Saturday, July 15, 2017

Trying to Pray

The following is from The Writer's Almanac:

With my arms raised in a vee,
I gather the heavens and bring
my hands down slow together,
press palms and bow my head.
I try to forget the suffering,
the wars, the ravage of land
that threatens songbirds,
butterflies, and pollinators.
The ghosts of their wings flutter
past my closed eyes as I breathe
the spirit of seasons, the stirrings
in soil, trees moving with sap.
With my third eye, I conjure
the red fox, its healthy tail, recount
the good of this world, the farmer
tending her tomatoes, the beans
dazzled green al dente in butter,
salt and pepper, cows munching
on grass. The orb of sun-gold
from which all bounty flows.

"Trying to Pray" by Twyla M. Hansen from Rock. Tree. Bird

© The Backwaters Press, 2017


Personal Postscript:

As I try to pray, tell me what you know or think about prayer.


  1. a form of meditation, often leading to inner peace and increased tranquility...

  2. I agree with Mudpuddle, Tim. Prayer can calm the mind and give us the strength to deal with what we have to face.

  3. The best way to pray, I have found, is to sir quietly and listen. Prayer is simply the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. God does the rest.

    1. Frank, Margot, Mudpuddle.....I sit and listen quietly, wondering about the voices in my head...hmmmm....

  4. Prayer is communion with God. It increases our intimacy with Him.

    Mostly, I beg.

    1. Sharon, I like that notions of communion and intimacy rather than begging.

    2. I shouldn't beg, but I find I do so often. I get stressed about many things. Luckily, God is the great Calmer. Do you know the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus? I like this part:

      What a Friend we have in Jesus,
      All our sins and griefs to bear!
      What a privilege to carry
      Everything to God in prayer!
      O what peace we often forfeit,
      O what needless pain we bear,
      All because we do not carry
      Everything to God in prayer!
      Have we trials and temptations?
      Is there trouble anywhere?
      We should never be discouraged,
      Take it to the Lord in prayer.
      Can we find a friend so faithful
      Who will all our sorrows share?
      Jesus knows our every weakness,
      Take it to the Lord in prayer.

    3. Sharon, with so many Sundays and Wednesdays of my childhood and adolescence spent in a Methodist church, and lots of memorable time spent at revival meetings, I am very familiar with the hymn. I am now what Flannery O'Connor would call a "Christian malgre lui," and I avoid all congregations, churches, and dogmatic Christianity. I am merely a pilgrim.

    4. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience. Sometimes people can obstruct a clear vision of God, which is why we have to keep our eye on him since people always fail us.

      What do you mean by maigre lui? A disenchanted believer or a disillusioned person who can no longer believe?

    5. Sharon, I use the term in the way O'Connor applied it to her protagonist, Haze Motes, in _Wise Blood_. She defined it as "Christian in spite of himself." So, in spite of everything, myself included, I consider myself a Christian. Of course, I would never pass the litmus test from denominational Christianity for such a declaration. Many died-in-the-wool Christians would scoff at my label. But, so be it.