For those who do not know exactly what a Prayer is

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver


Oliver’s well quoted “The Summer Day” has embedded in it this statement:

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I suppose we can say, “welcome to the club.”  But she goes on to say that she does know how to pay attention, among other things.

She ends with that wonderful question:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

But this question comes out of observation; it comes out of what exactly a prayer is.

Prayer includes being idle and blessed, strolling through fields, and just paying attention:

Pay attention to the Creator and His creation – the world, the swan, the black bear, and the grasshopper.

Pay attention to yourself as you stroll through the fields.

Pay attention to those who die at last and too soon.

Pay attention to this one wild and precious life.

Pay attention to the One who made us for Himself all that is wild and precious in life.

About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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