Possible Answers to Prayer

A poem by Scott Cairns:

Your petitions—though they continue to bear

just the one signature—have been duly recorded.

Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope and inadvertent

entertainment value—nonetheless serve

to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath

a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more

conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick,

the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes

recognizable to me, if not to them.

Go here for the rest of the poem.


  1. How I love this. I see myself in so many of the ways I talk to God and
    how wonderful are His responses. Slow to anger, rich in kindness.

  2. This poem ties in so well with last Sundays gospel, where Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector and their so different prayers.

  3. The visual for me is God just nodding when we pray and saying uh-huh, as when we talk to a child when the child is trying to explain what went wrong, and it was not their fault. Well done.

  4. Perhaps I’m missing something, but the tone of this poem seems very far from that of Jesus’s words in the Gospels. Is it helpful to think of this as God’s way of addressing us?

    • It’s just a fantasy that sounds a lot like what God would say and likely does in one form or another. Poetic licence. Reveals how he does not pick favourites but loves everyone equally even though we can’t stand some of his kiddos.

  5. Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
    righteous indignation toward the many
    whose habits and sympathies offend you—
    these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
    how near I am, with what fervor I adore
    precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.
    Yes but wouldn’t it be wonderful if those passion rousers would go somewhere else and do it maybe in a field or mountaintop where they can’t bother other people!
    I guess I better get my climbing boots on….

  6. Thank you for sharing this poem Jim. There is so much food for thought – I have been prompted to reflect on my own shallowness in the face of so many needs in our society. I am grateful that God still looks upon me with eyes of love.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here