James Montgomery (1771–1854) was a British poet and hymnwriter perhaps best known for his Christmas carol Angels from the Realms of Glory. He also wrote an excellent hymn on prayer that I’ve shared below. Many of his works are found in his collection of Sacred Poems and Hymns for Public and Private Devotion. There is a free Google ebook version here.

I’ve included a soothing version I found on YouTube. Lord, teach us how to pray.

Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

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.

Nor prayer is made by man alone;
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on the eternal throne,
For sinners 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.


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