Today I’d like to offer you one of my favorite poem-prayers:
Prayer at Sunrise
O mighty, powerful, dark-dispelling sun,
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight.
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.
O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day’s race to run.
Fill me with light; fill me with sun-like strength
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch.
Great Father of the Sun, I ask this much.
This poem was written by James Weldon Johnson, the author of the hymn and anthem “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” who lived 1871-1938. He was a poet, author, professor, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist. His life was full of love, service, and Christian faith.
I received a collection of his poem as a gift in high school, and it has been one of my go-to books ever since. I pick it up when I am feeling discouraged, when I am feeling joyful, and when I am looking for God’s word in my life.
This poem has every answer I need – encouragement, celebration, and God’s direction. It reminds me that even while I am praying for strength, I am asking for the benefit of others, that I might reflect to them the love of God. “Light from within, light that will outward shine, strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine, joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch. Great Father of the Sun, I ask this much.”
May this prayer be what you need today, too – encouragement, celebration, and God’s call for your life.