A Gift of Prayers; Call on Me
My sons have always known a family dinner to be prefaced with the praying of Grace. We are Episcopalians and we do pray at home with predictable regularity. Reading, telling stories, and concluding with bedtime prayers was the ritual that marked the end of the day when my sons were young. When my oldest son was experiencing a particularly difficult week as an eighth grader, I discovered him reluctant to share his bedtime prayers. He gently explained that perhaps he was now too old to say children’s prayers with his parents. I suggested that he could say his prayers by himself from now on. He thought about it a minute and then confessed that he didn’t know how. I reminded him of the things we had talked about in youth group, about praying and meditating and reading the Bible. He interrupted me and asked if I knew where his prayer book was, the one from his great grandmother with his name engraved on the cover in gold script. I fetched it for him and asked him if he knew where to find the prayers he might need. “No, it’s too long and the print is too small. But that’s okay. I’ll sleep on it,” he confidently replied as he placed his Book of Common Prayer under his pillow and closed his eyes to await sleep.
Call on Me is just the resource that I needed to help my son as a parent, to strengthen the teaching in our youth room at church, and to provide as a resource for youth and their families at home. This creative compilation offers simple and insightful instruction about prayer. It offers a wealth of diverse prayers on all manner of topics from prayers for the days of the week, to seasons of the year. You can find prayers to celebrate personal achievements and to address obstacles to grace and faith. Some prayers are ancient, traditional, and poetic language while others are formed with fresher words of the current time; very straightforward and tangible. Call on Me is a perfect companion to The Book of Common Prayer for young people learning about their Baptismal vows as they discern their readiness to offer themselves for the sacrament of Confirmation. The Prayer for the Death of a Pet would have saved our family from many a lengthy and painful back yard liturgy in which my youngest struggled through the Rite I Burial language, perched atop a milk crate, trowel in hand, to bury an expired fish, or hamster, or newt.
I offer deep gratitude to Sharon and Jenifer who were motivated to create such a useful resource through their own faithfulness in prayer and compassion for young people. Call on Me will help equip our rising generations with a new tool to develop an active prayer life. This resource will be welcomed by young people as they practice praying for themselves and for others. I know that it won’t be long before these prayers are offered as caritas for Happening weekends, as solace to friends who are grieving, and in digital form as messages of comfort, encouragement, and celebration.
May these prayers be our prayers as we strive to teach and nurture young Christians to be healers and advocates in a hungry and hurting world.
Bronwyn Clark Skov
Officer for Youth Ministries
The Episcopal Church
– Forward from Call on Me, A Prayer Book for Young People, now available at Cokesbury, Amazon, and other booksellers