Prayer For Unbelieving, Prodigal Daughter
A Prayer for My Daughter
by William Butler Yeats
Once more the storm is howling, and half hidUnder this cradle-hood and coverlidMy child sleeps on. There is no obstacleBut Gregory’s wood and one bare hillWhereby the haystack- and roof-leveling wind.Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.
I have walked and prayed for this young child an hourAnd heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,And under the arches of the bridge, and screamIn the elms above the flooded stream;Imagining in excited reverieThat the future years had come,Dancing to a frenzied drum,
the murderous innocence of the sea.
May she be granted beauty and yet notBeauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,Being made beautiful overmuch,Consider beauty a sufficient end,Lose natural kindness and maybeThe heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.
Helen being chosen found life flat and dullAnd later had much trouble from a fool,While that great Queen, that rose the spray,Being fatherless could have her wayYet chose a bandy-legged smith for man.It’s certain that fine women eatA crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of Plenty is undone.
In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earnedBy those that are not entirely beautiful;Yet many, that have played the foolFor beauty’s very self, has charm made wise,And many a poor man that has roved,Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.
May she become a flourishing hidden treeThat all her thoughts may the linnet be,And have no business but dispensing roundTheir magnanimities of sound,Nor but in merriment begin a chase,Nor but in merriment a quarrel.O may she live some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.My mind, because the minds that I have loved,The sort of beauty that I have approved,Prosper but little, has dried up of late,Yet knows that to be choked with hateMay well be of all evil chances chief.If there’s no hatred in a mindAssault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.
An intellectual hatred is the worst,So let her think opinions are accursed.Have I not seen the loveliest woman born the mouth of Plenty’s horn,Because of her opinionated mindBarter that horn and every goodBy quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?
Considering that, all hatred driven hence,The soul recovers radical innocenceAnd learns at last that it is self-delighting,Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,And that its own sweet will is Heaven’s will;She can, though every face should scowlAnd every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.
And may her bridegroom bring her to a houseWhere all’s accustomed, ceremonious;For arrogance and hatred are the waresPeddled in the thoroughfares.How but in custom and in ceremonyAre innocence and beauty born?Ceremony’s a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.
“A Prayer for My Daughter” is a reflection of the poet’s love for his daughter. It is also about surviving the turmoil of the contemporary world, where passions have been separated from reason. The setting of the poem is unspecified. The speaker is the poet himself talking to his daughter. The tone is gloomy, precarious, and frightening, as well as didactic.
The poem opens with a description of the speaker praying for his innocent infant daughter, Anne, lying in the middle of a storm “howling, and half hid.” The poet demonstrates his feelings through the use of symbols of weather.
The newborn baby girl is sleeping “Under this cradle-hood and coverlid,” implying the innocence and vulnerability of Anne. Though the external world is violent, she is protected from it.
The storm is a metaphor for the Irish people’s struggle for their independence, which was an uncertain political situation in Yeats’s day. He further presents the situation of the storm with “roof-leveling wind”, representing turbulence, in the midst of which the poet has “walked and prayed for this young child an hour.
” Intense and threatening forces surround her a “flooded stream.” The poet symbolizes the sea thus: “ the murderous innocence of the sea.” Despite his apprehensions for his child in this turbulent world, he is hopeful for her.
The poet continues on to comment on his hopes for her beauty:“May she be granted beauty and yet not.” His vacillation is that beauty in women sometimes brings disasters. For example, some such people have a difficult time choosing the right person as a life partner, and neither they can “find a friend.
” The speaker lays emphasis on the need for feminine innocence. The poet advances his argument in the next stanzas by citing examples of beautiful women such as Helen of Troy, whose beauty was said to be the cause of the Trojan War.
By the end, the poet wants his daughter to be courteous, as love cannot come unconditionally and freely. She must earn love with good efforts and kind-heartedness, and she cannot win it by merely physical beauty because “Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned.
” Summing up his theme, the poet wishes his daughter to possess such qualities that could help her face the future years confidently and independently.
The poem is written in a lyric form containing ten stanzas with eight lines in each stanza. The poem follows a regular rhyme scheme, which is AABBCDDC as shown below:
I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour A
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower, A
And-under the arches of the bridge, and scream B
In the elms above the flooded stream; B
Imagining in excited reverie C
That the future years had come, D
Dancing to a frenzied drum, D
the murderous innocence of the sea. C
The meter of this poem alternates between iambic pentameter and trochaic pentameter, as in “I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour / And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower.” The poem is rich in literary devices such as symbolism, personification, paradox, sibilance, assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. The line “murderous innocence of the sea” is an example of paradox. Sibilance is found in the words “sea-wind scream,” while “scream” is also an example of an onomatopoeia. The use of personification can be noted in the lines “future years … dancing”, which implies the transience of life. The poet uses symbols such as “sea wind” and “flooded stream” which denote turbulent forces at work. Alliteration is present in the phrase “be granted beauty.”
Guidance for Usage of Quotes
The poem is concerned with the chaotic modern world. It shows a father consumed with apprehension for his daughter’s future in an uncertain political situation.
The father is tense about how he can possibly protect his daughter from the raging storm outside, because she is very beautiful. Therefore, he prays for her as well as gives advice about how to live successfully on earth.
Similarly, modern-day fathers can send quotes from this poem to their daughters as a piece of advice for special occasions:
“In courtesy I’d have her chiefly learned;Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earnedBy those that are not entirely beautiful;Yet many, that have played the foolFor beauty’s very self, has charm made wise,And many a poor man that has roved,Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.”
