A Poem: Prayer (I) by George Herbert

After reading Rae’s post recently of Adam Clarke’s description of God, I wanted to share this poem with you. I came across it while reading Timothy Keller’s book called ‘Prayer’.

I have been meditating on, reading about and guiding Devotion Circles on the topic of prayer for a few months. I find myself wanting to understand prayer and enter into prayer in a deeper way. It is such an intimate topic, so straightforward in some ways (‘Just talking to God’) but I also find it definition-defying and mysterious.

Here is George Herbert’s ‘Prayer (I)’:

Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,

God's breath in man returning to his birth,

The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,

The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth

Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,

Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,

The six-days world transposing in an hour,

A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,

Exalted manna, gladness of the best,

Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,

The milky way, the bird of Paradise,

Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,

The land of spices; something understood.

Some phrases resonate with me so strongly… heart in pilgrimage, Reversed thunder and The land of spices particularly.

How about you? Does anything in this poem echo how you feel or have felt about prayer? What is prayer to you?


(A post by Ro)