Christian prayers in everyday language address the common fears, hopes, and worries of children.
As young children turn to their parents for help and solace, so too do many turn to God in times of trouble and in gratitude. But what language to use? Does praying help? Steinkühler’s collection addresses those questions by pairing concerns of children—fear of the dark, a grandparent’s death, moving, loneliness, sickness, jealousy—with passages from the Bible. When a lost pet is found, the prayer is like that of the prodigal son’s father. Sibling rivalry? Pray like Mary’s sister Martha or Joseph’s brothers. But the audience for this is difficult to pin down. Much of the language and issues are aimed at older children than those who are afraid of thunderstorms or desperately want a pet: “Wise King, Bright Light, / I ask for forgiveness.” And several are less prayers than one-sided conversations with God: “You’ll look the other way, won’t you? / When I do this one small thing?... / Even though I know it’s not right.” The vignette and full-page illustrations vary among biblical scenes and symbolism and more modern ones. The people’s faces are expressive though not especially diverse. A table of contents arranged by topic and a list of the referenced Bible verses in the back help readers address specific matters.
While children’s situations won’t always match those presented here, the author has provided a model for how to talk with God. (Picture book/religion. 5-10)