Poetry and Prayers
Humble offerings from a heart reaching to God

I've never thought of myself as a poet but, as I give attention to my creative spirit, poetry is beginning to emerge from within. I offer a selection which may speak from my heart to yours. If my words connect with your soul, I invite you to leave a comment or to Email me

John 1:3-5

Author of all that is, all that lives,
Light that eliminates darkness,
shine into my life today.
Let your rays of light
create order out of chaos
and illumine your mercy in me.

Elizabeth de Smaele
September 2013

This is the first of a series of prayers after the gospel of John. See the whole series, as it develops (from September 2013)at Prayers to the Living Word.

Prayer for the New Year

Lord of the new year,
Of this new day,
Of mercies, new each morning,
Renew our hope,
Inspire our faith,
Refresh our love,
This day, each day,
As we trust in you.

Elizabeth de Smaele
January 2013

The Gift

Receive this day the work of my hands,
a sacrifice to You who gives me strength
Bring to life what lies dormant within,
deep and neglected through a winter stretched long

Awake my soul, awake from your slumber
Winter is past and the sun bids you live!

Feel its warmth, the beckon of spring
Respond to its call to rebirth
Send out a shoot, but tiny and tender
Reach through the darkness, though silent, unseen
Be nurtured each day with hope, with promise:
One seed to many, fruitful again

Awake my soul, respond to the voice
which calls you from slumber and promises life
Be present to listen, receive and respond
for the gift you've been given lives on!

Elizabeth de Smaele
October 2010
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Border Spaces

The edges of life create fertile opportunities for growth. As this truth began to settle into my soul, I took a walk in the woods close to my home, the Amsterdamsebos. As I contemplated the manmade borders and the rich soggy soil which they kept in place, some spiritual truths surfaced for me. This poem found its expression as a prayer of surrender. For the context, read my corresponding blog post.

Today I accept the invitation
To embrace the border spaces
Wander disconcerting places
For the growth of my soul

I choose to linger in this fertile ground
Explore the questions, hold the mystery
And wait. Senses engaged
As I resist the impulse to flee

I will tread the marsh of ambiguity
And squeeze the muck of uncertainty through my toes
Until mystery becomes familiar, even soothing
And the cool of its touch feels warm around my feet

Today I will open my eyes to the ground I tread
Aware of the cycle of life which has nourished it
Open my ears to the sounds of the air
Delight in the symphony sung for she who listens
Learn from the trees as they sing in the wind
Feel the Wind's touch on my skin, on my spirit
And sing

Elizabeth de Smaele
October 2010
Comment on this poem or Email me

Lament for Nickel Mines

I wrote this lament in response to the shooting of ten Amish girls in the schoolhouse of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in October 2006. I was in the middle of a course on prayer then, and the topic of lament had caught my attention. Giving myself permission to send my troubled questions heavenward helped me to sort through the raw emotions I experienced in the wake of this horrific event. I have learned to value lament is a means for turning our pain toward God and toward renewed hope.

Not again, Lord!
Violent gunman. Innocent children
Devastated loved ones
Faith stretched beyond belief
How long, O Lord, will evil reign?
Did you see when he bound them?
Quivering lips, pounding hearts
So innocent and sheltered
Lurched into a nightmare
Oh why did you not intervene?

Shaken, grief-stricken families
Traumatized boys and their teacher
Wishing they’d not been powerless
Lord, were you?

Father, you watched as your Son was slain
Surely your eyes are crying tonight
Jesus, you felt the pain of death
Bear it now for those left behind
Spirit, come comfort the broken
Come bind up the wounds
So deep, so wide, so irrepairable
Hold them tight in your unfailing love
Until the gaping wounds are closed
and the hearts have begun to heal

Give them hope that they will yet praise you
For you are Jehovah Rapha
God of compassion
With healing in your hands

Elizabeth de Smaele
02 October 2006

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Love That Binds

This prayer poem expresses the longing of my heart for deeper community in my local space. Written a few years ago, I see how God has faithfully met the needs which the poem expresses. Yet the longing remains. I'm a strong believer that longings are valuable and need to be listened to, and this, among my other poetry and prayers, expresses the need to go deeper in this vital realm of community.

Ribbon of Love which binds my heart
With hearts of precious many
Scattering the globe.
Your Spirit is not bound by place but
Weaves through time and space
A work of art.

Love Divine, a braid of three
Displays the weave of
Flawless community.
Entwine your love among your own
And urge us on to love as
You have shown.

Wise Gardener, cleanse and prune this branch
That grows too sparse
Upon the vine.
When new growth comes, entwine it with
Its counterparts
In living artistry.

Blessed Source, All-Sufficiency
Draw me to yourself
And satisfy.
Unencumbered then, my heart will
Tie a thing of beauty
In my vicinity.

Elizabeth de Smaele
01 March 2006

Comment on this poem or Email me

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Spiritual Refreshment

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