Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sweet Hour of Prayer (Strength in Hymn)

Sweet Hour of Prayer
William Walford, 1772-1850

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!”

A few weeks ago, while visiting my parents in Maryland, I asked my father what his favorite hymn was so I could use it for my Strength in Hymn series as I had "In the Garden" for my mother.  I should say that he is not a big hymn fan, but as he listed a few, he said there was one with a line about Mount Pisgah's lofty height that he liked.  He told me it was "Sweet Hour of Prayer."

In the intervening weeks, my sweet mother passed away and left a huge hole in all of our hearts.  I flew back up to Maryland this past weekend to be with my father, sister, brother, sister-in-law, nieces, nephew, grandmother, and aunt.  Today I went to the Christian bookstore near my grandmother's nursing home to find a guest book for the memorial service.  The sales lady there guessed correctly that it was for my mother, and stopped to pray with me with a gentle hand on mine. I also noticed in the back of the store a little prayer room with its own "wailing wall" where customers could fold up a little slip of paper with a prayer request and wedge it in.

I stayed an hour with Grandma, chatting about my memories of her homestead in Pennsylvania, and gazing at the deer and birds outside her window at the nursing home. The deer munched on leaves from the bushes, visited the salt lick my mother had set out, edged over quietly to drink from the puddle near the window, and then munched leaves from the bushes again before dashing away. 

And here I am tonight, reading afresh the lines surrounding the one with Mount Pisgah's lofty height.  I pray that "may I thy consolation share" because my mother has dropped her robe of flesh, took her flight, and risen to seize the everlasting prize. 

Yet even when I am not enduring a "a season of distress and grief" I still need the sweet hour of prayer.  It is so easy to pull away or at least drift away from that.  But he tenderly calls us to pray and bids us to seek his face.

Grace and peace,
Virginia Knowles

P.S. The deer and bird pictures were taken during my visit at the Light House nursing home in Ellicott City, Maryland. The butterfly pictures were taken the same day at my parents' home.


  1. Dear Virginia
    All my love and condolences on your mother passing away! What a joy that you know she has been prompted to glory like General Booth of The Salvation Army used to say! May our Lord fill the empty, painful place with His love and mercy.
    Blessings XX

  2. Praying for your family this morning. Hugs
    Love this hymn. I need to pull out my hymnal more often.

  3. So glad to find you here and your most beautiful post. Sweet Hour of Prayer indeed! Weeping with you at the loss of your mother, and rejoicing wit you that she is home with her Father now in all His glory, no more petitions, she has all that she needs!
    Hugs to you,

  4. You did a good job catching those butterflies on your camera!! I had a hard time catching a hummingbird the other day. I'm no photographer though.

    I love this hymn and again, send my comfort and a with your mother's passing.