Sixteen Prayers

God, hear these sixteen prayers

that I am praying for sixteen good reasons.

I’ve loved her sixteen years,

protected and nurtured her each and every day.

Sixteen birthdays she’s made wishes

on cakes baked by my hands.

Sixteen years of trying to give good advice

and about a million “Be carefuls.”

And now, at this age of sixteen

when all the world is coming up roses,

my prayer for her is “Be yourself.”

And if she cannot see the dangers I see

and if all roads seem good,

and if all friends seem trustworthy,

give her a keen sense of the laws of nature;

that gravity applies to her,

and acceleration and velocity;

that all her sixteen years

cannot protect her from the words she speaks

and the fact that what is hastily given

cannot be easily retrieved.

Sixteen spells innocent and

sixteen spells accountable.

God our Mother protect this dear one

as I have longed to protect her

from the day you gave her into my arms

sixteen years ago.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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