What Is Prayer?

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

  Prayer is the burthen 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 contrite sinner's voice
    Returning from his ways,
  While angels in their songs rejoice,
    And cry, "Behold he prays!"

  Prayer is the Christian's vital breath--
    The Christian's native air--
  His watchword at the gates of death--
    He enters heaven with prayer.

  The saints in prayer appear as one
    In word, and deed, and mind,
  While with the Father and the Son
    Sweet fellowship they find.

  Nor prayer is made by man alone--
    The Holy Spirit pleads--
  And Jesus, on the eternal throne,
    For shiners 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!

-- James Montgomery






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