Melannie Svoboda is a Sister of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio, and author of When the Rain Speaks, When the Moon Slips Away, and other books from Twenty-Third Publications. She currently writes, directs retreats, and gives talks. In her introduction to this devotional work, she says:

"Poetry is a lot like prayer. Prayer is a lot like poetry. First, they both arise from a deep attentiveness to life — whether to a rose, a grain of sand, a baby's laugh, a particular hurt, an interior joy or dread. Both poetry and prayer tend to displace the logical and rational in favor of metaphor and feeling. They both have the uncanny ability to put us into the presence of the universal and eternal, thus connecting us with others, with nature, and with the entire world."

Here you will find 57 prayer-poems, alphabetized by title, on friendship, love, hatred, war, fear, hope, change, grief, and death. Others relate to ordinary and universal experiences, while the rest are grounded in Scriptural incidents. Each prayer-poem also includes a commentary on the genesis of the piece; reflection questions; suggested Biblical passages; and an activity for prayer and play.

Among our favorites are prayer-poems on a baggage claim and traveling light; on God's creativity in the creation of a camel; on the cuteness of sparrows and their violent behavior; on asking God to dote on me today; on fear as a highly skilled predator; on hope not being afraid to stand out in the rain; on a poem as something you let out; and on moving beyond the worship of speed. Svoboda savors creativity and the ways in which God speaks to us through the everyday and the ordinary. Her books are always so down to earth and hopeful. Just Because hits the mark on both scores and snuggles up next to our hearts.