to this publication
March 11, 2003.
AS TWO FARMERS PRAY
Said farmer Jones, in a whining tone,
To his good old neighbor Gray;
"I've worn my knees through to the bone;
But it ain't no use to pray.
"I've prayed to the Lord a thousand times
To make my corn grow;
And why yours beats it so and climbs,
I'd give the world to know."
Said farmer Gray to his neighbor Jones,
In his easy, quiet way:
"When prayers get mixed with lazy bones,
They don't make farming pay.
"Your weeds, I see, are strong and tall,
In spite of all your prayers;
You may pray for corn till the heavens fall
If you don't dig up the tares.
"I mix my prayers with a little toil
Along in every row;
And I work that mixture into the ground
Quite vig'rous with a hoe.
"So, while I'm praying I use my hoe,
And do my level best
To keep down the weeds along each row;
And the Lord, He does the rest.
"It's well to pray, both night and morn,
As every farmer knows;
But the place to pray, for thrifty corn
Is right between the rows.
"You must use your hands while praying, though,
If an answer you would get;
For prayer-worn knees and a rusty hoe
Never raised a big crop yet.
"An' so I believe, my good old friend,
If you mean to win the day;
From sowing clean to the harvest end
You must hoe as well as pray."
[This poem is from Old Paths Pulpit, 1944 Edition, published by Homer L.
King, later re-published in 1976 by M. Lynwood Smith].