Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Behind The Scenes With Janice Kapp Perry: “A Child’s Prayer”

Of all the Janice Kapp Perry songs in existence, “A Child’s Prayer” is one of the most, if not the most recognizable of all. In a recent LDS Living article, the song was named as number one in the “100 Greatest LDS Songs of All Time.”

In the video above, Perry discusses the inspiration behind “A Child’s Prayer,” noting that it came about because of one of her own trials. When she started writing songs in the 1970’s, she lost the use of the fine muscles in her left hand and couldn’t play the piano. She wrote a song to help her understand what she was going through titled, “Lord Are You There?” A few years later when she was writing children’s songs, she decided to write a child’s version. “Little kids wonder if Heavenly father’s really there, hearing their prayer,” said Perry. The result was “A Child’s Prayer,” which she admits is her favorite of all of her songs and has heard many stories from mothers about how it has affected their children’s lives in a positive way.

The song was originally written with the Lord’s reply in first person, with His reply being, “speak, I am here, pray I will listen.” The music committee pointed out that if the words were coming from the Lord’s mouth it would need to be a direct quote. This prompted her to change the lyrics to “Pray He is there, speak He will listen,” Perry said, “That makes it possible for any teacher to sing it with one of her Primary students, or a parent, a mother, a dad. It was a brilliant idea, and all kinds of combinations of people have sung it since then.”