The Answered Prayer
"It is a distant world, my child."
"Do people live there, off so far?"
The child inquired; the father smiled.
'Twas not a genial smile, nor glad;
'Twas grim and cynical and sad;
'Twas like a dark cloud o'er his face;
'Twas from a heart devoid of grace.
"I hope not, child,"" the father spoke;
"For life is but a word for pain;
Who lives and feels but bears a yoke;
Existence is the soul's sole bane.
Then lapsing into loveless thought,
With hopeless, headstrong hatred fraught,
The sad man's heart the sadder grew,
Brooding on anguish, old and new.
Meanwhile, the child, with pensive grace,
Sat gazing at the starry sky;
Till suddenly she turned her face
And caught her father's downcast eye.
"If people suffer in that star,
Will God hear prayer for them, so far?
Would he attend if I should pray,
And take some sufferer's pain away?"
Then kneeling at her father's side,
"Thou Lord," she said, "of love and peace,
Thou Christ, who for all sufferer's died,
Canst make the sufferer's sorrow cease.
In that far world where thou dost reign,
If grief is there, or pinching pain,
Oh grant, dear Lord, to hear my prayer;
Relieve some poor one. suffering there."
The father upward turned his eye;
The planet's light flashed on his gaze;
And from his heart a softened sigh
Commingled with the pious phrase
That clothed the child's devout desire,
As flame is clothing for the fire;
A humble tear adorned his cheek;
He spoke in tone, subdued and meek:
"From God and good and hope of prayer,
My soul has wandered far and long;
Farther from love or righteous care
Than yonder star in heavenly throng
But child, thy prayer has traveled far,
Further, indeed, than that bright star;
Thy prayer has reached this straying heart,
Straying so far from God apart."
And so the child prayed not for naught,
For God did use her prayer to bring
A wandering soul, but still Christ-bought,
Back to the shadow of his wing.
And her petition--who shall say
It went not to the skies away
To aid some soul with sorrow rent,
Or touch some heart on sin intent.
Quillings In Verse
John Edward Everett
(Smith Center: ___. 1912)