Oh, What Is Prayer? Oh, what is prayer? Is it a mystery, that bridges earth and heaven in a cry, that reaches to the infinite? A sigh, A groan, a whisper, tears that come to be admixed from faith and high anxiety or deep recesses of the soul. Whereby the being arches up, and in, to try to touch omnipotence with probity. But sometimes silence follows all the din of many fears and questions and requests; and sometimes there is nothing in return, or yet at least it seems this way. Within the quake and hard unknowing fully rests desire yet: to seek, and burn, and yearn. Where Is the Fire? Where is the fire that once burned so bright? Where is the eager faith that I once had? Where is the happiness, where I was glad To share my Lord and know Him in His light? I once had so much energy of heart, And fervor that my light would shine to all, And confidence in what's the Christian's call, But now His grace and I are far apart. It seems that all is dead and gone. No more Do embers and the burning flames grow high Or deep within me. Emptiness abounds, And dryness. Oh, the Lord that I adore, Or did adore— oh, are you far, or nigh? My lack perplexes, saddens, and confounds. The Prayers of Youth The prayers of youth begin with fervent heat, And all the passions of a lover's love, And all the ardor of an earnest, sweet, Excited faith, transcendent from above. But as we age, our prayers, liked finest wine Grow dry but complex. Nothing like before, But staying steady on. Oh, where is mine, The fires of my youth, oh, where the store Of heat and passion, that seems now so dead? It is more even now. Not without fire, Just more an ember, which maintains instead And makes a glow and warmth out of desire. Oh, keep me on the warm and lighted way, That you might fan me when I go astray. Theresa Rodriguez is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs, a sonnet chapbook, and her third book of poetry, entitled Longer Thoughts, which has just been released by Shanti Arts. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Religion and Intellectual Life, the Midwest Poetry Review, Leaf Magazine, the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, and the Society of Classical Poets. Her website is www.bardsinger.com.