faber on prayer.

Here’s a poem on prayer. It was the first that i alighted upon in the book The Christian Book of Mystical Verse, compiled by Tozer. You should read it carefully, and with a comtemplative spirit and feeling of need. Listen to what Faber writes:

Ah dearest Lord, I cannot pray,

My fancy is not free;

Unmannerly distractions come,

And force my thoughts from Thee


The world that looks so dull all day,

Glows bright on me in prayer,

And plans that ask no thought but then,

Wake up and meet me there.


All nature one full fountain seems,

Of dreamy sight and sound,

Which, when I kneel breaks up its deeps,

And makes a deluge round.


Old voices murmer in my ear,

New hopes start to life,

And past and future gaily blend,

In one bewitching strife.


My very flesh has restless fits,

My changeful limbs conspire,

With all these phantoms of the mind,

My inner self to tire.


I cannot pray, yet Lord, Thou knowest

The pain it is to me,

To have my vainly struggling thoughts
Thus torn away from Thee.

Sweet Jesus! teach me how to prize

These tedious hours when I

Foolish and mute before Thy face,

In helpless worship lie.


Prayer was not meant for luxery,

Or selfish pastime sweet;

It is the prostrate creature’s place

At his Creator’s feet.


Had I, Dear Lord! no pleasure found,

But in the thought of Thee,

Prayer would have come unsought, and been

A truer liberty.


Yet Thou art oft most present Lord

In weak distracted prayer:

A sinner out of heart with self

Most often finds Thee there.


For prayer that humbles sets the soul

From all illusions free,

And teaches it how utterly,

Dear Lord! it hangs on Thee.


The heart that on self-sacrifice

Is covetously bent, 

Will bless Thy chastening hand that makes

Its prayer its punishment.


My Saviour! why should I complain?

And why fear aught but sin?

Distractions are but outward things;

Thy peace dwells far within.


These surface troubles come and go,

 Like rufflings of the sea;

The deeper depth is out of reach,

To all, my God, but Thee. 

Fredrick William Faber

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