‘Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire’

A weekly time of early morning prayer at our local parish has been one of many blessings during this month of leave.  Prayer has become a significant part of my leave. I had not planned for this but I rejoice in the Lord’s unexpected and precious gift.

One aspect of this desire for prayer has been my reflection and reading in preparation for an upcoming Anglican Spirituality seminar in Burnie. One of the seminar resources is the ‘The Book of Common Praise’ (I could not find an online version) which in earlier times was bound in the one volume with ‘The Book of Common Prayer’. The words of these hymns have helped me to pray and I commend them to you.

One such hymn is James Montgomery’s, ‘Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire’. May the Holy Spirit nurture your life through these beautiful words:

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast

Prayer is the burden of a sigh
The falling of a tear
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try
Prayer, the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath
The Christian’s native air
His watchword at the gates of death
He enters heav’n with prayer

Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice
Returning from his ways
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, “Behold! He prays!”

Nor prayer is made on earth alone
The Holy Spirit pleads
And Jesus at the Father’s throne
For sinners intercedes

O thou by whom we come to God
The Life, the Truth, the Way
The path of prayer thyself hast trod
Lord, teach us how to pray. Amen!

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