Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire

The words to this hymn were written by James Montgomery (1771-1854). He was born in Scotland but eventually settled in Sheffield. He wrote over 600 hymns, several perhaps more familiar than this one. They include:
Angels from the realms of Glory
For ever with the Lord
Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Lord, teach us how to pray aright
Songs of praise the angels sang
Stand up and bless the Lord

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 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.

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!

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