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Child Watch® Column: "A Prayer For This Holy Season"

Release Date: December 16, 2011

Marian Wright Edelman

God help us to end poverty in our time.

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer hunger or get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don’t have another dime or a car, money, or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of somebody else’s children and neglecting your own, and still not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you’ll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job, running out of unemployment benefits, and no other help in sight.

The poverty of working all your life caring for your own children and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a day care center, and taking home $300 a week—or a month—if you’re lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation—having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you’re living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, of weak will and tiny vision, of big meetings and small actions, of loud talk and sullen grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling with others for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God’s gifts of life and children and family and freedom and home and country and not wanting for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming, and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the strong.

The poverty of addiction to more and more things; drugs, drink, work, self, violence, power, fleeting fame, and an unjust status quo.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is right.

The poverty of convenient ignorance about the needs of those around you and of despair and cynicism.

God help us end poverty in our time, in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere.

God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises—inside and out—physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that you intend.

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Here's what others have said:

Submitted by Anonymous at: December 20, 2012
Awesome piece please continue to be that voice of those who cannot speak and are not heard.God Bless

Submitted by Jaydee at: December 18, 2011

Submitted by Kath at: December 17, 2011
I think this prayer needs to be printed off, posted and read every day by those of us who are with children every day, whether we are in the role of a parent/other relative/family friend to a child, or as someone working with children--teachers, social workers, etc. We are the world to children and we are the ones who are able to make a difference in each child's each one does in our own. Besides, with the world's current state, any of us may find a sudden change in our own circumstances that could take us quickly down the road of poverty... God bless us, every one.

Submitted by Ollie at: December 17, 2011
charity begins at home. something that this country with its politicians forget because they aren't affected by poverty. We could and should end poverty in the U.S. by keeping the money we send round the world right here in the good old USA. It is difficult to tell children that our country is feeding people on the other side of the globe when their little tummies are growling and there is little to nothing in the cupboard.

Submitted by Nancy at: December 16, 2011

Submitted by Dinky at: December 16, 2011
Thank you

Submitted by Toni at: December 16, 2011
One of the most eloquent demonstrations of the human spirit I have ever read...simply so beautiful. Many thank you's for this work.

Submitted by MYSI at: December 16, 2011
Thanks for your consent reminder that we need to always remember our blessing and to help those who need our help. Your words help us to help others, especially at this time of the year. Sincerely, Mark and Alice

Submitted by Vanessa at: December 16, 2011
This is a powerful prayer! I believe that it is possible to end poverty in our time. I am praying with you that we in poverty in our time!

Submitted by Vanessa at: December 16, 2011
This is a powerful prayer! I am praying that we do what is needed to end poverty in our time.