whose hearts are broken by rejection, neglect, and forsaken love.
Each time I read her prayer, I can feel the hurt in her innocent heart. I want to be a better person and stand up against such neglect, abuse, and abandonment of the most precious and innocent among us.
Each child is a veritable gift from God and the treasure of His own making. Why would any parent abandon such a little one or even have them murdered in the womb before they have witnessed the first sunrise?
When I read her prayer, it becomes my own prayer, and that cannot be a bad thing in the eyes of the Lord. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:4-6)