The most popular version of the "Cowboy's Prayer" begins, "Oh Lord, I've never lived where churches grow." It was written by Charles Badger Clark, a minister's son born in 1883. "A Cowboy's Prayer (Written for Mother)" by Clark was published in 1906.
"A Cowboy's Prayer" is featured in 'Sun and Saddle Leather', a collection of Clark's poems. Alluding to the cowboy lifestyle, Clark writes in his poem, "I'm no slave of whistle, clock or bell" and "Make me a pardner of the wind and sun, And I won't ask a life that's soft or high." Clark wrote this poem while he was spending time on a ranch in Tombstone, Arizona, according to Austin and Alta Fife.
Charles Badger Clark is an American poet nicknamed 'The Cowboy Poet', and he was most well-known for his poems "Lead by America," "Spanish is the Loving Tongue" (recorded by Bob Dylan in 1969), and "A Cowboy's Prayer." Sarah Palin quotes Clark's "A Cowboy's Prayer" in her second novel, "America by Heart," stating that it is one of the prayers that she likes to say.
South Dakota made Clark its poet laureate, and various magazines, such as Sunset Magazine, Arizona Highways, Century Magazine and Pacific Monthly, published his work.