prayer featured

Bruce Black offers up four new poems on prayer.

1) Every day I listen

Every day, dear God, I listen,
wanting to hear Your voice—

Just a word or two, even the sound
of Your breath—

Hoping for a sign that You are
listening to my prayer.

2) Your face is hidden

Your face is
hidden behind
a cloud.

When I look up
the cloud is

Nothing is there
but a blue

3) No one knows

No one knows
the length of days
each life is given.

No one knows
the beginning
or the end.

No one knows
when a path will appear
or if we’ll find the courage
to follow our heart.

No one knows
how each day will unfold,
no matter how many
plans we make.

No one knows
if we’ll find friends
or peace or love or
what You’ll grant
each of us.

No one knows
but You.

4) I lay awake

I lay awake in the early
morning darkness,

my wife breathing deeply
beside me,

and I ask
what do You want of me?

What am I supposed to do?

As my wife gently inhales
and exhales,

I stare into the darkness
waiting for the first sight
of day,

the first light to creep
under the window shade,

staring and waiting,
asking why this life

and what have I done
and what haven’t I done
that You want me to do?

Soft, gentle breaths beside me
always there to comfort me

and You as always
remain silent

waiting for me to figure out
on my own in the dark

what I need to do,
what I need to say.


Bruce Black is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Vermont College. His work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Poetica, Reform Judaism, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, Yogi Times, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL.
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Elkan Presman
Elkan Presman
3 years ago

I love “Prayer”. I hear it as a song set in one of the ancient Jewish prayer modes. If the tune materialises (I’m no composer, I hasten to warn you), I’d like to send it to you if you’re interested and if you send me your email. Elkan

Bruce Black
Reply to  Elkan Presman
3 years ago

Many thanks for your heartfelt response to “Prayer,” and for sharing the way you heard the words—the music and the breath work beneath the words—as a song. (If you ever find yourself putting the words to music, I’d love to hear what you come up with.)

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