#poetry

On Being Asked to Pray for a Van

What a joyous, absurd and utterly glorious poem! I laughed out loud when I read this poem👇🏾 and fell In love with how easily and well it displays the utter absurdity that prayer can sometimes be. I love the absurdity of prayer. The strangeness of it, the hope in it, the comfort of it.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of prayer to bring peace, and solace and give your heart a chance to heal. I love its ability to give to the one engaging with it at so many different levels. I love most that prayer gives one room to feel and to care enough about how they are feeling that they must do something about it — even if that is to meditate and lean their worries on a greater being.

But I often find it absurd–even as I engage in it! There is so much joy and humour to be found in the things we choose to pray about; but isn’t that the wonder of it all?

And this particular poem has everything I absolutely love about the funny, humorous and wonderful parts of prayer.

On Being Asked to Pray for a van by Michael Chitwood

My evangelical brethren have let me know,

via the quarterly fundraising letter,

that they can’t get the gospel around

because their van has given up the ghost.

God in the machine, help them.

I lift up their carburettor and their

transaxle.

Bless them with meshed gears and a

greased cam shaft.

Free their lifters. Deliver their differential

and anoint their valves and their pistons.

Unblock their engine block and give them

deep treaded tires.

Their brakes cry out to You.

Hear them, O Lord.

Drive out the demons from their steering

column and come in to the transmission

that they may know the peace of passing.

Minister even unto the turn indicator.

Creator Spirit, Holy Maker of the Universe,

give them gas.

*When Poets Pray by Marilyn McEntyre is a close look at how poets from George Herbert to Lucille Clifton have used poetry to explore spirituality and how poetry and prayer continues to be closely related, oftentimes giving language to things we cannot easily express and thereby making the simple act of reading poetry an act of meditation, silent contemplation and yes, even prayer. It is published by William B Eerdmans Publishing, and is available to order now.*