Friday, August 19, 2011

The Prayer of the Children

Prayer of the Children is a song for a four-part men's choir, with words and music written by Kurt Bestor and arranged by Andrea S. Klouse. Bestor served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Serbia during the 1970s. Bestor described how he came to write the song (below).

Can you hear the prayer of the children
on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room?
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
turning heavenward toward the light.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to see the morning light of one more day,
but if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take."

Can you feel the hearts of the children
aching for home, for something of their very own.
Reaching hands with nothing to hold onto
but hope for a better day, a better day.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the love again in my own land,
but if unknown roads lead away from home,
give me loving arms, away from harm."

Can you hear the voice of the children
softly pleading for silence in their shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
blood of the innocent on their hands.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the sun again upon my face?
For when darkness clears, I know you're near,
bringing peace again."

Dali čujete sve dječje molitve?
Can you hear the prayer of the children?

" Having lived in this war-torn country back in the late 1970's, I grew to love the people with whom I lived. It didn't matter to me their ethnic origin - Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian - they were all just happy fun people to me and I counted as friends people from each region. Of course, I was always aware of the bigotry and ethnic differences that bubbled just below the surface, but I always hoped that the peace this rich country enjoyed would continue indefinitely. Obviously that didn't happen. When Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito died, different political factions jockeyed for position and the inevitable happened - civil war. Suddenly my friends were pitted against each other. Serbian brother wouldn't talk to Croatian sister-in-law. Bosnian mother disowned Serbian son-in-law and so it went. Meanwhile, all I could do was stay glued to the TV back in the US and sink deeper in a sense of hopelessness. Finally, one night I began channeling these deep feelings into a wordless melody. Then little by little I added words....Can you hear....? Can you feel......? I started with these feelings - sensations that the children struggling to live in this difficult time might be feeling. Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian children all felt the same feelings of confusion and sadness and it was for them that I was writing this song.

He told Meridian Magazine: "Those children didn't hate anybody," he said. "They didn't care about who owned the land, or who had the power or the money. These are adult neuroses. They just wanted to have a mom and dad and a place to play."

Matthew 18: 1-5. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Jesus, help me to feel the sun again upon my face! For when darkness clears, I know you're near, bringing peace again." Shalom my Friends, Peggy

Thanks Plead the Fifth for your lovely rendition! and  Wikipedia for the background info.


  1. I left a comment here earlier but I guess it did not get saved.

    Thank you for highlighting this beautiful song. A song I would have most likely never experienced without you bringing it to my awareness.

    Thanks, also, for researching and sharing the songs origins.

    You are such a gift to the planet and to all of humanity.

    Thank you for being the Love you are.


  2. Several months ago, this was sung in concert by a group of young women. The audience heard it as a prayer. When the song ended, the auditorium was silent. Finally, there was an single, audible breath as we breathed in unison and came out of the sacred space the music created. The applause only began as individuals became aware of their surroundings. It was an amazing and appropriate response to the words and music.

    1. It is just one of the most beautiful pieces! I am so glad you had that experience to hear it live. Its....just a sacred experience! Our high school choir did it for a Christmans program several years back and I just wept through the whole thing. I'm not much better with that now. I bought the music and we sang it - 4 of us - at church. I am so grateful to have had such a holy and happy opportunity!