“Reversed Thunder”

Let me introduce you to my favorite English poet, George Herbert (1593-1633). He was a Welshman born to wealth and nobility but preferred to serve the Lord as a pastor in the English countryside. His poetic efforts were kept private until his friend published them after his death. Early on, he dedicated his poetic skill to the aim of worshipping God. This poem, titled Prayer I, is an excellent example of his poetic reflection on the wonders of prayer. Pay careful attention to the many beautiful ways he describes our conversing with the living God.


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 heaven and earth 

Engine against the Almighty, sinner’s tower, 

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 dressed, 

The milky way, the bird of Paradise, 

Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood, 

The land of spices; something understood. 


Pastor Mike