Down Nature's Paths


"Pray Without Ceasing"

THE DEPARTING guests were saying a sectional good-by. Little Miss Three-Years-Old occupied the waiting time in running close circles on the grass until she tumbled in a heap of ecstatic dizziness. Her joy was unconfined until mother noticed her and said sharply, "Stop that!" Little Miss obeyed, but the joy drained out of her. I thought, "Oh, mother, let her rejoice in her youth. She's doing no harm, exploring her entrancing powers. Don't be taking the joy out of her life, when her recreations are innocent, and you don't provide something else."

To the child I said, "Come on! Let's run in a straight line." Instantly joy returned to her downcast face. Together we ran to the edge of the yard. Together we sat down in a sudden plop. Then we looked around for the next number on the program.

"Oh! Oh!" she shouted. "Little leaves pwaying!" Yes, a big clump of clover leaves near us were going to sleep in the on-coming dusk, each one in the attitude of babyhood at mother's knee in every Christian home: the two lower leaflets folded together like little hands at prayer, and the third leaflet bent down like a reverent head. "Little leaves pwaying!" repeated the baby softly, looking wonderingly from me to the clover clump.

"Yes, darling," I said, "the little leaves are praying. They are going to bed. They worked and played all day. Now they are sleepy. They go to bed early. They don't fuss, and they never forget to pray."

"Little leaves work like daddy?" she asked.

"No, honey. Little leaves stay in one place, where Jesus made them grow. They work by breathing in fresh air and sunshine. They play by waving back and forth in the wind. They go to sleep like this. When the sun comes back in the morning, they will wake up."

Baby looked meditatively at the sleeping clover leaves. The radiance of a new thought flowed over her.

"Little leaves pway while they sleep. Little leaves pway always!"

Later as I bowed beside my bed, I prayed the baby's "pwayer": "Lord, keep me as faithful as the clover leaves."

The clovers look at God all day;

Then fold their rounded hands to pray

When evening comes;

And bend their heads

And sleep upon their earthy beds.

So lift I up my heart all day

To Thee, above my toilsome way.

When evening comes,

I gladly bend my weary head

To rest on angel-guarded bed.