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Listen, Lord: A Prayer

O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord this morning
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
O Lord open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning.

Lord, have mercy on proud and dying sinners
Sinners hanging over the mouth of hell,
Who seem to love their distance well.
Lord ride by this morning
Mount Your milk-white horse,
And ride-a this morning
And in Your ride, ride by old hell,
Ride by the dingy gates of hell,
And stop poor sinners in their headlong plunge.

And now, O Lord, this man of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning
Shadow him in the hollow of Thy hand,
And keep him out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take him, Lord this morning
Wash him with hyssop inside and out,
Hang him up and drain him dry of sin.
Pin his ear to the wisdom-post,
And make his words sledge hammers of truth
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning
Put his eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let him look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine his imagination,
Put perpetual motion in his arms,
Fill him full of the dynamite of Thy power,
Anoint him all over with the oil of Thy salvation,
And set his tongue on fire.

And now, O Lord
When I’ve done drunk my last cup of sorrow
When I’ve been called everything but a child of God
When I’m done traveling up the rough side of the mountain
O Mary’s Baby
When I start down the steep and slippery steps of death
When this old world begins to rock beneath my feet
Lower me to my dusty grave in peace
To wait for that great gittin’-up morning Amen.

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Poem Listen, Lord: A Prayer - James Weldon Johnson