Praying Cowboy

Cowboy, hat in hand, pausing in prayer. End of day… head bowed… asking for help or thanking the sweet Lord above?

This is an image I love.

I use it from time to time, to add to memes or blog posts, or tweets.


Because there is something intrinsically beautiful and downright appealing about a big, strong cowboy going down on his knees in humility.

Asking for help.

Begging, even.

It immediately begs the question “why”? What’s gone wrong? Why the supplication?

It’s funny that we don’t see this as normal. Like, oh, gosh, the cowboy stops by the ranch cross and prays every day.

Now he might. But like the rest of us, he might be so caught up in the daily give and take, back-and-forth, the rigors of running a ranch or a farm, of being a dad, a son, a husband, a boss, a worker…. he might get too darned busy to stop and think or pause and pray on a regular basis.

So why now?

Did he lose a calf and cow?

Did his wife leave him?

Did he lose a child to drugs?

Did he just hold his father’s hand as he breathed his last Western breath?

Is the ranch being foreclosed?

Is he dying?

Is he faced with a future he didn’t ask for and doesn’t want?

Is he praying for the birth of a healthy child?

Or is he mourning the loss of his wife?

The pose presents a realm of stories, and I’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg. Why here? Why now? And when he stands and sets that hat back on his head, what’s next?

What will he face?

Will he find rest? Food? Does he even care about food?

At this point an author begins to take the story in the direction he or she needs to go. What waits this man at home?

Motherless children? (You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille)

Bad cattle prices?

Overdue bills?

Now we need to leverage some hope into this realm of sad possibilities. We all know that things happen. Sadness and grief couple in life…

So this is where the reader needs to glimpse hope….

What would bring hope to this kind of scenario as that cowboy approaches his home?

I want you to decide. Tell me what kind of scene at home would make you sense a glimmer of hope. I’d love to hear your ideas… because we know I’ve got plenty of my own!





He gained a son but lost a wife five long years ago… and now his best friend has gone and left partial ownership of Pine Ridge Ranch to Heath… and Heath’s first love. Can he learn to forgive or at least overlook the past to save her uncle’s magnificent Idaho ranch?
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29 thoughts on “Praying Cowboy”

  1. Good morning Ruth- one thing comes to mind. What brings Hope, well it’s knowing we have Jesus and God in our corner, they listen to us no matter what our circumstances are and they are our hope. We don’t know what our future holds, but they do and as long as we continue to pray with and to them.. we can overcome anything.
    This was a beautiful blog.. thank you for sharing.
    Have a blessed day!
    Love: Tonya

    • Tonya, I’m so glad you stopped by!

      I see hope in so many things. Every day… and I see stories, too! It’s always good not to talk when I’m around because those overheard snippets become books. 🙂

      Faith, hope and love are a beautiful mainstay.

  2. Loved this blog Ruth and we all need Jesus even the strong cowboy thanks for sharing this I love the picture. Hope you have a blessed day

  3. Thank you for sharing your beautiful post, Ruthy. No matter what we are faced with in life, we have hope through Jesus Christ and we are never alone. To always be able to talk to God no matter what we are going through…that is a true blessing!

    • And how wonderful it is to share that joy, that faith. I think that’s why I’ve always had a problem with clutch-to-the-chest religions. If we’re called to be salt and light, then blocking people or living separate from them isn’t what we’re asked to do, is it?

      I’ve always enjoyed studying the Amish life choices, the good and the bad, but I’ve realized through that I’m not a fan of separatist mentality.

  4. As the cowboy approaches home a peace that passeth all understanding settles upon him. He sees his ranch and home then the door opens and his sweet beautiful wife walks out the door. Waiting for him with a love he’s never felt from another person. He’s prayed to his Heavenly Father, a peace has settled over him and he rides home to his wife. As long as the cowboy stays close to God he’ll always be watch over by our Father in Heaven and be there for the cowboy and his wife. When life, sin or hardships arise again he knows who to go to.

    • Oh, Pam, that’s lovely. You have such a kind heart because I was painting much grimmer pictures for the poor fellow!

      And of course people fall away. They get angry. Disenchanted. Lose faith.

      Then I get to write stories about finding our way back. Reconnecting. The prodigals. The women at the well…. the woman in the street, about to be stoned. I love rediscovering the happy ending.

  5. Ruthy, love the idea of ANY tough man seeking the Lord in prayer, but especially Western men because it takes a lot to break them. Good post as always.
    Kathy Bailey
    whom you know more regularly as “Kaybee”

    • Hey, Kathy! I know you both ways and I’m so happy for your success!

      I know, there’s something poignant about a man seeking help.

      Not as SURPRISING as a man admitting he’s wrong or in need of directions, of course!

      Ay yi yi.

  6. Ruthy the book sounds so great! And I can’t wait for it to come out! And what a great picture and your questions just touched me in such a tender spot. We actually have a neighbor with three big crosses on a high hill.

    Psalm 121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

    • Connealy, I remember seeing those three crosses on the hill when I was there, annoying you! I think I need to do that here, I would love it… and that symbol of redemption.

      I’m having so much fun with this Western series, Mary… two books and a novella complete and accepted and the first one comes out in two months or so… so that means I’ve got the handle on the series feel as I go into books 3 and 4 and that makes me so happy! 🙂

      I love your tender spots, my friend. You’ve got such a good heart.

  7. Perfect post for the National Day of Prayer! Indeed there are many times I find myself on my knees during struggles. This is a perfect picture as a reminder to pray!

    • Oh, Susan, so true! I didn’t even think of that when I put this together. I thought of how blessed we are to have faith, and how that image of a man, humbled, praying just makes me think…. and feel.

  8. I think as he approaches home he see that everything is in good shape and he had nothing to worry about. Thanks for sharing.

  9. RUTHY, I love this post! When we get a revelation of the goodness of God, we are able to trust Him and know “that He works in ALL things for our good and His glory”! Blessings and ((((HUGS))))

  10. It is interesting looking “behind the scenes” to where and how an author gets their ideas for the stories they write. What ever triggers the creativity, we, the readers, appreciate it.

    • Patricia, that’s so true. Sometimes one spoken line triggers an idea… and sometimes I’ll have bits of this and that and all of a sudden one more fragment comes in and I see a book. It’s a gift I cherish!

  11. Ruth, it’s a beautiful, iconic picture, and as you said and others commented, it is such an open-ended image. So evocative, yet powerful, yet simple. Lovely image to give everyone hope!

    • Hebby, I love your name! And that’s exactly why I bought the image two or three years ago, because it simply speaks to heart of the viewer. And hope… hope is so essential to our peace of mind.

    • This cowboy code is why I love writing about cowboys. I love writing military men and farmers and construction guys (think Mike Rowe or Chip Gaines) and cops, too…. Blue collar heroes appeal to me and to my readers! Because they’re so delightfully normal… and smokin’ hot! 🙂

  12. As he sees his cabin after a long day working the cattke he thinks he sees a faint glimmer if light in the window. His heart skips a beat and then qickens because this can only be one thing. She didn’t leave after all. She decided to stay with him in this hot, dry, dusty land. “Thank you Lord! I ask you for so much and I can’t forget to thank you.” And then, as he gallops to his cabin, to his love, he feels something on his face. Another drop! And then, a full face if water! ” Thank you Jesus!” The much needed rain has arrived!

  13. It’s a beautiful picture and doesn’t even need words. I think there isn’t anything more touching or beautiful then seeing a big man bow down to his Savior in prayer. I would say that approaching home he sees just what he has before him, his family waiting for him. He knows he needs to thank Jesus and tell him how grateful he is.

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