Build me a son, O Lord, who’ll be strong enough to know
When he is weak, and knows enough to face himself when he’s afraid;
Who’ll be proud and unbending in honest defeat,
And humble and gentle in victory.
Build me a son whose wishbone
Will not be where his backbone should be;
A son who will know Thee and know himself
As the foundation stone of knowledge.
Lead him, I pray not in the path of ease and comfort,
But under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge;
Here let him learn to stand up in the storm,
Here let him learn compassion for those who fall.
Build me a son whose heart will be clear and whose goal will be high,
A son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men;
One who will learn to laugh, yet not forget to weep,
One who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these are his, add I pray,
Enough of a sense of humor,
So that he may always be serious,
Yet never take himself too seriously.
Give him humility so that he may always remember
The simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom,
And the meekness of true strength;
Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’
A poem given to Leonard Ravenhill by his father at age 19.
From the biography In Light of Eternity by Mack Tomlinson pg. 129-130