Friday, November 14, 2014

The Sincerity in the "Prayer" by S.P. Bailey

I laughed out loud while reading this poem and then I was touched.  In the poem “Prayer” by S.P. Bailey tells the story of a boy’s picture day as a first grader. The poet paints scene for the readers and we cannot help but relate to the situation. The poet has a sincerity of tone and an ability to describe such an important life event.

It was picture day. Me: a first grader. I was all ready.
Hair combed. Shirt tucked in tight. Tie clipped on.
Mom’s orders were clear:
            No getting dirty or messing up my hair
            No riding my bike. No playing in the sandpile.
            No playing outside at all.

These six lines pull to mind a young boy that often gets dirty while playing. He is a little rambunctious but he has a desire to please his mother. Each reader can remember picture day and how they tried to make sure they were clean until the click of the camera. The poet repeats the orders from mom with a very parallel format. Just as if a mother would try to get her son to understand, she instructs ““No” getting dirty” with an emphasis on the “No.”

Later on in the poem the little boy decides to follow the spirit of the law and but still have fun. Only then he is in his playhouse and gets caught in a rainstorm. He is so afraid of disappointing his mother. He prays with the sincerity of a little boy.  The rain stops. He is sure that he saw the finger of the Lord. God stopped the rain for him.

The part of the poem that really stood out to me was the boy’s sincerity that God listened to him and answered his prayers. The poet compared this kind of faith with that of an adult that would think that it was a “coincidence” that the rain stopped. I like to stop and acknowledge gifts from God. Sometimes it is seeing a squirrel, sometimes it is when things work out with my rent and sometimes it is when I have prayed for my sister and she starts to do better. I hope that I always remember where all gifts come from and never think "oh it was a coincidence." 


  1. I love how your entry emphasizes the pure faith of children! I have little siblings and I have seen their sure knowledge of God's love for them and His answers to their prayers. The snippet of the poem you included does a great job of illustrating the poet's ability to paint the scene.

  2. I love the ability to relate to this poem and your analyzing of it. Everyone has had those days. Everyone has been told by their mother not to get themselves dirty and even beyond that we've all had bad school photos. Both the poem and your response to it brought these thoughts forward and makes the poem more relatable.