Saturday, 13 August 2011

The circle prayer

God Almighty. Loving Lord. 

Just before I go to bed I've got to tell you this. 

Not that you don't already know. After all, you were there.

You were very much there. 

Tonight Katy had a hard time settling at bedtime. She wasn't being naughty, or even shouting a lot, she was just awake. At bedtime I lay down next to her and we snuggled and I just love the way she cuddles into me and I love the way she smells, and I love the way she adopts a quiet little confidential voice as she tells me what Barney has been up to and so on. Tonight she wanted me to tell her something. 

There's this thing we do. I do it with both girls. It goes like this:

Me:     Katy Murray, does your Mummy love you?
Katy:  Yes.
Me:     How much does she love you?
Katy:  All round the world and back again.
Me:     More than that. 
(insert bit where we exaggerate more and more until we move on)
Me:     Why does she love you?
Katy:   Because I'm Katy.
Me:     That's right.  When will she stop loving you?
Katy:   Never. Not ever. Not never nohow.
Me:      That's right. I love you very much and I always will.

Then tonight:

Katy:   Like Jesus.  And God. 
Me:     That's right. God loves you even more than me, if that's possible.
(Katy is drawing a circle on the palm of her hand with the other index finger)
Katy:   Will you do the circle prayer?

Now, as you'll remember, the last time Katy went into hospital a good friend of mine loaned us Hospital Teddy to come with us. Hospital Teddy's job is to accompany children on trips to hospital, and he was at Katy's side for her last operation. He's with us and packing his overnight bag for another trip. (Actually, he never went home owing to having been temporarily assimilated into Katy's stuffed toy collection.)

Hospital Teddy's owner said a special prayer for Kate on the morning she went into hospital back at the beginning of June.

Circle Katy, Lord
Keep comfort near
and discouragement afar.
Keep peace within
and turmoil out.

Circle Katy, Lord.
Keep protection near
and danger afar.

Circle Katy, Lord.
Keep hope within
and despair without.

Circle Katy, Lord.
Keep light near
and darkness afar.

Circle Katy, Lord
Keep peace within
and anxiety without.

The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit
shield Katy on every side.

Katy had remembered the prayer and the circles drawn on her hand as it was read. She made the connection between one operation and another and she made the association between the love of her Mummy and the love of God. 

Can you really love her more than I do?
I was in awe. I bet the angels were singing. 


I couldn't find the prayer. I have a copy somewhere but I couldn't find it. I made up something from what I could remember but it wasn't the same. She snuggled down to sleep but she didn't get off. 

I sent a message to my friend asking if she'd send over the circle prayer for Katy. She did, straight away.

A while later she was still awake. I took the prayer up to her and she had me say it twice, while drawing little circles on the palm of her hand. She smiled and when I said, 'Amen' she nodded with a big smile. Then she snuggled down into her pillows and mountain of soft toys and as I got to the door she said to me:

'Mummy, when you're sad, I'm going to ask Daddy to read you the circle prayer, and then you'll feel better too."

And she closed her eyes and put her thumb in her mouth and held Scruffy Barney close to her cheek.


Loving Lord, there are so many things about this that blow my mind. She remembered the prayer and she associates it not only with going into hospital but with feeling better.  She must be thinking about her hospital visit on Monday and she must be worrying.  Tonight the prayer helped. You helped my baby girl.  She's only four, but she knew what she wanted to help her and when I found it for her she was comforted. 

So much more.  She knows that you love her. She knows that you will never stop loving her and she knows that there's nothing she can do to make you love her less and there's nothing she can do to make you love her more. Praise you, my wonderful Lord. You have given her the gift of faith. 

She wants me to find the same comfort that she found on the occasions that I'm upset or worried. She wants me to hear the circle prayer and then I'll feel better. Thankyou Lord for her faith and for her love for me. 

Who says that ministry to small children is all one way? Tonight she was the one with the wisdom; I was humbled. She was troubled and she knew what would help. She asked for it and it was as she believed it would be. She was comforted. She told me that it would help me too. I can learn from that. 

Amen Amen Amen. 

Lord, thankyou for the wonderful thing that happened tonight.
Thankyou for wise and perceptive friends who gave us this little prayer when it was needed.
Thankyou that this friend picked up my message and responded immediately, that Katy was still awake and that she felt better.

May she know your presence more every day. May the little fire of faith that is clearly in her heart burn ever brighter. 

Thankyou. From the bottom of my heart. 

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