Prayer

Table of Contents

“Threshold”

In the night-cloak of the globe
Cities buzz, aglow.
So little sleeps tonight.
Restless minds drift across screens
or half-formed dreams to arrive
empty at the door to peace.
I can unlock that vault with a whisper to the sky
over hands clasped in the chain of ancient lessons.
I can enter with a slow breath over
the threshold and hide here for the night.
 
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For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest

I.
this is for the girl who was told
            she couldn’t pray in a forest.
in simple words in a letter a long time ago
a man wrote a great truth that
nothing in the world, nothing in our imaginations,
            can take us away from God.
we are connected by His love
linked forever to His grace,
            a lifeline that cannot be broken.
so in the soft murmurs of a forest
             how can He not be heard
             and how can He not hear?
if He created the trees of the forest,
            their broad leaves and narrow needles, 
            the sweet smell of old leaves and fresh berries,
            the cool shade and the warm glade,
                        then can’t He meet you there in that garden?

II.
this is for the children of God 
           who are afraid to lift their voices too loudly,
who are afraid to be heard, who have been told too many times
           their prayers and thoughts aren’t worth enough
                       to be of any concern to God.
your words don’t have to be beautiful or elegant or perfect.
            a parent praises a child’s first words, 
            and one who loves the child never stops listening
            when those words become sentences, become questions,
            become who they are struggling to explain in sounds
                        someone else can understand.
don’t be afraid to try and speak, don’t fear rock cold judgment 
            when what awaits you is warm open arms 
            and a ready ear for whatever words you say.
every whisper and worry and hope
            He’s waiting to hear, however you say them,
            wherever you say them.

III.
i walk in a forest today and sing aloud to heaven.
            Listen closely—
            the forest is singing back His reply

 
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For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 
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“Without words”

I am without words for this moment.
They say the Spirit speaks for us at times like these,
and I wonder what it would say.
Maybe it is a poet: God, the terror confines him,
blinds him, binds him. Slip peace
onto the blisters of the unknown tomorrows
and soothe the heart that grieves for the easy days past.
Maybe it is a chanting priest: Holy God, give peace. Holy God, give peace.
Holy God, give peace.
Maybe the Spirit sings, and maybe it clamors.
Maybe it shouts, maybe it whispers.
Maybe all it says is my name,
and God listens.
 
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Without words by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

 
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“Summer Night Prayer”

deep in summer dreams buzzing
       with cicadas and lawnmowers
              i murmur midnight prayers. what
amazes me and confounds me
      is the listening ear i find taking in
             each long list of worries, questions,
                            requests, and hopes. what makes 
me lie still as leaves hanging in humid
       noon sunshine is that silent reassurance
            that i’ve been heard and that since 
        my first wailing breath i’ve 
    been cherished close by family
here around me and up above. in clouds
        drifting over the moon, You’re up there
               cupping Your great ear
                  to hear my little voice.

back when i only knew words in patterns
        and rhymes, You listened. now, with my
              rambling prayers You
still listen, offer a guiding hand and a
        gentle voice in reply, a voice i hear
tonight amidst the buzzing of summer. it’s 
        delicate but deep with life and love
             and power beyond vast starry skies and imagination.

it says simple things to me, for a child’s ears,
        but simple things are wise and change souls.
                   if i set aside doubt for a minute, 
i can feel a seed in my heart split open
         to sprout a shoot of faith. if i listen, rain falls
                      gently on me and the shoot grows leaves 
and branches. branches are beautiful because
              they reach—over and down and up in all
                     directions. Your Word is 
air around me, a fine cool mist, and nourishing
       sunlight for the faith
                   growing in me.

 
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Summer Night Prayer by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 
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“Offer of Prayer”

She sees pain gnawing your heart
like a starving dog on a bone
without blood to give, just marrow
trying to hide from the teeth.

She offers you prayer
and you know she’s offered her heart.
She will spend moments saying words
to God for you but she will spend
as many and more holding your weeping
head in her arms, listening to your sorrow,
and speaking to you the poetry that is her wisdom.

She is the breath in the prayer,
living the words in a slow dance of love circling
around you in an embrace.
 
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Offer of Prayer by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

 
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“the yellow light”

jangled jostled jarring
i am riding on this
busy road of a day
until the red light
at the end
when my fuel runs out
and i 
            stop
the horns are blaring bleating blinding
from every which way
and there are too many
ways to go
signs to read
and all i want is my
                     destination
reaching over i
turn down the radio
with its voices of sad stories
angry people and advertisements,
turn it down so i can
                                   think.
thinking turns to praying
because my list 
of places to go and 
errands to run
has gotten too long.
i hand it over
                            now.
peace-bringing prayer
echoes in my mind like
soft songs in a cathedral.
the busy road becomes
straight and narrow
and i see now only 
                                     by headlights.
softly singing simple songs
from sunday school days 
of simplicity,
i slow down to wait in
the golden light
                at the crossroads.

 
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the yellow light by Briana Batty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

 
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