Prayer

I do not undertake to say 
     That literal answers come from Heaven, 
But I know this–that when I pray 
     A comfort, a support is given 
That helps me rise o’er earthly things 
As larks soar up on airy wings. 

In vain the wise philosopher 
     Points out to me my fabric’s flaws, 
In vain the scientists aver 
     That “all things are controlled by laws.” 
My life has taught me day by day 
That it availeth much to pray. 

I do not stop to reason out 
     The why and how.    I do not care, 
Since I know this, that when I doubt, 
     Life seems a blackness of despair, 
The world a tomb; and when I trust, 
Sweet blossoms spring up in the dust. 

Since I know in the darkest hour, 
     If I lift up my soul in prayer, 
Some sympathetic, loving Power 
     Sends hope and comfort to me there. 
Since balm is sent to ease my pain, 
What need to argue or explain? 

Prayer has a sweet, refining grace, 
     It educates the soul and heart. 
It lends a lustre to the face, 
     And by its elevating art 
It gives the mind an inner sight 
That brings it near the Infinite. 

From our gross selves it helps us rise 
     To something which we yet may be. 
And so I ask not to be wise, 
     If thus my faith is lost to me. 
Faith, that with angel’s voice and touch 
Says, “Pray, for prayer availeth much.”

       – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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