“The imagination is a wonderful if much-neglected resource. It is that place in the soul where mind, heart, and conscience, most fruitfully overlap to enhance, enrich, and enlarge each other.
“When our imaginations are functioning as God intends, they can open the windows of refreshment into our souls, so that we think bigger and more clearly and excitedly; we feel with more urgency and delight; and we establish new priorities and values.
“Poetry stretches the imagination by inviting it on to familiar ground and then changing the nature of that ground, right under our feet. Images, metaphors, rhyme, rhythm, and in an agreeable form can lead us, through our imaginations, into seeing familiar things in new and exciting ways.”
“Prayer fixes the focus of our minds on unchanging spiritual realities. Prayer engages our imaginations—what Paul calls ‘the eyes of your understanding’—with visions of unseen glories and wonders. …
“At the same time, as we gaze in prayer upon the beauty of Christ, and commune with Him in His glory, we find that our hearts are enlarged in love for the Lord. The sheer beauty, majesty, and immensity of God can suck the breath out of us and fill us with the Spirit of the Lord at the same time. Lesser things lose their thrall as we drink in the vision of Christ and pour out heartfelt words of worship, adoration, and praise. These, in turn, exercise our heart in love for the Lord, just as our physical muscles are exercised during a workout.”
“We feed our souls in prayer when, having entered His presence, we fill our minds with the vision of His glory, our hearts with the joy and pleasure of His presence, and our wills with iron resolve to serve this glorious God at every moment.”
“Even now, as the Apostle Paul indicates [2 Corinthians 4:6], we who feast at the banquet table of prayer can glimpse the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and know daily revival and renewal in His grace.”
“Prayer brings us from earth to heaven, and then brings heaven to earth in our transformed souls and renewed commitments for the day ahead.”
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Wow, talk about a win-win for me: The Poetry Of Prayer combines one of my go-to theologians (T.M. Moore) with one of my favorite poets (George Herbert)! In another win, this book opens up a new richness for a Christian’s prayer life.
George Herbert’s poems hold a unique place in the world of literature[*]. Of the 167 poems in the collection of his poems called The Temple, 116 of them are written with meters that are not repeated. In several instances, Herbert created meters that no poet had used before. In his poem “Poetry (1),” Herbert leans into his poetic prowess to try to capture adequate descriptions of prayer.
T.M. Moore thinks deeply and writes clearly about how Christians should be saturated in the Bible and prayer. In The Poetry Of Prayer he dissects Herbert’s poem phrase by phrase and invites us to see the awesome potential in prayer that far too often goes untapped.
In each chapter, Moore helps us examine each of Herbert’s poetic phrases, explore the scriptural references that apply, and consider some “next steps” for applying these principles to our personal prayer time. As you progress through the book, Herbert’s poem takes on deeper and richer meaning so that you should become enthralled with cultivating your own rich prayer time.
I cannot recommend this book to you strongly enough—a true gem in developing a greater appreciation for the intimacy and power in prayer.
This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.
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Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment will return to righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it. (Psalm 94:12-15)
First, I will ask you to notice that God’s children are under instruction. Other children may run about and take holiday. They may wander into the woods, gather the flowers, and do very much what they like, but God’s own children have to go to school. This is a great privilege for them, although they do not always think so. Children are not often good judges of what is best for themselves. …
Some of us have learned much from the Lord’s chastening rod! For instance, we have learned the evil of sin. ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word’ (Psalm 119:67). … Do we not also learn by affliction our own frailty and our own impatience? We are wonderfully patient when we have nothing to suffer, and we are all great heroes and very courageous when there is no fighting to be done. …
Do we not, then, learn also the value of prayer? … Do we ever pray in such dead earnest as when everything seems to be sinking from under our feet and our sweetest cups are full of bitterness? … And then how precious the promises become! As we only see the stars when the shadows gather at night, so the promises shine out like newly kindled stars when we get into the night of affliction! …
And, oh, dear friends, how should we ever know the faithfulness of God if it were not for affliction? We might talk about it and theoretically understand it, but to try to prove the greatness of Jehovah’s love and the absolute certainty of His eternal faithfulness—this comes not except by the way of affliction and trial! …
O Lord, still use the rod if You see that it is necessary. But go on teaching us out of Your Word! We are slow to learn and poor scholars at best, but You may yet make something of us.