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Prayer and its Metaphors

“To pray is to let Jesus glorify his name in the midst of our needs.”

—O. Hallesby

Dear church family,

In our last class of Adult Sunday School (all are invited, 9:30 AM, at The Cotillion), we discussed prayer by looking at Luke 11:1-2 and reading through a poem entitled Prayer by George Herbert (1593-1633). Herbert was a priest in the Church of England. He lived in an age of controversy and contention but was a man who sought peace. His first biographer, Nicholas Ferrar, captured Herbert’s spirit of devotion, “In several of his letters he tells of being sick, restricted to a very careful (and expensive) diet, and too weak to fulfill his daily duties. ‘I alwaies fear’d sickness more than death,’ he wrote to his mother, ‘because sickness has made me unable to perform those Offices for which I came into the world.’” Herbert’s devotion overflowed into his poetry and he produced many gems, including the following poem about prayer:


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.

As you read this poem about prayer, were there any of these metaphors that resonated with you? How is prayer a “land of spices?” In what way is it “heaven in ordinary?” I want to invite you, dear reader, to join us for Sunday School this Sunday and share, if you would like. Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday. D. V.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dale