Snuggle Time Prayers, Glenys Nellist, Zonderkidz, 2016.
This little book, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Cee Biscoe, is a cute little book perfect for young children. There are sixteen prayers in this little book, each accompanied by a scripture verse. Each prayer is a rhyming prayer based on the scripture verse provided. Rhyming helps in building vocabulary for early learners. Why not do so with prayers to God?
Biscoe’s illustrations fill two pages each. They are full color and bright. The animals bring to life the prayer that accompanies the illustration. My daughter at 14-months, enjoys flipping through the book, easy for her to do with the hard, board-like pages. The illustrations are attracting to her. The illustrations can also be used as a teaching tool.
The Advent season has started. It is the new year of the church calendar, where we anticipate not just the arrival of the Christ Child at Christmas, but the unknown day and time when Christ will return. Diane M. Houdek, one of the authors featured here, writes, “Advent challenges us to step away form the hectic activity of the world, even if only for a short time each day.”
Advent beckons us to slow down during what is likely the busiest time of the year. Advent calls us to seek a deeper relationship with the One born in the mundane of life. Each of the five books listed below are useful tools to a reader or a small group this Advent to slow down and assure that everything – all of us – are rooted deeply in the Christ Child.
Rev. Lisa McGehee is an ordained deacon in the Virginia Annual Conference serving as Minister of Adult Discipleship and Communications at Good Shepherd United Methodist in Henrico, Virginia.
Read Psalm 72.
The theme for the second Sunday of Advent is love. While the word love is not found in Psalm 72, it’s there in the prayers for justice and righteousness. Psalm 72 originated as a prayer for the king – it is thought to be King David’s last psalm written for his son Solomon. It’s a prayer focused on justice and righteousness – God’s justice and God’s righteousness. It’s a prayer that gives a charge to the king (vv. 2-7) to protect and defend the poor and the needy and to take down those that oppress. Or as described in The Message, “Please stand up for the poor, help the children of the needy, come down hard on the cruel tyrants.” The psalmist prays that justice and righteousness prevails when the king stays focused on God’s plan.
Where there is justice and righteousness there is peace. Where there is peace there is love. Ah, peace and love. Perhaps there is no other time when we pray for peace and love more than Advent. Oh, but wait, this year we have constantly prayed for peace and justice. We’ve prayed for Egypt, Syria and North Korea. We’ve prayed for innocent children and teachers, for Navy yard workers, for marathon runners who lost their lives because someone was calling out for help or sought revenge. We have prayed for senior adults who cut back on meals because of local food pantries with empty shelves. We’ve prayed for cities that have declared bankruptcy. These issues seem insurmountable. This is due in part because governments and political systems appear to be the controllers, perhaps even the oppressors, of this world. Yes, we have prayed for peace and love this year.
Psalm 72 doesn’t give a strategic plan on how to bring about justice and righteousness. However, the key is found throughout all of scripture – the key is love. Even in the darkest of days and times, where there is love, oppression is lifted. When we remember the love that God has for this world, we work harder for justice and righteousness. This week, think about ways that you can be the king – or queen – of love who stands up for the poor, who helps the children and who lets the oppressor know that their way is not a way of love.
Prayer in the Morning by Jan L. Richardson
With the dawning light
let us turn our faces
toward the One
who fashioned us,
and let us give thanks
to the God who
knits us together
with each new day:
bone to bone
breath to breath
This blessing was shared in a weekly email from my District Superintendent, Larry Davies.
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be, And bless these gifts, Bestowed by Thee. And bless our loved ones everywhere, And keep them in Your loving care.