Emmy-award-winning This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz has often said prayer is integral to her daily life, and in a new children's book, she encourages children to pray while telling them that God is by their side, both day and night.
When I Talk to God, I Talk about You is co-authored by Metz and songwriter Bradley Collins and includes colorful illustrations of animal families accompanied by text with rhyming verses about prayer. It's intended to be read by a parent or adult with a child. "I prayed for the day that you would arrive; I dreamt of your smile and the color of your eyes," one of the first pages reads, accompanied by a picture of a mama bird with an egg. By the end of the book, the animals – bear and deer among them – are resting peacefully at night: "Tonight as you sleep, so cozy and still; God hears your prayers and always will." Artist Lisa Fields illustrated it.
"For me, prayer was always really important. My grandmother instilled that at a very young age. And it really has thankfully stuck with me throughout my whole life," Metz (This Is Us, Breakthrough) told Christian Headlines. "... It just means a lot to me."
Metz wants the book to help children understand that prayer is similar to talking to a friend.
"That's really what prayer is, is a conversation with God," Metz said. "... I do it all the time. I mean, morning, noon, night and in between. And when you sort of demystify what it is, you really start to create an actual relationship with God. … You don't have a friendship with a friend if you don't call them, right?"
Collins said he didn't understand what prayer was at a young age. He and Metz have been dating since 2020.
"My grandfather was very sick," he told Christian Headlines, referencing a time from his childhood. "And I remember thinking, well, what can I do? And am I allowed to pray? Do I know what to say? Am I allowed to talk to this Higher Power and ask for help and guidance? Mainly I was praying for his health and for my family to feel better about it all. And he ended up passing when I was in eighth grade. But [for about] five years there, I just didn't know what I was doing … or if I could or if I should."
Collins wants children to understand that "you can have a relationship with God," he said.
The book, Metz said, is also for parents who view prayer as a "massive concept" and don't know where to begin. "Just sort of de-stigmatizing what prayer is" is important, she said.
"Hopefully, it'll touch parents just as much as the children," she said.
Flamingo Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, published it.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jamie McCarthy/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.