Fifty years & other poems
James Weldon Johnson

ANSWER TO PRAYER

Der ain't no use in sayin' de Lawd won't answer prah;
If you knows how to ax Him, I knows He's bound to heah.
De trouble is, some people don't ax de proper way,
Den w'en dey git's no answer dey doubts de use to pray.
You got to use egzac'ly de 'spressions an' de words
To show dat 'tween yo' faith an' works, you 'pends on works two-thirds.
Now, one time I remember — jes how long I won't say—
I thought I'd like a turkey to eat on Chris'mus day.
Fu' weeks I dreamed 'bout turkeys, a-struttin' in der pride;
But seed no way to get one — widout de Lawd pervide.
An' so I went to prayin', I pray'd wid all my might;
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"Lawd, sen' to me a turkey." I pray'd bofe day an' night.
"Lawd, sen' to me a turkey, a big one if you please."
I 'clar to heaben I pray'd so much I mos' wore out ma knees.
I pray'd dat prah so often, I pray'd dat prah so long,
Yet didn't git no turkey, I know'd 'twas sump'n wrong.
So on de night 'fore Chris'mus w'en I got down to pray,
"Lawd, sen' me to a turkey," I had de sense to say.
"Lawd, sen' me to a turkey." I know dat prah was right,
An' it was sholy answer'd; I got de bird dat night.