Manvotional: More Light and Less Noise

by Brett & Kate McKay on April 9, 2011 · 11 comments

in A Man's Life, Manvotionals

From Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories, 1900

The President was bothered to death by those persons who boisterously demanded that the War be pushed vigorously; also, those who shouted their advice and opinions into his weary ears, but who never suggested anything practical. These fellows were not in the army, nor did they ever take any interest, in a personal way, in military matters, except when engaged in dodging drafts.

“That reminds me,” remarked Mr. Lincoln one day, “of a farmer who lost his way on the Western frontier. Night came on, and the embarrassments of his position were increased by a furious tempest which suddenly burst upon him. To add to his discomfort, his horse had given out, leaving him exposed to all the dangers of the pitiless storm.

“The peals of thunder were terrific, the frequent flashes of lightning affording the only guide on the road as he resolutely trudged onward, leading his jaded steed. The earth seemed fairly to tremble beneath him in the war of elements. One bolt threw him suddenly upon his knees.

“Our traveler was not a prayerful man, but finding himself involuntarily brought to an attitude of devotion, he addressed himself to the Throne of Grace in the following prayer for his deliverance:

“‘O God! hear my prayer this time, for Thou knowest it is not often that I call upon Thee. And, O Lord! if it is all the same to Thee, give us a little more light and a little less noise.’

“I wish,” the President said, sadly, “there was a stronger disposition manifested on the part of our civilian warriors to unite in suppressing the rebellion, and a little less noise as to how and by whom the chief executive office shall be administered.”

A maxim that applies far beyond politics…

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bill April 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

A Presidential STFU

2 Michael Lupia April 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm

For his brilliant use of rhetoric and style, President Lincoln was one of a kind. Thanks for sharing.

3 Vaughn Griffeth April 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm

A great story! I had actually never heard that one before, and I’ll have to find the book that it came from now.

4 Strong Man April 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

This is beautiful and powerful. You’re right about the tremendous application beyond politics.

In my blog, I’m trying to always be mindful of that concept–to share very practical ideas without whining about overall social movements like feminism that I cannot control.

For men, quite often, we’ll just have to walk through the storm and put up with and ignore and not be afraid of all the noise, and use the light to guide us. There will continue to be plenty of noise, but moaning about it won’t help us.

5 Kenneth April 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I firmly believe in not criticzing our elected officials, unless I am willing to do something to make changes.

6 Felix April 10, 2011 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece of advice!

7 Justin April 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm
8 K. April 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

You can get this…and lots of other old books…for FREE on Project Gutenburg. Or check out the FREE audio versions of older books on a site like

just thought I’d let you all know about it. They legally post books with expired copyrights. It’s of particular use for many of the topics on AoM.

9 Rob April 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Classic example of too many chiefs and not enough warriors. Our society has given too much emphasis on peoples right to whine and complain without having to come up with any resolutions themselves. Our society has become an empire of weaklings scared of confrontation. I live in southern California where this is most prevalent. I work with many people who embody this very idea. They are always quick to criticize but never actually stand up and say anything. I am often confused with being an asshole simply because I have stood up against our upper administration and have been accused of being cocky and arrogant simply due to the fact that I tell them how it is and sometimes the truth hurts. I can assure you that I am neither cocky nor arrogant but simply respect myself enough to not be trampled upon simply because I am a field level employee.
In correlation to politics, many people who do not vote always feel free to complain about the outcome. Just like those who complain about police officers are the first to call 911. President Lincoln was one of the greatest leaders to have ever served this country and we have all drawn a valuable lesson from the time of his presidency. “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”-Abraham Lincoln

10 Steve April 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

The first comment seemed to sum up pretty nicely. Pretty much a really fanciful way for Lincoln to say “STFU and stop trying to tell me how to do my job.”
Not sure if that’s really something to live by, but certainly interesting.

11 Jameson April 25, 2011 at 12:46 am

the “throne of grace”….shoot, we really don’t hear it referred to like that in such a respectful and powerful way anymore do we? the “throne of grace”. man, that is a powerful phrase

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