Saturday, August 22, 2009

Prayer Roll

Several weeks ago, as I was leaving the Provo Temple, three women caught my eye. Still dressed in their temple clothes, they were standing at a table, writing names for the temple prayer roll [801-375-5775]. For some reason, I had trouble tearing myself away from the scene. The way they looked that night and the Spirit that hung around them has remained with me since then, and inspired this poem.

Prayer Roll

Had it been allowed
I would have snapped their picture
Buttoned it in my wallet
And taken it out when I needed comfort
The comfort of an eternity of women like me
Supplicating the God of the ages
Their lips murmuring the words
Like an ancient incantation

It was a common scene there
And should scarcely have warranted my notice
As I hurried past them into the fading light
Three women, their dark hair veiled in white
And their thoughts in mystery
Bent over their papers
Scrawling the name of one whose heart
Was joined to theirs in love
Dropping each slip into the box
And with it, a tiny prayer
Her heart’s whisper
Please, Father
Bless comfort heal restore defend uplift
Give life

I did not know each soul for whom they pleaded
But for many like them I had interceded
And at an altar sacrificed my will
Moments before

Had it been enough
To bless the lives of those I never knew
To call down angels to surround our circle?
To get the attention of Their Infinity
Enough to send down Heaven’s dew
And fill the water-pots we carried to our homes?

I could not know
But in my heart I stood beside these women
Reminded by their quiet green and white
Of the sorrows that must come
From the knowledge our first mother chose
And of the power they held within,
An eternal currency.

I saw them stand in ranks ten thousand long
Ten thousand times ten thousand, through the years
With women in all lands, they stood to pray
And pierced the clouds with their silent cries
Pleading for the ones they loved
As their mothers had, their grandmothers,
And back and back and back
I stood and saw their white-robed figures
Disappearing behind a thinning veil to converse
With the Ones who heard them ever.
And, watching, knew
I stood on holy ground.

Image from


  1. I didn't know you wrote poetry! This is beautiful; so much to think about, but especially the feeling that lingers after the reading. And I love the simple, stunning picture. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amy this is a lovely message. I thank you for the images of holiness your words supply.

  3. My brother was in the hospital, the doctors had told us his alcohol addiction would likely kill him, we needed to prepare ourselves. Helpless there was nothing anyone could do. A friend called for me at the hospital, she had added my brothers name to the temple prayer roll, ahh there was something someone could do, and at that moment it was exactly what I needed.

  4. This came up when i was searching for the prayer roll number to put my grandmother's name on.

    Thank you. Your words are comfort to me.

  5. Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your talent.

  6. This is absolutely wonderful and I'm so glad I found it. I may use it when I teach Relief Society the first Sunday of February—it fits beautifully what I've been feeling I should prepare. I will direct all interested hearers to your blog. I love your profile description too—it made me laugh, and made me wish I could know you in person... although unlike you I do love walking on the beach. ; ) Many thanks. ~Geo

  7. Thanks, Geo! You're so sweet.