The People's Prayer
an African American prayer collected
Zora Neale Hurston
... You have been with me from the earliest rocking of
my cradle up until this present moment.
You know our hearts, our Father,
And all de range of our deceitful minds.
And if you find anything like sin lurking
In and around our hearts,
Ah ast you, my Father, and my wonder-workin' God,
To pluck it out
And cast it into de sea of fuhgitfulness,
Where it will never rise to harm us in dis world
Nor condemn us in de judgment.
Your heard me when Ah laid in hell's dark door
With no weapon in my hand
And no God in my heart,
And cried for three long days and nights.
You heard me, Lawd,
And stooped so low
And snatched me from the hell
Of eternal death and damnation.
You cut loose my stammering tongue;
You established my feet on de rock of salvation
And yo'voice was heard in rumblin'judgment.
I thank Thee that my last night's sleepin' couch
Was not my coolin' board
And my cover
Was not my windin' sheet.
Speak to de sinner-man and bless 'im.
Touch all those
Who have been down to de doors of degradation.
Ketch de man dat's layin' in danger of consumin' fire;
When Ah kin pray no mo',
When Ah done drunk down de last cup of sorrow,
Look on me, yo' weak servant who feels de least of all.
'Point my soul a restin' place
Where Ah kin set down and praise yo' name forever
Is my prayer for Jesus' sake
Amen and thank God.
From: "Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism,"
by Alice Walker, published by The Women's Press Ltd, 1997
Essex Street BME Church, started in
in the city of Guelph, Ontario, Canada