George Herbert was a Welsh born poet and priest who spent much of his life as rector of a small parish in souther England. He is best known for his powerful and creative poems reflecting on all manner of theological issues. If you’ve ever gotten the impression that theology can only be done by writing stiff and formal theological treatises, Herbert is the best cure. And, since the anniversary of Herbert’s death is this week (March 1), I thought it appropriate to post one of his poems on prayer as our Prayer for Sunday.
……….OF what an easie quick accesse,
My blessed Lord, art thou ! how suddenly
……….May our requests thine eare invade !
To shew that state dislikes not easinesse,
If I but lift mine eyes, my suit is made :
Thou canst no more not heare, than thou canst die.
……….Of what supreme almightie power
Is thy great arm which spans the east and west,
……….And tacks the centre to the sphere !
By it do all things live their measur’d houre :
We cannot ask the thing, which is not there,
Blaming the shallownesse of our request.
……….Of what unmeasurable love
Art thou possest, who, when thou couldst not die,
……….Wert fain to take our flesh and curse,
And for our sakes in person sinne reprove ;
That by destroying that which ty’d thy purse,
Thou mightst make way for liberalitie !
……….Since then these three wait on thy throne,
Ease, Power, and Love ; I value prayer so,
……….That were I to leave all but one,
Wealth, fame, endowments, vertues, all should go ;
I and deare prayer would together dwell,
And quickly gain, for each inch lost, an ell.