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twentieth centuries. His wife was a minister’s daughter, and their Church was College Avenue Methodist Church in Somerville, Massachusetts [SOURCE: http://www.ethicalstl.org/platforms/platform071199.shtml]. Many of his, matter-of-fact poems still speak vividly to us today. I have always especially appreciated “The Prayer of Cyrus Brown”:


“The proper way for a man to pray,”

Said Deacon Lemuel Keyes,

“And the only proper attitude

Is down upon his knees.”


“No, I should say the way to pray,”

Said Reverend Doctor Wise,

“Is standing straight with outstretched arms

And rapt and upturned eyes.”


“Oh, no, no, no,” said Elder Slow,

“Such posture is too proud.

A man should pray with eyes fast-closed

And head contritely bowed.”


“It seems to me his hand should be

Austerely clasped in front

With both thumbs pointing toward the ground,”

Said Reverend Doctor Blunt.


“Well, I pray while resting every day,”

Said Mr. Henry Pack.

“So I should think you say your prayers

While lying on your back.”

“Last year I fell in Murphy’s well—

Headfirst,” said Cyrus Brown.

“With both my knees a’stickin’ up

And my head a’pointin’ down.”


“And I made a prayer right then and there,

The best prayer I ever said,

The prayingest prayer I ever prayed,

A’standing on my head.”


“So, if your prayers come

From mouth and not from soul;

God may just someday let you

Fall into a hole!”

[SOURCE: http://willmington.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html]


The New Testament Church knew and practiced “the proper way to pray.” After the revival fires fell in Jerusalem that Pentecost Sunday, Luke attests in Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

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