Several of you have asked over the past few months about the prayers I've used with children's choirs - this post is for you (and others who might have the same question!)
1. Prayers for singing or speaking
Searching for a prayer that is meaningful for your group? Try using a hymn verse or the text from one of your anthems. I love these words from "Be Thou My Vision" - just think how meaningful this could be for young singers if you take a little time to explain it to them:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Source: Mary E. Byrne, "Be Thou My Vision," United Methodist Hymnal #451
2. The hymnal as a resource
Hymnals are a valuable resource! Take some time to see what's included in your church's hymnal. You might find something like Alan Paton's "For Courage to Do Justice" (United Methodist Hymnal #456). I love this prayer's mission for serving others.
"Show me where love and hope and faith are needed, and use me to bring them to those places."
3. Prayers for every season
I found this beautiful prayer while searching for something specific to Advent and Christmas. I shortened it for the purposes of sharing it together in rehearsal each week. It's so poetic, yet simple and accessible - perfect for centering our hearts on the reason for the season.
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. AMEN.
Source: Robert Louis Stevenson, "A Christmas Prayer," excerpt
4. Poetry as prayer
This lovely Christina Rossetti text is, believe it or not, in the United Methodist Hymnal! I love the imagery and sweetness of these words - see "For Illumination," UMH #477.
"Open wide the windows of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light."
5. My all-time favorite
My all-time favorite opening prayer also comes from the United Methodist Hymnal ("For True Singing," #69, for those of you that have one handy). A choir director that I interned with during college used an excerpt with her elementary choirs and I fell in love with it. It speaks so well to what we do and why it's important.
"Grant that what we sing with our lips
we may believe in our hearts,
and what we believe in our hearts,
we may practice in our lives."
Read the full prayer here.
So, there you have it - some of my favorite prayers for children's choirs. I hope they inspire you as you plan for the new choir year! For more, read this post on prayers for choirs.