SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER
William W. Walford, 1772–1850
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)
No one is poor who can by prayer open the storehouse of God. —Louis Paul Lehman
Through the ages, devout believers in Christ have recognized the necessity of maintaining an intimate relationship with God through His ordained channel of prayer. It has often been said that prayer is as basic to spiritual life as breathing is to our natural lives.
It is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble; prayer is a way of life. Nevertheless, we need to set aside a special time for prayer. We need that daily “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”
This song is thought to have been written in 1842 by William Walford, an obscure and blind lay preacher who was the owner of a small trinket shop in the little village of Coleshill, England.
The first two stanzas of today’s hymn remind us of the blessings of prayer—relief for our troubled lives and the assurance of a God who is concerned about our every need. The final stanza anticipates the day when we will no longer need to pray, for we’ll be at home in heaven with our Lord.
There is also an interesting reference in this verse to a Mount Pisgah—the place where God instructed Moses in Deuteronomy 3:27 to go and merely view the promised land since, because of disobedience, he would never be permitted to enter it.
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, 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 ev’ry 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 thru the air, “Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer.”
Matthew 6:5, 6; 7:11; 18:19; 21:22; Luke 18:1–8