Lizs Book Snuggery

National Day of Prayer and a Timeless Picture Book Call from 1944

Prayer for a Child
Text by Rachel Field; illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones
Today, May 4th, is designated National Day of Prayer. It seems the world is much in need of this in so very many ways. And, it was as children at a parent’s knee, at night prayers, or in some spiritual setting, that most of us learned to pray.
Prayer for a Child,  originally published in 1944, won the Caldecott Award for best picture book the following year, in 1945.
I imagine then, with a world at war, there were many prayers being sent heavenward for peace and stability. If history does indeed repeat itself, perhaps this Prayer for a Child is a timely classic for your young reader today.
Its pages are filled with things familiar to a child…family, friends and a wide world. Much has changed in a child’s world today. Simplicity has been replaced by complexity and childhood seems to be compressed into a smaller and ever smaller window of time.
Technology has sped up that window of time. And though it may make connection of a certain sort easier, it does not change what the inner child longs and prays for; the family and friends they love and the everyday things they come in contact with on a daily basis.
This is where Prayer for a Child shines as it is appropriate for every faith for it is simple in its appeal to the commonality in all faiths; love for God and neighbor and a respect for all we meet and touch in our lives.
Prayer for a Child’s front cover is a young girl kneeling in prayer in a pair of soft two piece pjs. And though we cannot see the child’s face, it is not important. It is every child.
The border of the cover of Ms. Orton Jones’ sweetly beautiful and relatable art are the cheery faces of children of every race, simply intimating that the prayers of humankind are the same. It is in the humble simplicity of every child of any creed or color to thank God for the people and things that are part of their world.
Much has changed in our world since 1945 and the winning of Prayer for a Child as best picture book of the year.
Technology has changed a great deal in our world as far as communication goes, but this type of communication in Prayer for a Child and its longing for the divine in our lives, and its simple accessibility is still done in the same way in 2020.
Beautifully done, this classic picture book’s message of simplicity and humble trust, narrated by a child, speaks quietly even today in a world lacking, and in need of calm and civility. Here are but a few excerpts from its pages:


Bless the hands that never tire
In their loving care of me

Bless my Father and my Mother
And keep us close to one another

Bless other children far and near
And keep them safe and free from fear


Here is the introduction to Prayer for a Child by Ms. Field:

This is a prayer written for a little girl,
but it is a prayer for boys and girls all
over the world. It is full of the intimate
gentleness for familiar things, the love
of friend and family and the kindly pro-
tection of God. It carries a universal
appeal for all ages and races and
brings to our hearts and minds the
deep responsibility of preserving for all
times the faith and hope of little


Somehow, today this book, published in 1944, repeats and reminds us all of the ageless and classic prayer for all generations of readers to trust in its timeless message of a child’s continuing faith in a world filled with blessings; and our responsibility to see that trust rewarded.


  1. Amanda on May 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    It’s a beautiful, timeless book. Sweet poem, with beautifully timeless illustrations. Definitely the perfect book for National Prayer Day.

    • admin on May 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

      Hi Amanda,
      So happy you enjoyed this very special posting on National Prayer Day. It was as appropriate in 1944 as today; maybe even more so. It’s sweet simplicity speaks to children and to every reader, in every age. The illustrations are perfectly matched to the text. I am so happy you visited The Snuggery and gave me your input. Please come visit often and give me your reactions. Thank you!

  2. Deb on May 4, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you for reminding me of Field’s Prayer for a Child. It truly is as timely and perfect message in 2017 as it must have been in 1944.

    • admin on May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Hi Deb,
      Thank you for your response to the posting for “Prayer for a Child.” I am so happy to know that these classic and timeless picture books spark memories for readers. It was the impetus for the birth of The Snuggery; to remind and introduce to successive new generations of young readers, classic picture books and their ageless appeal. Here, as you so perfectly said, the message is still a perfect one for today’s child. Please come visit often!

  3. Rusty Browder on April 15, 2020 at 11:58 am

    I was born in 1944 and my grandmother read Prayer for a Child to me for years following. Even though I am a lapsed Episcopalian, the book’s gentle message of peace and protection of children and families around the world is central to my spirituality today.

    • admin on April 15, 2020 at 1:12 pm

      Dear Rusty,
      Your comments touched me deeply. Sometimes when I put these classic picture books back out into the void, I sincerely hope that, in some small way, they can either recall a memory for someone from childhood, as they did for you, or reach a new generation of readers the same way that they touched you.
      I believe that your spirituality is central to who you are and the Episcopalian lapsed part is not essential to who you are and how you live your daily life. Just an opinion.
      Rusty, you made my day.

      Liz Shanks

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