Saturday Song: Sweet Hour of Prayer

This week I came across this prayer in the Valley of Vision book of Puritan prayers.

O Lord, in prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality. Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing; I find my heart going after Thee with intensity, and long with vehement thirst to live to Thee. Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit that speed me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish, and nothing seems important but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear, and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts at what Thou art doing for Thy church, and I long that Thou shouldest get Thyself a great name from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life, and taste heavenly joys; entering into the eternal world I can give myself to Thee with all my heart, to be Thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in Thy hands, to be entirely at Thy disposal, having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners, the church, Thy kingdom to come, with greatest freedom, ardent hopes, as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

— In Prayer

This is one of the lessons I’ve been learning most intensely this semester: the power, beauty, and resting place that I have in prayer.  Just to think of the God of the Universe, the Creator, listening to my prayer — even more than that, desiring that I should cast everything on him in prayer.  That He should tell me to bring even my anxieties with my thanksgiving to Him in prayer.  That He should listen and give me rest in my soul while I do it.  That is wonderous love to me.  Which brings me to this Saturday’s song, Sweet Hour of Prayer.  I’ve included the lyrics below with this link to Norm Hastings beautiful piano arrangement.

Verse 1:

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

That calls me from a world of care,

And bids me at my Father’s throne

Make all my wants and wishes known.

In seasons of distress and grief,

My soul has often found relief,

And oft escaped the tempter’s snare

By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Verse 2:

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

The joys I feel, the bliss I share

Of those whose anxious spirits burn

With strong desires for thy return!

With such I hasten to the place

Where God my Savior shows his face,

And gladly take my station there,

And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Verse 3:

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

Thy wings shall my petition bear

To him whose truth and faithfulness

Engage the waiting soul to bless.

And since he bids me seek his face,

Believe his word, and trust his grace,

I’ll cast on him my every care,

And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Verse 4:

Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!

May I thy consolation share,

Till from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height

I view my home and take my flight

This robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise

To seize the everlasting prize,

And shout, while passing thru the air,

“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”

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