A Prayer for Our Country: A Picture Book Review by Gail Cartee

My friend recently introduced me to the picture book A Prayer for Our Country (Zondervan, 2022) written by our senate Chaplin Rear Admiral Barry Black (Ret.) I immediately fell in love. I kept thinking this is exactly how we need to teach our children to not only love our country but to pray for our country. It’s also a good model for us as adults. 

Chaplin Black helps children see how to put feet to their prayers by: 

  • showing love to others around us. 
  • giving praise and thanks to the Lord for each day.
  • Giving thanks for the strength within us, our family, and our friends.

The prayer acknowledges God as our Creator and encourages us to be thankful for His creation which shows us evidence of God’s love.

The prayer also acknowledges our blessings of food, clothes, and shelter. The illustrations show children how to share those blessings with those less fortunate. 

The prayer asks that the Lord show us how to use every part of us to bring joy to others. 

  • We recognize God as the Good Shepherd. 
  • We ask to be taught to use words wisely, words that heal, not hurt.
  • We ask to recognize that every person is made in the image of God. 
  • We are reminded that God is not a respecter of persons which helps us understand the need for unity.
  • We recognize we have problems that sometimes cause us to feel lost and overwhelmed. 

The illustrations challenge children to care for each other, and to show love and respect because of the word of God. 

We know God is in control. He chose us. With God’s help, we do our best even when no one else is looking. 

Chaplin Black ends the prayer by letting children know God is close and chases away the darkness. He ends the prayer by saying, “in Your loving name.” There is no mention of Jesus but here’s one of the many opportunities we as parents have to teach our children about God’s love. 

  • What is the loving name of God?
  • What verses could be used with this book to encourage children to memorize scripture? 
  • What talents do our children have to share?
  • How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus in our communities?

Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address

Chaplin Black and his illustrator Kim Holt give us the perfect example of what we can do for our country. May we prayerfully enter into the celebration of our country’s birthday this Fourth of July. 

Think about adding this book to your library as you consider ways to encourage your children and grandchildren to pray for our country.

Gail Cartee

Gail Cartee is an author, blogger, and conference teacher. She is a team member of the Write2Ignite. She is an Honor graduate of the University of South Carolina, holding a BA in Early Childhood Education and an MEd from Southern Wesleyan University. She lives with her husband, Richard, in the foothills of Upstate of SC where they raised three children. She last blogged for Write2Ignite on Memorial Day when she wrote “Greater Love Hath No Man.”

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