Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

A Prayer: Matins

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Lord, Thou hast promised. Lo! I give Thee back
Thine own great Word. Keep it. I summon Thee.
Keep it as God can, not as men do. See,
Great God! who art to us the awful Truth
Whereby we live, and move, and know the true--
I ask Thee to be true unto Thyself.

There is a soul that has not sinned unto
The death. I pray for it. To such as seek
For such a one, O Power invisible!
O Mystery and Mercy! Thou hast said
Thou hearkenest. I dare remind Thee, God.
I dare appeal unto Thine honor. Hear!
Fulfill Thy pledge to me.
God, God! Great God!
I pour my soul out, dash it down awaste
Like water, as I would my life, to save
This other one. I light my words with fire,
Like fagots scorching all my shrinking heart.
So would I walk in fire with these my feet
Of flesh, if that could melt this frozen heart
I pray for.
Thou who listenest! Dumb God!
Had I Thy dreadful power to turn the souls
Of men as they were rivers in Thy hand,
Then would I have this noble one. I would
Not lose its loyalty. I tell Thee, Lord,
If I had made it, then it sure should love
And honor me.
Hearken to me! Oh, save!
Give me mine answer! Save!
Great God,
I summon Thee! I summon Thee!

I am Thy child. If I have asked too much,
Or asked or longed amiss in any wise,
Or read awry Thy Word mysterious,
Or made one cry unworthy of a child,
I pray Thee to deny me all I ask
Unto my asking, and rebuke me so.
And if Thou savest, Lord, dear Lord, dear Lord!
Then let it be because some worthier
Than I, did pray. ...

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