Tommy's Prayer ~ Anchored In Him

In a dark and dismal alley,
where the sunshine never came,
dwelt a little lad named Tommy;
sickly, delicate and lame,
he had never yet been healthy,
since the day that he was born,
dragging out his weak existence,
well nigh hopeless and forlorn.

He was six, was little Tommy,
it was just five years ago,
since his drunken mother dropped him;
and the baby was crippled so.
he had never known the comfort,
of a mothers gentle tender touch,
but her cruel blows and curses,
made his grief still worse to bear.

There he lay within the cellar,
from the morning till the night,
starved, neglected, cursed, ill-treated;
naught to make his dull life bright,
not a single friend to love him,
not a single thing to love,
for he knew not of a Savior
or a heaven up above.

T'was a quiet summer evening,
and the alley too was still
Tommy's little heart was sinking,
and he felt so lonely till
floating up the quiet alley,
wafted inward from the street,
came the sound of someone singing
singing oh, so clear and sweet.

Quietly did Tommy listen,
as the singer nearer came,
oh that he could see the singer,
how he wished he wasn't lame;
so he called and shouted loudly'
till the singer heard the sound,
and on noting whence it issued
soon the little cripple found.

T'was a maiden, rough and rugged,
hair uncombed and naked feet,
all her garments torn and ragged
her appearance far from neat.
"So you called me" said the maiden,
"Wonder what you want with me,
most folks call me 'Singing Jessie'
what may your name chance to be?"

"My name's Tommy, I'm a cripple,
and I want to hear you sing;
for it makes me feel so happy
sing me something, anything."
Jessie laughed and answered, smiling.
"I can't stay here very long,
but I'll sing a song to please you,
which I call the glory song."

Then she sang to him of heaven,
pearly gates and streets of gold;
where the happy angel children,
are not starved or nipped with cold,
but where happiness and gladness,
never can decrease nor end,
and where kind and loving Jesus,
is their sovereign and their friend.

Oh! how Tommy's eyes did glisten,
as he drank in every word,
as it fell from singing Jessie,
was it true what he had heard?
and so anxiously he asked her
"is there really such a place?"
and a tear began to trickle
down his pallid little face.

"Tommy you're a little heathen.
Why it's up beyond the sky,
and if you will love the Savior,
you will go there when you die."
then said Tommy " Tell me Jessie,
how can I the Savior love,
when I'm down in this 'ere cellar,
and He's up in heaven above ?"

So the little ragged maiden,
who had heard at Sunday School
all about the way to heaven
and the Christian Golden Rule,
taught the little crippled Tommy,
how to love and how to pray,
sang a song to him of Jesus,
kissed his cheek and went away.

Tommy lay within the cellar,
which had grown so dark and cold,
thanking of the little children
in the streets of shining gold,
but he hated not the Darkness
of that black and chilly room,
for the joy of Tommy's bosom,
could despise the darkest gloom.

"Oh! if I could only see them,"
thought the cripple as he lay.
Jessie said that Jesus listens,
so I think I'll try and pray.
so he put his hands together;
and he closed his little eyes,
and in accents weak yet earnest
sent his message to the skies.

"Gentle Jesus, please forgive me,
for I never knew before,
that you cared for crippled children,
that are weak and very poor;
but I never heard of heaven,
till that Jessie came today,
and she told me all about it,
so I want to try to pray."

"You can see me, can't you Jesus,
Jessie told me that you could,
and I almost must believe it,
for it seems so kind and good
and she told me if I love you,
I should see you if I die,
in that bright and happy heaven,
that is up beyond the sky."

"Lord I'm only just a cripple,
and of no use here below,
for I heard my mother whisper,
she'd be glad if I could go;
and I'm cold and hungry sometimes,
and I feel so lonely too;
can't you take me, gentle Jesus,
up to heaven along with you?"

"Oh I'd be so good and patient,
and I'd never cry or fret
and your kindness to me Jesus,
I would surely not forget
I would love you all I knew of,
and would never make a noise;
can't you find me just a corner
where I'd watch the other boys?"

"Oh I think you'll do it Jesus,
something seems to tell me so
for I feel so glad and happy,
and I do so want to go;
how I do so long to see you,
you and all the children bright !
come and fetch me home tonight."

Tommy ceased his supplication,
he had told his soul's desire;
and he waited for the answer,
till his head began to tire;
then he turned towards the corner,
and he cuddled in a heap,
and he closed his eyes so gently,
and he was quickly fast asleep.

Oh I wish that every scoffer
could have seen that childish face
as he lay there in the cellar
in that damp and noisome place;
for his countenance was shining
like an angel fair and bright,
and it seemed to fill the cellar
with a holy heavenly light.

He had only heard of Jesus
from a ragged singing girl,
he might well have wondered, pondered
till his brain began to whirl;
but he took it as she told it,
and believed it then and there,
simply trusting in the Savior,
and his kind and loving care.

In the morning when the mother
came to wake her crippled boy,
she discovered that his features
were a look of sweetest joy:
then she shook him somewhat roughly,
but the crippled face was cold,
he had gone to join the children
in the streets of shining gold.

Tommy's prayer had soon been answered,
and the Angel of Death had come
to remove him from the cellar,
to his bright and heavenly home,
where sweet comfort, joy and
GLADNESS never can decrease or end,
and where Jesus reigns eternal,
as his Sovereign and his Friend . . . . .

John F. Nichols
English Poet

This poem by John F. Nichols was found in
the Bible of a 93 year old man, printed
on a yellowed stained leaflet at the
bottom of the leaflet it stated:
Distributed by Menno D. Sell
Laytonsville, Md. 20760

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