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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

Unanswered Prayers


Like some school master, kind in being stern,
Who hears the children crying o’er their slates
And calling, “Help me master! ” yet helps not,
Since in his silence and refusal lies
Their self-development, so God abides
Unheeding many prayers. He is not deaf
To any cry sent up from earnest hearts,
He hears and strengthens when He must deny.
He sees us weeping over life’s hard sums
But should He give us the key and dry our tears
What would it profit us when school were done
And not one lesson mastered?
What a world
Where this if all our prayers were answered. Not
In famed Pandora’s box were such vast ills
As lie in human hearts. Should our desires
Voiced one by one in prayer ascend to God
And come back as events shaped to our wish
What chaos would result!
In my fierce youth
I sighed out a breath enough to move a fleet
Voicing wild prayers to heaven for fancied boons
Which were denied; and that denial bends
My knee to prayers of gratitude each day
Of my maturer years. Yet from those prayers
I rose always regirded for the strife
And conscious of new strength. Pray on, sad heart,
That which thou pleadest for may not be given
But in the lofty altitude where souls
Who supplicate God’s grace are lifted there
Thou shalt find help to bear thy daily lot
Which is not elsewhere found.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

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