Praying For Your Unbelieving Spouse
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:13-14)
Also Read: Colossians 3:1-17
Valerie and John used to attend church together when they first married, but as the years went by, he found other things to do on Sundays and preferred to stay at home while she went alone.
This led to increasing friction between them, for while John became less and less interested in spiritual issues, Valerie found that her faith was growing and God was becoming more important to her. Their problems only got worse whenever they tried to discuss issues of significance.
One day it dawned on Valerie how much she resented and even disd John. The more she thought about it, the more she worried as to where her feelings could lead. Wisely, she decided to talk to a church counselor, who showed her that, as far possible, she needed to understand, love, and respect her husband —despite their different priorities.
Tolerance and Acceptance
The counselor reminded Valerie that one of the great strengths of Christianity is that, with God’s help, Christians can display a tolerance and acceptance of those who irritate them. Jesus’ love is such a powerful resource that we can respond with dignity and respect. This is what Jesus did when he was opposed.
If there is one thing that eventually may bring John to Jesus Christ, it will be Valerie’s respect and love for him. This is especially admirable when he least deserves it. However, in the meantime, Valerie needs to be patient and faithful for as long as it takes.
“Although I sometimes find it hard to be tolerant, Lord, help me today to appreciate the good things about my husband, and to respect his views —even if I cannot agree with them. Help me to become more Jesus.”
A Question to Answer:
If Jesus lived in your house, how do you think he would handle your husband’s feelings about him and the church?
This devotional thought came from the book, Praying for Your Unbelieving Husband …120 Reflections, Prayers, and Action Steps -by Michael and Diane Fanstone. Reverend Fandstone is senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Gravesend, England.He is the author of Unbelieving Husbands and the Wives Who Love Them and The Sheep That Got Away. Diane Fanstone is actively involved with her husband’s ministry. They have two children.
This is their first book together, which unfortunately, is no longer being published.
— ALSO —
Whether you have an unbelieving husband or an unbelieving wife, you can always take the pronouns in the following posted prayers and change them to fit the needs of the spouse you are praying for. And then even add some that come to mind as you are copying these.
An article you may benefit from reading and using to help you to pray for your unbelieving spouse, is found on the Familylife.com web site:
• 10 IDEAS: Praying for an Unbelieving Spouse
Here is a prayer that was formerly posted on the Internet, written by an “Everyday Mom.” She is praying for her unbelieving husband. We hope that you may find inspirational as you pray for your unbelieving spouse. (Change the pronouns if it applies.)
Here is Her Prayer for You to Pray:
“Father God, once again I come to you for guidance and help. It is my desire to have a husband who fears You, who walk in Your ways.
“Help my husband to see the truth of Your Word. Open up the eyes of his heart. Remove from him a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. I pray for your Holy Spirit to work on him on his life.
“Give him a sound mind and help him to be faithful to his marriage vows. Create in him a clean heart and renew a right spirit within him.
“I pray that he will shun the very thought of evil, impurity, pornography, adultery, perversion, unfaithfulness from his mind.
“Help him to take charge of his spirit and to resist temptation. May he abhor evil and cling to what is good.
“I pray that he will choose Godly friends and Godly counsels that can influence him in positive ways. Let him not be a man who is unteachable, Father.
“Surround him with Godly friends, I pray.
“I pray he can be a good and positive example for his young children. I pray that he can learn self control and be a father that is worthy of respect from his family. As he go out to provide for his family, I pray that you surround him with favor.
“I pray that you protect him from the devise of the wicked.
“Open up doors of opportunity for him Father and increase his working skills to be better in each passing day.
“Take foolishness his heart and enable him to quickly recognize error and avoid it.
“Open his eyes to clearly see the consequences of any negative behavior.
“Instruct him as he is sleeping and in the morning may his path follow Your guidance instead of his flesh. The wisdom of this world is foolishness to You Lord. May he not buy into it.
“Keep him as the apple of Your eye. Hide Him under the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8) Amen.”
And then here is something else that may help you in praying for your spouse.
• HOW TO PRAY FOR THE LOST
And lastly, this is something we posted in an article, written to those who love prodigals. This particular advice comes from the book, Parents in Pain, written by Dr John White.
Even though it deals with parenting issues, the following can be used in praying for any prodigal —a spouse, as well.
[Please note that I divided the advice into bullet points for your praying convenience.]:
- We may ask with every confidence that God will open the eyes of the morally and spiritually blind.
- We may ask that the self-deceptions which sinners hide behind may be burned away in the fierce light of truth,
- that dark caverns may be rent asunder to let the sunlight pour in,
- that self-disguises may be stripped from a man or woman to reveal the horror of their nakedness in the holy light of God.
- We may ask above all that the glory of the face of Christ will shine through the spiritual blindness caused by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4).
All of this we can asks with every assurance that God will not only hear but will delight to answer.
But we may not ask him to force a man, woman, or child to love and trust him.
But to Pray:
- To deliver them from overwhelming temptation: yes.
- To give them every opportunity: yes.
- Also, to reveal his beauty, his tenderness, his forgiveness: yes.
But to force a man against his will to bow the knee: not in this life. And to force a man to trust him: never.
Said another way, the Lord will not save a person against his will, but He has a thousand ways of making him more willing. Our prayers unleash the power of God in the life of another individual.
We have been granted the privilege of entering into intercessory prayer for our loved ones and of holding their names and faces before the Father.
In return, He makes the all-important choices crystal clear to that individual and brings positive influences into his or her life to maximize the probability of doing what is right. Beyond that, He will not go.
If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.