Podcast 6: Janie and Emily, and a Prayer for Banned Books Week

Over at BannedBooksWeek.org, the celebration has begun.  And while Janie and I made our objections to Banned Books Week clear last week, we are happy to join with our fellow book and library lovers in celebrating the freedom of the press we DO have in this country.   We don’t believe that YA Saves, but we wholeheartedly agree that children’s books are critically important in shaping the imagination and spiritual journeys of young people.  And for that reason, we are delighted that Banned Books Week affords us an opportunity to think critically about kids’ books and the impact they have had on us and our children.

Last Wednesday, I sat down with kids’ book author and my blogging partner, Janie B. Cheaney, to ask her about the role of reading in her life.  And she was kind enough to share stories from her own childhood and parenting experiences, which eventually touched on the how and why of bringing God into our thoughts (and our kids’ thoughts!) about books.

With that in mind, today I offer this prayer and invite you to join with me.   As I wrote in my LIGHT YOUR LIBRARY post, the greatest threat to both our freedoms and our virtue isn’t bad books or bad authors or bad librarians or bad publishers.  The greatest threat is idolatry, and that battleground is the heart of every man.  I couldn’t say it any better than Solzhenitsyn, who wrote this from a Gulag prison cell:

“…the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.”

Would you pray with me today that God would begin there, in the unseen battlefield our hearts, to purify our hopes and imaginations?



Have mercy on us, Father, have mercy on us,

For in You we take refuge.

We will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings,

Until the storms of destruction have passed by.


Father, we confess that our sins are ever before us,

We have sinned against you and our fellow man.

Our imaginations have become corrupt;

We have replaced You and the love of You in our hearts

With images of created things.

Images of birds and beasts and four-footed creatures,

Images made in our own likeness,

Carved in stone and wood,

Engraved in pixels and ink.

We have reached for them in our time of need.

We have sought from them

healing in our brokenness

meaning in our meaninglessness

friendship in our loneliness

hope in our hopelessness

joy in our poverty of spirit

life in our death


Have mercy on us, Father, have mercy on us,

For in You we take refuge.

Crush our pride, O Father.

Crush our desire to save ourselves.

Strip us of the vain rags of self-righteousness,

And cover us, Lord, from all the pain of death and sin

With the righteousness of Your Son.


Create in us clean hearts, O God,

And renew a right spirit within us.

Bless us with

your healing,

your Truth,

your friendship,

your hope,

your joy,

That we may find life in You.

Then You will take pleasure in our sacrifices of praise.

Then authors, librarians, publishers,

Book critics, bloggers, parents and children,

Will write and read and treasure in our hearts

What is glorifying to You.

We will praise You, Lord, among the nations.

We will sing of You among the peoples.

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.


Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

Let Your glory be over all the earth.


If you’d like to know more about our thoughts on Banned Books Week, see our LIGHT YOUR LIBRARY post including this week’s contest!  (Leave a book suggestion in the comments of that post and you will be entered to win a copy of Simonetta Carr’s children’s biography Athanasius this Friday. )  A few other posts of note:  our Interview with Meghan Cox Gurdon last week, our Banned Books anchor post, and Emily’s thoughts on YA Saves in The Lord Saves.

Oh, and one more thing: if you’re a Christian blogger or would like to engage our readers on this subject this week, feel free to link below. We’d love to know what you think!


, , , , ,

2 Responses to Podcast 6: Janie and Emily, and a Prayer for Banned Books Week

  1. Sally Apokedak September 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Wonderful prayer and podcast.

  2. Sally Apokedak September 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    Wonderful prayer and podcast.

Leave a Reply