Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Sweet Hour of Prayer"

It's always seems to be one tiny step forward with this thing and two HUGE steps back. I've been in a "funk" not only physically, but spiritually lately as I've previously mentioned. Ultimately it is only by God's grace that we are able to be near Him, but it takes discipline to stay strong in the faith - to not worry, or doubt, or fear the future. Just as I can't expect to run a marathon without training, I shouldn't expect to endure till the end and receive the "crown of life" (James 1:12) without fostering my heart towards the things of God and communicating with Him.

Prayer is definitely a struggle for me. Always has been. And has been even more so in recent weeks as prayers seem so rarely to be answered favorably. I was reminded of the importance of prayer when I got in the car today and heard my daughter's Bible songs playing in the CD player. It was a beautiful instrumental version of Sweet Hour of Prayer, and I was convicted. Sweet Hour of Prayer. HOUR...ok, I know it probably wasn't meant to be literal. Or maybe it was. Hymnwriter William Walford was blind and memorized huge amounts of scripture which he quoted in his sermons. In fact some of his congregation thought he had memorized the entire Bible. Prayer was a true joy to him as we can see:
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!

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!

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!

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 through the air,
“Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!”
Sadly if I were to write this hymn I'm afraid it would read more like, "dutiful and sometimes dreaded 5 minutes of prayer (on a good day)"!  Perhaps Walford's blindness was a blessing that kept His heart (and time) from being lured by lesser things. How often our souls would find relief if only we went to the Father's throne and took our eyes off this world and all it's cares.


  1. I struggle with prayer too - A LOT! One thing I have found helps me is to write my prayers (like a letter or journal entry) instead of saying them, it helps me to focus, but I still struggle with doing it regularly.

    A book that I enjoyed about prayer not always being answered the way we hope or expect is 'God on Mute' by Pete Greig.

  2. I'm the same way when it comes to prayer. I really struggle. Especially when it comes to how much time I spent in prayer. Appreciate your honesty. It's good to know I'm not alone.