Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary
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Prodigal Yet

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, an Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain,… More
  • 2009 Feb 20

Several days ago Tullian Tchividjian shared a short poem by Ethelwyn Wetherald. In doing further research I found another poem by her called “Prodigal Yet" that is shattering in its power. If you do not deeply understand this, then I suspect you don’t know yourself very well. Drawing near to God reveals to us, sometimes in painful ways, how far away we really are and how desperately we need the Lord and his grace.

We can “come home” from the far country of sin and yet still long in our hearts for what we left behind. And the very things that bind us to our family and friends may seem at times like shackles on the soul. As I pondered the poem, my mind kept going to the words of a familiar hymn. “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”

Muck of the sty, reek of the trough,
  Blackened my brow where all might see,
Yet while I was a great way off
  My Father ran with compassion for me.

He put on my hand a ring of gold,
   (There’s no escape from a ring, they say)
He put on my neck a chain to hold
  My passionate spirit from breaking away.

He put on my feet the shoes that miss
  No chance to tread in the narrow path;
He pressed on my lips the burning kiss
  That scorches deeper than fires of wrath.

He filled my body with meat and wine,
  He flooded my heart with love’s white light;
Yet deep in the mire, with sensual swine,
  I long–God help me!–to wallow to-night.

Muck of the sty, reek of the trough,
  Blacken my soul where none may see.
Father, I yet am a long way off–
  Come quickly, Lord! Have compassion on me! 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.

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