Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRAYING ALWAYS, by LUCY LARCOM

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PRAYING ALWAYS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Soul of our souls, only by thee
Last Line: The joy of life is, man to thee may speak!
Subject(s): Prayer

Soul of our souls, only by Thee
The way we see
Through earth's entangling mystery;
We nothing know;
But prayer unbars heaven's gate, and Thou dost show
The one sure path in which we ought to go.
And this is prayer: from self to turn
Thee-ward, and learn
Our life's veiled angels to discern.
Filled with Thy light
We hate the damning evil, love the right:
Awake with Thee, there is in us no night.
Were ours the wish, as vain as strange,
Thy will to change,
Or Thy least purpose disarrange, --
That were not prayer,
But only a rebellious heart laid bare,
Insanely choosing curses for its share.
Thou present God! to Thee we speak;
Weary and weak,
Thy strength Divine we struggling seek!
Thou wilt attend
To every faintest sigh we upward send;
Thou talkest with our thoughts, as friend with friend.
The battle of our life is won,
And heaven begun,
When we can say, "Thy will be done!"
But, Lord, until
These restless hearts in Thy deep love are still,
We pray thee, "Teach us how to do Thy will!"
We cry with Ajax, Give us light!
A glimpse, a sight,
Of midnight foes that we must fight!
They hide within,
They lurk without, the subtle hordes of sin:
By mortal might shall no man victory win.
The prayer of faith availeth much:
Thou hearest such;
Thy hand we in the darkness touch.
Oh, not apart
Stayest Thou on some high throne, all-loving Heart!
Helper in times of need we know Thou art.
Nor nursing each our own distress,
To Thee we press;
Prayer's overflow drowns selfishness:
Soul within soul,
One voice to Thee our linked petitions roll;
Healer of the world's hurt, oh, make us whole!
And when arise serener days,
Whose air is praise,
The song of thankfulness we raise
On high shall be,
Not that to some vast All we bend the knee,
But that each soul has one sure friend in Thee.
Soul of our souls, with boundless cheer
Forever near,
Our being's breath and atmosphere,
The world seems bleak
Only when shelter in drear self we seek:
The joy of life is, man to Thee may speak!

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