Praying for Chicks

March 17, 2010

By Clarice French
St Paul's UMC, Reno, NV

"Chicks." For weeks Daniel had been praying for "chicks." At St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Reno, the children in Sunday School send their prayers to the worship service to be included in the Prayers of the People. There are prayers for family, friends, and school issues – but always, Daniel prayed for chicks.
St Paul's is a congregation with an average attendance of 75-80. There is only one small Sunday School class, with a wide range of ages. To give the offering collection meaning for the children, the Sunday School teachers suggested that funds be used for the Heifer Project – and chicks were listed as a possibility. Don, who has a flock of chickens, brought a hen and rooster for children's time so that they could relate visually. A big hit!
As the children's interest increased, the congregation began supplying change for the Sunday School collection, while Daniel's prayers for "chicks" continued.
The holidays approached. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Sheila provided a wall hanging of a Christmas tree – black and white to represent a cow. It held cards that showed the cost for a flock of chicks, for a water buffalo, a cow, and for the other animals available through contributions to Heifer Project. 
A song to the tune of "Old MacDonald's Farm" was written by Linda, and sung by the Holy Macrels choir:    
"St Paul's Daniel had a dream: E-I-E-I-O! He prayed for chicks; it was a scream: E-I-E-I-O! With a chick-chick here, a chick-chick there, here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick – St Paul's Daniel had a dream: E-I-E-I-O!                                                                                                                                    
He prayed real hard in Sunday School, E-I-E-I-O! His friends all joined him; it was cool: E-I-E-I-O! With a chick prayer here, and a chick prayer there, here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick – St Paul's Daniel had a dream: E-I-E-I-O!                         
Now, the Heifer Project is so fine: E-I-E-I-O! Kids filled the jar up just in time: E-I-E-I-O!
They'll buy some chicks-chicks here, some chicks-chicks there, here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick – Daniel's dream is coming true: E-I-E-I-O!                                                                                                         
The Heifer tree is here this year: E-I-E-I-O! And Daniel's dream you all can share: E-I-E-I-O! Give a moo-moo here and an oink-oink there, here a sheep, there a tree, everywhere a share-share – Check it out, it's over there: E-I-E-I-O! E-I, E-I – OOOOOO!"                                                                                                                                                              
On hearing it, Daniel's face lit up. "That's me!" he said. Then he gave a big "high five" and said, "Thanks, Guys!"
The excitement increased. "Chicks" still headed Daniel's prayers. And the congregation became more involved, adding loose change for the children's collection with new enthusiasm. With $200 already collected in Sunday School, adults began taking the cards from the "cow" tree and donating funds for animals.
Suddenly, the time arrived to put everything together. Coins were wrapped, checks and bills in all denominations were counted. The total: $4,760! Or, in Heifer Project terms, 26 flocks of chicks, as well as four goats, five trios of rabbits, four sheep, three pigs, two groups of trees, four water buffalo, and three heifer cows to help villagers in Third World countries!  
All started with a prayer for "chicks." All started by Daniel, a seven-year-old boy with autism, who touches the hearts of all who meet him.
What might we accomplish if we prayed for chicks?