prayer for a winter's day

There is a poem by John Donne that I have loved since the first time I read it, over a decade ago in a literature class I took in college. You should go here first to read the entire poem.

It begins this way:

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.*

I love that imagery. Sometimes I really do need God to come at me like a battering ram and just take me down. I wish it wasn't true, but it is. And He, in His amazing love and faithfulness, does exactly that.

I love the contrast, too, between the violence of words like "batter," "o'erthrow me," "break," and "burn," and words like "breathe," "shine," "seek to mend." And all for the purpose "that I may rise and stand." There's a point to the battering, to the taking down of our self-centeredness, our self-sufficiency. At the far end of what feels like getting totally beat up, we rise and stand. The city falls but is rebuilt into something far better than it once was...

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.*

Oh, Jesus... enthrall me. I want to fall more in love with You than I have ever been. Amen.

*from "Batter My Heart" by John Donne, found on The Literature Network

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