African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Benjamin Griffith Brawley, "A Prayer" (1899)

A Prayer 

Lord God, to whom our fathers prayed, 
     To whom they did not pray in vain, 
And who for hem assurance made, 
     Though oft repeated their refrain, 
Hope of our race, again we cry, 
Draw near and help us, lest we die.
The battle rages fierce and long, 
     The wicked seem to triumph still; 
Yet all things to the Lord belong, 
     And all must bow beneath his will. 
Lord God of old, again we cry, 
Draw near and help us, lest we die. 

If brooding o’er the wrongs we grieve, 
     Our hearts forget to turn to thee, 
Or if they e’er do not believe 
    That thou in time wilt hear our plea, 
Hope of our race, stand by us then, 
And help us "quit ourselves like men." 

As now we bend before thy throne, 
     Upon us send thy truth and light; 
From us all other hopes are flown- 
     We pray thee, help us in the right. 
Father of lights, thy mercy send 
Upon us, as we lowly bend. 

Lord God, we pray thee help us all 
     To live in harmony and peace; 
Help us to listen to thy call, 
     And from all evil-doing cease. 
Hope of our people, hear our cry; 
Draw near and help us, lest we die.

Editors Notes:
This poem was originally published in the Atlanta Baptists Seminary student journal The Athenaeum (later The Maroon Tiger). It was later republished in Brawley's collection of poems, The Problem and Other Poems (1905). The sheet music below was written for poem by Arthur H. Ryder. 


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