A Reader’s Grace

          for these Thy gifts, O Lord,
          make us truly grateful:

for sentences that cause us to stop
and pause for breath
to read again, slowly this time,
just for the joy of the words

for paragraphs highlighted and pencil-marked,
underlined and asterisked
where ideas demand our attention

for pages bookmarked or dog-eared
awaiting our return

           make us grateful, too,

for the writers’ work–
for the diarist and the dead poet,
for the storyteller and the fireside preacher,
for the historian and the everyday prophet

for every scratching quill
flowing fountain
inky type
silent keystroke
for every effort to shape letters into words into wonder

for every vocabulary and for every language
that writes heaven
into earth

          by Your hand we all are fed;

(in the clamor, feed us with the hush of turning pages

in the vacuum, feed us with the whisper of wisdom)

          so give us, Lord, this daily bread

this inspiration
this challenge
this discernment
this discomfort
this nostalgia
this conviction
this rest

         and nourish us so we may be fit for Your service

now let the words of these volumes
and the meditations of all of our hearts
be acceptable in Your sight

let the words sink into us
let the words recreate us
let the words rise up within us

so we too can be tellers of stories

O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer

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