Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rain Prayer

The following article was in our Livestock Weekly, a weekly periodical that we read voraciously in our home. This issue was published on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Our rain started that night. :)

Its long, but it just really spoke to our family and I wanted to share it here. I also want those of you who have not received rain to know that I am praying this for you.

I called the editor and received permission to repost this:

Editor's note:
The following article was written in 1935 by W.L. White, editor of the Emporia Gazettte (Kansas). The prayer  is said to have brought rain for Kansas and other places it ran. Livestock Weekly reprinted it in May 1984, during a long dry spell; that drought began to break within a month. Livestock Weekly reran it again in 2000, when West Texas had been in the grip of a bitter drought for almost a decade. Many of us were repairing water gaps within a few weeks. We ran it again in 2006, remarking that we were "reluctant to wear out a good thing". That reluctance remains, though need once more overpowers it, as the Southwest burns, while areas from the Dakotas  to the mouth of the Mississippi wash away. We would gladly take some of what they would equally gladly give away. As Livestock Weekly founder, Stanley Frank, wrote when he first ran the prayer in '84, "Let 'er slosh!"

As a dues-paying member of the Congregational Church, the writer is entitled, under its creed, to address his maker, directly in prayer, without the intervention of prelate, saint, parson or priest, in any place, on any subject, at any time, and in our own language.

So here goes: O Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us a rain, and by that we don't mean a shower. We want to go out in our car in the early evening and watch the lightening go ripping across the southwestern sky in hot blue forks as the fat clouds roll in on us from Chase County. We want to hurry home to close the house with the first fat drops the size of marbles on a suddenly rising wind, chasing us and plunking on the hood of our car. We want to scramble all over the house just as the first sheets descend, frantically slamming down the windows, while the drops thunder on the tin roof of the porch and lightening blasts illuminate the waving tree tops.

O Lord of Hosts, we want to look out of the windows and watch the regiments of fat, close-paced raindrops march diagonally down in sheets, until we can't see the outlines of the street light on the corner and it looks like a great pale luminous ball through the driving drops. We want to hear, about a minute after the first rush, the gurgle in the tin gutters under the eaves, and, in 25 seconds more, the sputter of the downspout and the hollow churning of the water in the cistern.

God of Israel, Isaac, and Jacob, let it come down so hard, let the drops dance so high that the outlines of the streets and sidewalks seem covered with a six-inch fog of splattering drops. Then let it just keep up for a while, and then begin to taper off, and then turn right 'round and get a lot worse, swishing, pounding, splattering, pouring, drenching, and thunder coming - Crackity-BAM! Bam - bam - bumble - bumble - bumble" -  and the lightening flashing so fast and furious you can't tell which flash goes with which peal of thunder.

So that all the women will get scared and climb on top of the feather beds and scream at you not to get too close to the windows. So that in between lightening flashes you can see the dirty yellow gutter water rippling across the street, instead of along its sides.

And then, O Jealous God, repeat the whole act about three times, and in the middle of the second time, we will get out the old tin wash pan and climb the attic stairs to put it under the tiny leak in the roof which you can't even notice in an ordinary rain. And after a couple of hours, kind of taper it down, O Lord, to a good, steady rain - not a drizzle - but a business-like one that keeps up until just about dawn and then spits a few drops occasionally from a gray sky.

O Shepherd of a Chosen People, when we walk to work that morning, let us see pink, thin-nosed angle worms that have crawled out of the grass and drowned in the sidewalk puddles, and big pools of standing water in every yard with just the tips of the fresh green grass breaking the surface. Let it knock all the buds off the elm trees, so that streets and sidewalks are covered with a brown snow, except where the running water has gathered into thick scum over the pools around the choked drains.

Then let everyone begin wondering what the rivers are doing, and when we go down to the bridge, make us drive through about 2 inches of dirty, yellow water running over the pavement, and when we get on it, let us watch a pig and two Buff Orpington hens and half a woodshed float by, about three feet under our shoe soles, and Lord, let the farmers holler their heads off about how it will be too wet, now, to get their corn in early enough.

Thou Art My Shepherd, I shall not want if Thou leadest me into green pastures, and beside the still waters, while the little pasture ponds stand full to the brinks of their cement dams.

Oh God of Battles and Lord of Many Mansions, if you don't want it to rain in Kansas, all right. And if you do, all right. But we are weak in faith and pray for a sign such as you gave to Aaron to confound Pharoah's magicians and sorcerers. Take the business of weather prediction out of the hands of a lot of incompetent Washington Bureaucrats and make it Thy special province. They're playing horse with us, Lord. They promise a rain and all we get is a mangy little thin-flanked shower that you could hang your hat on its hip bones.

Kansas is indeed the Promised Land, O Lord, and if it gets a break it will flow with milk and honey. .But we  can't live much longer on promises. So in Thine own time make up Thy mind, O Lord, and we will bow before Thy judgement, and praise Thy everlasting name. Amen.


Susan said...

Thank you for sharing and prayers for California's drought to end is always appreciated. Our God is in control of the weather and we are thankful when He chooses to bring rain.

Nancy said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

I recently ran acrossan old copy I had cut out of LW a long time ago.I wonder if they would let the local county paper reprint.So glad you have gotten some rain

juliehallfeldhaus said...


Michigan Gal said...

What a creative prayer! I love it! God tells us to come boldly before His throne and this writer was inspired. :) I pray for a good rain too, especially in the Southwest and the Kenai in Alaska.

Nancy said...

Now that's a prayer, Karin. Pleading, praise, worship, acceptance of His will; specific about needs and desires. And all with such beautiful imagery. I wish I could send you (and everywhere that needs one) one of our rainstorms. They are often answers to this prayer (except that they're in Ohio instead of Kansas and New Mexico and California...). Perhaps the thousands of people who read this prayer will pray it, too, and rain will come. I hope so.

Cathy said...

I loved every minute of that! Thank you so much for sharing. And all that goes for Central Texas too Lord!!

Denise :) said...

Don't laugh ... I read this will a smile on my face and tears rolling down my cheeks! I love the way the writer didn't just ask God for rain, but specifically told God what s/he was looking for!! Beautiful stuff! :)

Anonymous said...

If I may say....I believe the wording is 'zealous' God. Our Lord has no reason to be jealous, ever. :)

Staci said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading this!!

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