O for wisdom, not possessed,
to understand the whims of man –
to analyze his mind and heart
and then try to control his hand.

O for wisdom, not possessed,
to cleanse this creature’s thoughts of hate –
to make of him a foe of war
before he makes that choice too late.

O for comprehension how
the value of the soul to teach
to life the ethics of his fool
beyond the world’s distorting each.

God give me wisdom, not possessed,
to know the things to do and say,
that I may teach this thing called man
the way to love … and to pray.

© The Rev. Leon H. Sullivan | Ebony Magazine | August 1997

Photo credit: My Text This Morning Is Taken From Paragraph 15 is a drawing by Alan Dunn

Book Review

When Poets Pray – by Marilyn McEntyre (Amazon, $19.99)

O Jehovah, you have searched me and know me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up.

Those were the starting lines of Psalms 139:1-12. For ages, verses written from the heart by poets at moments of despair, fear, and losses – reminds us of the power of prayers. Poetry and prayer are closely related; poets point the way in giving voice to imagery and emotions forged in spoken words, teaching us to take a moment to meditate and reevaluate our spiritual worth.

by Marilyn McEntyre (Amazon, $19.99)

Marilyn McEntyre’s When Poets Pray contains thoughtful meditations on choice poems/prayers and poems about prayers. Her beautifully written reflections are contemplative exercises, not scholarly analyses, meant more as an invitation than instruction. Here McEntyre shares gifts that she has received from poets who reflect on prayer, believing that they have other gems to offer readers seeking spiritual companionship along our pilgrim way. Poets discussed in this collection include John Donne, Mary Oliver, Anna Kamienska, and a host of others are coursework on poets and prayer. Grab a copy on Amazon and immerse yourself in this great collection.

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