How Do You Say Your Prayers?

How Do You Say Your Prayers?

A man named John Ruskin discovered that some shepherds in the Alps mountains have a most beautiful way of saying their prayers each still night. If I tell you about them, perhaps you will think of them when you kneel down beside your bed and say your prayers tonight.

Though it seems strange to us to hear of shepherds on mountains as high as the Alps, it does not seem strange to these strong and wise shepherds that they should lead their sheep up the steep trails to soft pastures. They are kind and careful men, who guide their sheep in safety up the dangerous paths to upland fields, where the grass is green and luscious and where even higher up roses and edelweiss bloom through the snow.

You may be sure it is very quiet and lonely, so high on these mountain pastures, where the shepherd stands guarding his flock. In these beautiful fields the air is pure and the silence deep. The flowers, the stars, and the great mountains are friends together. These shepherds, who live out-of-doors so much alone, learn to love God and all his beautiful world. By the tender care of their sheep they remind us of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who cares for us all.

And when John Ruskin visited these shepherds he discovered their own beautiful way of saying their prayers each still night.

When the sun is setting behind the lofty mountains the snow-covered peaks turn into glistening colors of bright rose, velvet purple, and yellow gold. Slowly the bright colors grow pale and fade as the day is dying. Just then the shepherd who is highest up on the mountain takes his horn from his belt, stands out on a rock, and putting his horn to his lips, blows, with all his strength, a short musical call. It is the music that says, "Glory be to God," and it floats far and wide, borne on the wings of the clear, pure air, down the mountain, into the valley below and across the eternal stillness.

In the next pasture below on the steep mountainside, the nearest shepherd rouses from his reverie as his ears catch the floating notes of the golden music saying, "Glory be to God." He, too, walks across his pasture to the edge of the mountain side looking down the valley, and standing upon a high rock, puts his horn to his lips and repeats the notes of the musical call to prayer which he has just heard coming down to him from above. "Glory be to God," he blows on his horn, sending the music forth upon the mountain air and letting it float downward slowly to the nearest shepherd in the pasture below.

In the rosy twilight and through the gathering nightfall each shepherd, who hears the call to prayer from afar, repeats the music upon his own horn until, says John Ruskin, all the shepherds across a hundred miles of mountains have heard and answered the call, "Glory be to God."

So I like to think that when the great sun sets in the west, turning the sky to red and gold, and the shadows creep up toward the night, and Mother calls us to go to bed, that we too hear a call from the Great Shepherd who is highest up on the mountain, and we fall on our knees to give thanks and glory to God, our Maker and kind heavenly Father.

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