Scripture Verse

Pray continually. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Introduction

portrait
William B. Bradbury
1816–1868

Words: Will­iam Wal­ford, 1845. Pub­lished in The New York Ob­ser­ver, Sep­tem­ber 13, 1845.

Music: Sweet Hour Will­iam B. Brad­bu­ry, Gold­en Chain (New York & Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: Iv­i­son, Phin­ney & S. C. Griggs, 1861), num­ber 10 (🔊 pdf nwc).

illustration
An Apostle
Jacob Jordaens
1593–1678

During my re­si­dence at Coles­hill, War­wick­shire, Eng­land, I be­came ac­quaint­ed with W. W. Wal­ford, the blind preach­er, a man of ob­scure birth and con­nect­ions and no edu­ca­tion, but of strong mind and most re­ten­tive me­mo­ry.

In the pul­pit he ne­ver failed to se­lect a les­son well adapt­ed to his sub­ject, giv­ing chap­ter and verse with uner­ring pre­ci­sion and scarce­ly ev­er mis­placing a word in his re­pe­ti­tion of the Psalms, ev­ery part of the New Tes­ta­ment, the pro­phe­cies, and some of the his­to­ries, so as to have the re­pu­ta­tion of know­ing the whole Bi­ble by heart.

He ac­tu­al­ly sat in the chim­ney cor­ner, em­ploy­ing his mind in com­pos­ing a ser­mon or two for Sab­bath de­liv­e­ry, and his hands in cut­ting, shap­ing and pol­ish­ing bones for shoe horns and other lit­tle use­ful im­ple­ments. At in­ter­vals he at­tempt­ed po­et­ry.

On one oc­ca­sion, pay­ing him a vis­it, he re­peat­ed two or three piec­es which he had com­posed, and hav­ing no friend at home to com­mit them to pa­per, he had laid them up in the store­house with­in.

How will this do? asked he, as he re­peat­ed the fol­low­ing lines, with a com­pla­cent smile touched with some light lines of fear lest he sub­ject him­self to cri­ti­cism.

I ra­pid­ly co­pied the lines with my pen­cil, as he ut­tered them, and sent them for in­ser­tion in the Ob­ser­ver, if you should think them wor­thy of pre­ser­va­tion.

Thomas Salmon

Lyrics

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!