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Hagar's Prayer (2001)

for Voice, Trumpet, Piano

Amy Scurria

Text by Margaret Holley

Oh Lord, once more your mercy melts my heart!

Years ago, with this boy in my womb
And my mistress without child, I wounded her
With my new mother's joy, my thoughtless pride.
You found me hiding, lifted me with hope.

And now my son's high spirits have appeared
To mock her and the infant of her old age.
Cast out, we roamed the desert, mother and son,
Till he fell beside these rocks to die of thirst,

And I wept: "You are a strange and cruel god
To sow such strife, to leave us in such anguish.
No child deserves such torment, such a death!
His cries tear into me! Don't they move you?

Are you a god of stone, an empty name?
I could not sense the purpose in our pain.
Blind with desperation, anger fear,
I nearly failed to see your messenger.

Such an ordinary sight! Such a soft voice
Saying, "Woman, child, be comforted.
God hears you." Such angelic light
Glinting in the desert's hidden springs!

Now the water shines upon his lips,
Reviving him, reminding me again
Of the name you gave him.
Ishmael! "God hears!" Ishmael!

Lord, you've made our bitter banishment
Into a place of promise, an hour of hope.
Temper his young heart, I pray, and mine!
Make us worthy of your purposes!

Hear how the world weeps, Oh Lord!
And let our tears come to you as prayers.
Hear too our gratitude, our songs of joy.
For all the generations yet to come.

I prayer you, God of all, God of all!

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