The Motion of a Hidden Fire

Prayer described.

PRAYER is the soul’s sincere desire,
Utter’d or unexpress’d;
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 Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air;
His watchword at the gates of death:
He enters heaven with prayer.

Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
Returning from his ways;
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, “Behold he prays!”

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 on earth alone;
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on the eternal throne,
For mourners 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, 1819.

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