Prayer (Poetics of Meaning) – A Maundy Thursday Devotion

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable name, murmuring Thou;
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Meanings, I know, that cannot be the thing thou art.
All prayers always, taken at their word, blaspheme,
Invoking with frail imageries a folk-lore dream;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To senseless idols, if thou take them at their word,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
One that is not (so saith that old rebuke) unless
Thou, of mere grace, appropriate, and to thee divert
Men’s arrows, all at hazard aimed, beyond desert.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense, but in thy great,
Unbroken speech, our halting metaphor translate.

C. S. Lewis, “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” The Timeless Writings of C. S. Lewis
(New York: Inspirational Press, 2003), p. 109.


May our prayers never be answered in the subtleties of our self-deceit, but according to the glorious and super-abounding faithfulness of Your Son and Your Spirit by whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” May the Spirit-groans that longingly beckon for Your sons and daughters to be revealed with Your glory and receive their inheritance be heard. Cleanse our lips and make us clean. We wash our hands, He washes our feet, but who can cleanse our hearts? Who can give us a mind like Yours? Who can make our confessions better than our intentions, better than our stammering and inverted lifeless words?

Hear our prayers, oh Lord, because You hear His prayers and sanctify us to Yourself in the unity of Your Spirit. In this we praise You! Hallelujah and Amen! Come Lord Jesus!

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