Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | November 22, 2011

The Ministry of Intercession.

THERE is no holy service
   But hath its secret bliss:
Yet, of all bless`ed ministries,
   Is one so dear as this?
The ministry that cannot be
    A wondering seraph’s dower,
Enduring mortal weakness
   With more than angel-power.
The ministry of purest love
   Uncrossed by any fear,
That bids us meet at the Master’s feet,
   And keeps us very near.

God’s ministers are many,
   For this His gracious will,
Remembrancers that day and night
   This holy office fill.
While some are hushed in slumber,
   Some to fresh service wake,
And thus the saintly number
   No change or chance can break.
And thus the sacred courses
  Are evermore fulfilled,
The tide of grace by time or place
   Is never stayed or stilled.

Oh, if our ears were opened
   To hear as angels do
The Intercession-chorus
   Arising full and true,
We should hear it soft up-welling
   In morning’s pearly light,
Through evening’s shadows swelling
   In grandly gathering might,
The sultry silence filling
   Of noontide’s thunderous glow,
And the solemn starlight thrilling
   With ever deepening flow.

We should hear it through the rushing
   Of the city’s restless roar,
And trace its gentle gushing
   O’er ocean’s crystal floor:
We should hear it far up-floating
   Beneath the Orient moon,
And catch the golden noting
   From the busy Western noon,
And pine-robed heights would echo
   As the mystic chant up-floats,
And the sunny plain resound again
   With the myriad-mingling notes.

Who are the bless`ed ministers
    Of this world-gathering band?
All who have learnt One Language,
   Through each far-parted land;
All who have learnt the story
   Of Jesu’s love and grace,
And are longing for His glory
   To shine in every face.
All who have known the Father
   In Jesus Christ our Lord,
And know the might and love the light
   Of the Spirit in the Word.

Yet there are some who see not 
    Their calling high and grand,
Who seldom pass the portals,
   And never boldly stand
Before the golden altar
   On the crimson-stain`ed floor,
Who wait afar and falter,
   And dare not hope for more.
Will ye not join in the bless`ed ranks
   In their beautiful array?
Let intercession blend with thanks
   As ye minister to-day!

There are little ones among them,
   Child-ministers of prayer,
White robes of intercession
   Those tiny servants wear.
First for the near and dear ones,
   In that fair ministry,
Then for the poor black children,
   so far beyond the sea.
The busy hands are folded,
   As the little heart uplifts
In simple love, to God above,
   Its prayer for all good gifts.

There are hands too often weary
   With the business of the day,
With God-entrusted duties,
   Who are toiling while they pray.
They bear the golden vials,
   And the golden harps of praise,
Through all the daily trials,
   Through all the dusty ways.
These hands, so tired, so faithful,
   With odours sweet are filled,
And in the ministry of prayer
   Are wonderfully skilled.

There are ministers unlettered,
    Not of Earth’s great and wise,
Yet mighty and unfettered
   Their eagle-prayers arise.
Free of the heavenly storehouse!
   They hold the master-key 
That opens all the fulness
   Of God’s great treasury.
They bring the needs of others,
   And all things are their own,
For their one grand claim is Jesu’s name
   Before their Father’s throne.

There are noble Christian workers,
   The men of faith and power,
The overcoming wrestlers
   Of many a midnight hour
Prevailing princes with their God,
   Who will not be denied,
Who bring down showers of blessing
  To swell the rising tide.
 The Prince of Darkness quaileth 
   At their triumphant way,
Their fervent prayer availeth
   To sap his subtle sway.

But in this Temple-service
   Are sealed and set apart
Arch-priests of intercession,
    Of undivided heart,
The fulness of anointing
   On these is doubly shed, 
The consecration of their God
   Is on each low-bowed head.
They bear the golden vials
   With white and trembling hand
In quiet room or wakeful gloom
   These ministers must stand,–

To the Intercession-Priesthood
   Mysteriously ordained,
When the strange dark gift of suffering
   This added gift hath gained.
For the holy hands uplifted
   In suffering’s longest hour
Are truly Spirit-gifted
   With intercession-power.
The Lord of Blessing fills them
   With his uncounted gold,
As unseen store, still more and more,
   Those trembling hands shall hold.

Not always with rejoicing
   This ministry is wrought,
For many a sigh is mingled
   With the sweet odours brought.
Yet every tear bedewing
   The faith-fed altar fire
May be its bright renewing
   To purer flame, and higher.
But when the oil of gladness
   God graciously outpours,
The heavenward blaze wih blended praise
   More mightily upsoars.

So the incense-cloud ascendeth
   As through calm crystal air,
A pillar reaching unto heaven,
   Of wreath`ed faith and prayer.
For evermore the Angel
   Of Intercession stands
In His Divine High Priesthood,
   With fragrance-fill`ed hands,
To wave the golden censer
   Before His Father’s throne,
With spirit-fire intenser,
   And incense all His own.

And evermore the Father
   Sends radiantly down
All-marvellous responses,
   His ministers to crown;
The incense-cloud returning
   As golden blessing-showers,
We in each drop discerning
   Some feeble prayer of ours,
Transmuted into wealth unpriced,
   By Him who giveth thus
The glory all to Jesus Christ,
   The gladness all to us!

Frances Ridley Havergal from THE POETICAL WORKS




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