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God of the Poor, a prayer

by LeDayne McLeese Polaski


March 5, 2019

This is a prayer that I wrote originally on a trip to Nicaragua. I have since added a new section on the US, mostly my home city, Charlotte, NC. Each person or group mentioned is real – people or a person I have actually met. Let us pray.

God of the poor—these poor,
These farm workers poisoned by pesticides,
These ragged children playing
with cracked plastic balls,
folding roses out of palm branches
so they can offer us a gift,
These street vendors swaying under baskets
heavy with mangoes and corn,
These children playing in the dirt
in their out-of-place cast-off t-shirts,
ads for events and places
they cannot imagine,
These women gathering water
for the evening meal
in discarded Coke bottles,

God of these poor—
Who I have seen now with my own eyes,
Whom I have touched,
Who have touched me,
Who have offered me words
of blessing and welcome,
Who have called me “Hermana”,
God teach me what works my faith requires
now that I have seen, now that I know.
Show me how to love them truly
and accept their love.
Help me to be truly the Sister
they have claimed me to be.

God of the poor – these poor,
The man tucked into a concrete skyscraper niche,
huddled against the cold, trying to sleep;
The mother, her baby in one arm,
Searching the internet for an apartment she can afford;
The college student deciding between tuition and medication;
The innocent man released from Death Row, struggling for sanity and sustenance;
The parents fighting a school assignment that feels like a life sentence of poverty without parole;
The family packing up each night, moving from one Room in the Inn to another;

God of these poor – whom we see each day with our own eyes,
Whom we touch,
Who touch us,
Who offer us words of blessing or challenge,
Who call us “neighbors”
Teach us what our faith requires
Because we do see and we do know.
Show us how to love them truly and accept their love.
Help us be the Neighbors
They claim us to be.


LeDayne McLeese Polaski is the Executive Director of BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz.

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