Thursday, July 17, 2014

Polar Bear Prayers

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death (Psalm 13:3)

I pray for really strange things. This morning on our walk Rosie stopped to sniff a worm that was painfully inching its way across the asphalt. I jerked my dog away and breathed a quick prayer: “Dear Lord, please help that worm make it across the road.”

I considered finding a stick to move the creature but decided against it. The worm would make it or not; I had done what I could.

My prayers are many and varied. Of course, I pray for my children and my husband, my friends, my church, and humanity at large; but I’m just as likely to pray for the mother bird I see flying to her nest with a twig or the baby birds that will soon fill that nest.

Before going to a book signing or setting up at a festival, I pray for the people who will buy and read my books.

Okay, now you can say, “Edith, you are weird. Who prays for worms and unborn birds?”

You’re right, it is weird; but I’ve come to terms with the fact that that’s the only way I can function. To borrow from William Wordsworth’s poem, “The world is too much with us; late and soon.”

Somehow these prayers absolve my conscience of the fact that I can’t protect all worms and birds just as I don’t have much control over people’s reaction to what I write or the to world in general.

Am I always successful in turning things over to God? Of course not! Most of the time I’m busy snatching back whatever I’ve put in His hands. It’s only when I am totally exhausted and out of options that I’m able to completely let go.

I love polar bears. I’ve never seen one outside of a zoo, though that’s on my bucket list of things to do. I worry about polar bears. Mentally I imagine a polar bear family huddled together on an ice floe as it visibly shrinks because of global warming.

What can I do to protect that polar bear family? Nothing, beyond joining environmental groups and approaching legislators—which I do.

In reality, my voice is small and I am overwhelmed by the bears’ plight.

That’s when I have to send up one of my weird prayers—so that I don’t sink into a morass of worry about circumstances over which I have little influence.

I’m not responsible for God’s world. I believe He creates and recreates. Maybe my calling is to point out worms struggling across hot asphalt, the polar bear plight, or my neighbor dying of cancer.

I do what I can.

 Please visit Edith at

Edith has written three fiction books and co-authored a collection of short stories. She writes about strong women living action-packed lives and overcoming great obstacles. Her stories are set in her native South and often are historical fiction.

Edith’s latest book will be released in early fall 2014. It is tentatively titled Called to Tell the Truth and is a collection of essays and short stories based on the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “…faith, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love.


J.B. DiNizo said...

What a beautiful posting! Excellent for this day and age where everyone and everything could use prayers.

Caroline said...

Polar bear prayers. I like it. I've been known to say a prayer or two for weird things, but who cares? We pray as our heart and God leads us. Good post.