The Altar in My Heart

February 27, 2019

By Kate Flournoy


I don’t have a temple; I barely have a prayer.

In the hollows of this empty church, I know that You are there.

I find You in the silence, in the way the shadows fall,

I find You in my heartbeat as it echoes from wall to wall.


Lord of all the silent things, King of secret fears,

Who walks within this empty place and has tasted all my tears,

I know You want a temple; I’m afraid I’m not a priest.

The salt has all bled out of me; I’ve squandered all my yeast.


Sold out for a cardboard life, chasing You in safer places,

Decked in tinsel holiness and trading faith for social graces.

I know the faith is colorless; I know my lies are all my loss.

But, Lord, my bones are melting at the mention of a cross.


There’s an altar etched between my lungs, embedded in my heart.

But the lungs that heave Your praises curtain off that painful part.

The rafters of my would-be temple ring so vibrantly with praise.

I’ve conveniently forgotten how to listen through the haze.


A hundred things I should release, a thousand sacrifices waiting,

Each one strikes a different note, a repertoire of fear relating.

They’re shackles forged from former lives that press and choke the light.

They snap their fingers in my face; they tear my soul from left to right.


A soul that’s seeking desperately to follow You, my God,

But cannot face the dark unknown of planets yet untrod.

Yet one window in my chapel I’ve permitted to stay cracked,

Because I yearn for You, Jehovah, for the courage I’ve long lacked.


Send me forth; this is my prayer, as all the others plead,

But in the altar of my heart I know You ask for me to bleed.

That one true piece within my soul, the place where You reside,

The only reason I can see, the knife that cuts me through inside.


Lord, what I see is far too much for me to conquer all alone.

I’ve tried and failed; this shadow church can never be Your home.

But because You ask for greatness, and I know I’m set apart,

Help me face, and fill, and light the altar in my heart.


Kate Flournoy is a die-hard country girl raised on Tolkien, Dickens, and Lewis, and she’s determined to change the world. She’s a shy drama queen, timid idealist, hopeful cynic, melodramatic logician, and intellectual poet who believes that simplicity is best and everything is possible…except her ever coming to like cheesecake. Let’s not get too wild here.


Since deciding she wants to change the world, she’s channeled her energy into two different methods—writing and helping other writers. You can join her list of permanently awesome people by picking up her free fantasy novelette, The World Turned Upside Down. She blogs as inspiration strikes her at KateFlournoy.wordpress.com.


  1. Dakota

    This is a masterpiece! I glad to find poet with a heart for the Lord! Excellent work!! 🙂

  2. Katherine Baker

    Simply stunning. I’m struggling to find the works for this. This is such a beautiful call to seek God,even when we don’t deserve his love. I could feel the heart in this and related with it so deeply. Thank you for blessing us with this stunning poem. To God be the glory!

  3. Cindy Green

    *hugs this poem tightly to my chest* This brought both tears to my eyes and lightness to my heart. A breathtaking combination, my dear.

  4. Sarah

    I love this so so so so so so so much. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. 🙂

  5. Libby

    Wow, Kate, I love this incredibly much! <3 This resonated with my heart. Our God is so merciful, even when we can't offer him much – and I love how you shared that with us.

    • Kate Flournoy

      I’m so happy it was a blessing to you.

  6. Julia

    Wow. This is so beautiful and the cry of my heart! Can I just say amen and praise the Lord?

  7. Emma Flournoy

    Oohhh, very nice. O.o Amen.

  8. Eden Anderson

    Some how, you always manage to steal my breath away with your poetry. You have such a beautiful way with words, Kate. ❤️❤️

    • Kate Flournoy

      Aw, thanks for the encouragement. <3

  9. Alatheia Grace

    Oh, Katy, you hit the nail on the head! AMEN! I love this poem so much!
    It’s a blessing to see your faith shine so bright through your writing!
    GREAT JOB!!!
    The only thing that will last is the difference we make for eternity!~S. I. K.

  10. Sarah

    I think God had you write this for me Kate. Thank you. And I thank God for what you have written. It gave me chills, I was moved by it and I hope I can learn from it. I desire to become more than the rut that I have fallen into. And I need God to make me into a temple that he would be willing to enter and to reside in. Thank you so much Kate.

    • Kate Flournoy

      The best thing about sharing my writing is knowing God used it to touch someone else. <3

  11. Michael Gnizak

    You speak the words of my heart. This is amazing!! Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful poem. *hug* it’s perfect!!


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