PRAYER the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods 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’ Almightie, sinner’s towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heave in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the stars heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices, something understood.
“Prayer (I)”, George Herbert (1593-1633)
in T. Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (2014, p.28)
Prayer. Something I so often take for granted. A few things for you to savour this weekend- take a moment to ponder, reflect, drink in the goodness of God and his grace in Jesus and allow these thoughts of Tim Keller’s to drive you to your knees and into conversation with God.
- “God’s breath in man returning to his birth” (Herbert, ibid).
- a natural human instinct.
- the deep rest of soul that we need.
- the source of strength and vitality.
- a nourishing friendship.
- “a kinde of tune” (Herbert, ibid) that tunes your heart to God.
- a tune others can hear besides you.
- a catalyst, changing those around us.
- a place of sensory overload, of exotic scents and tastes.
- a “milkie way” (Herbert, ibid), a place of marvels and wonders.
- the “heart in pilgrimage” (Herbert, ibid).
- a journey.
- a quiet “gladnesse” (Herbert, ibid) that keeps us going, just as the manna in the wilderness kept Israel moving toward its hope.
- “the soul in paraphrase” (Herbert, ibid).
- learning who you are before God and giving him your essence.
- knowing yourself as well as God.
- active- it changes things.
- a refuge.
- active- it changes us.
- an indescribable journey that can take us through the breadth, length, height, and depth of Christ’s saving love for us.
- awe, intimacy, struggle- yet the way to reality.
“There is nothing more important, or harder, or richer, or more life-altering. There is absolutely nothing so great as prayer.” (Tim Keller, 2014, p.32.)
Excerpts above paraphrased and quoted from Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. T. Keller, 2014, pp.28-32