Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prayer poem

Poetry may not be your thing, but this poem is special to me. Robert W.F. Archer (Bob) taught at Spurgeon's College, London when I was Principal. He was much loved. Indeed another colleague said: "He's the best Christian we've got...we have to look after him!" A gentle, thoughtful, immensely caring pastor-teacher, he also wrote poetry - some of which was published.

He claimed that one poem was inspired by a sermon he heard me preach on prayer. Because prayer has been so important in Calvary Church these past 40 days, let me repeat it:

I used to think that I must start my prayers,
Turn my thoughts undistractedly to God;
Give thanks, confess and tell him all my cares,
Get myself into the proper pious mood.

I talked too much and found the going hard,
Ran through the petitions like a shopping-list;
Felt sometimes that the door to God was barred,
Though I aimed at heaven's target, that I missed.

Then I heard it said that Jesus intercedes,
And that is what he lives and loves to do:
My prayers join his, who ever for me pleads,
Not self-starter but prayer-partner below....

Not quick to speak, but listening for a voice,
Preparing for a meeting with the Lord;
'Tis his desire to meet, if not my choice;
I pray, though I may utter not a word.

Sometimes I feel the Spirit moving in my heart
And sometimes that I'm very much alone;
But I know Christ and I will never part:
He bears my name before his Father's throne.

(From Thoughts for Today, edited Chris Walton, Peterborough: Triumph House, 1995, page 81).

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