Words of Hope – Daily Devotional – The Christian Plummet

Read: Ephesians 3:14-21

The breadth and length and height and depth. (v. 18)

The next metaphor for prayer is “The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth.” Not all that long ago, a plummet—a tool consisting of a string with a lead weight attached to one end of it, otherwise known as a plumb line—had two regular uses. It was what the sailor used to take soundings—to judge the depth of water under his boat—and what the builder used when he needed to test the verticality of the wall he was building. It’s the sailor that Herbert here has in mind, except that his plummet “falls” in every direction, not just down into the depths of earth and sea, but up into what C. S. Lewis called “Deep Heaven,” and out—north, south, east, and west—through the length and breadth of the world around us.

Whichever way you look and however far you can see, there is nothing that you cannot turn into matter for prayer. Intercessory prayer where we see need, prayers of thanksgiving where God is plainly at work, praise prayers where something admirable comes to our notice, prayers of adoration when we are caught up with the wonder of who and what he is.

The more that praying Christians find their imagination stretched in all these directions, says Paul, the more they will find their hearts and minds, as well as the situations for which they pray, “filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19).

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Prayer (I)


Prayer the Church’s banquet, Angels’ age,

God’s breath in man returning to his birth,

The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,

The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;

Engine against th’ 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 drest,

The milky way, the bird of Paradise,

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

The land of spices; something understood.


Lord, teach us the prayer potential of a stretched imagination.

Author: Michael Wilcock



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