you know my needs

One Sunday evening in the winter of 2013, I was walking through downtown Durham when I found a box labeled “prayer requests” sitting on a window sill outside a bank. Inside the box were hundreds of snippets of paper, prayers collected 12 years prior at a local church on the city’s east side. 

I have no idea how this box of prayers wound up where it did. Yet I seemed destined to find it, as I was headed to a protest but had the wrong address.

The prayers were so earnest and modest, asking for the most basic of human needs. I hope they were granted.

Inspired by the image of Tibetan prayer wheels, I assembled the scraps on canisters, so they can be turned and read.


My marriage
My mom
with stomach cancer

Cannot talk
Father stop
verbal abuse to family

Children car
Kidneys gout
Hair scalp shin
Bladder legs

Lord please give me
my drivers license back
Lord I need
a permanent ride
A job



five years in prison
life in prison

Bless Tony
Bless James
as he is in war
Bless me
with a husband

Please bring my sister 
Tiffany home safely
My son

having problems
with him
My son return

to Christianity
Healing from drugs
and alcohol

Pray for everyone
Homeless and
the whole world

God you know my needs


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