William W. Walford, 1772-1850

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Ephesians 6:18

"Not 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 means of prayer. It has often been said that prayer is as basic to spiritual life as breathing is to our natural lives. Prayer is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble; it is a way of life for the believer, a way of communing with God as He communes with us through His Word.

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 1843 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 Cyber Hymnal, where I find the music midis for all the hymns I use here, revealed a second verse that I'd never heard before, and it's absolutely beautiful! And it's especially so when one remembers the blind eyes of the author and his longing to see "God [his] Savior's face when he returns to his time in prayer!

The first and third stanzas of today's hymn remind us of the blessing 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 the sin of disobedience, he would not be permitted to enter it in his earthly body.

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!”

*For Today*: Matthew 6:5 & 6, 7:11, 18:19, 21:22; Luke 18:1-8

Earnestly purpose to spend additional time throughout this new year in prayer and communion with God.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal, which also contains some information about the author.

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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