Lord of all power and might,
which art the Author and Giver of all good things,
graft in our hearts the love of Thy name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of Thy great mercy keep us in the same;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The imagery here is so lovely and floods the mind with so much from scripture as well as from nature itself.
As a child, I remember my father using this technique of grafting. It is used to develop a new plant, and/or to strengthen what is old, weak or faulty.
Defined in the English dictionary this way:
- a part inserted from another so as to become nourished and united with it;
- to reproduce by grafting.
This is such a lovely picture of what takes place in our hearts and lives when we, through faith begin our new life in Christ. Such a simple picture of a great and amazing Truth.
When it comes to our hearts, if we are honest, grafting is just what is required. And if we are honest, not only is it needful, we are helpless to bring about change by ourselves.
Left to ourselves we become rangy weedlings running wild. There is no good thing in our natures that can bring on eternally lasting good fruit.
Our Creator-Husbandman alone can pierce our hearts with His goodness and secure in place this new thing and so creating in us newness of heart and life.
As for the love of His name, that must be taught, learned through experience. It doesn't happen naturally because it is me and mine that is the natural love.
The great verbs of this prayer, what Paul Zahl calls "grand askings" are my guides for This Day - graft
keep. These are all good gardening terms to fit the process involved.
increase - to make greater in any respect, augment, add to, multiply
nourish - to sustain, supply with what is necessary for maintaining life
keep - to cause to continue, protect, guard, tend, take care of.
And all this that I/we might 'grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My great desire is to be so united with such strong grafting as to be green and flourishing,
~ producing green leaves in drought time (Jeremiah 17.8;
~ planted solidly, deeply so as to bring forth good fruit in old age (Psalm 92.12-15
The Collects of Thomas Cranmer, Paul F. M. Zahl
11 Peter 3.18