The prayer chain had a list of requests
that grew longer and longer like the chain
of red and green paper circles we made
at Christmastime; a kindergarten room
encumbered with breakable loops.
How could we word each one differently
so God would stay interested?
We prayed dutifully for each needful
circumstance, fragile body, spirit.
If healed the prayer became praise,
in death God rested their souls.
He got credit for pleasant outcomes.
The others vanished from conversations
as if in His omniscience He'd put egg
on His own face by giving the wrong answer.
Yet, like Dorothy in her ruby slippers
the power always existed
in gifts of intellect, volition,
grace extended but not always taken
the chain of choices in a human lifetime.