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Sweet Hour of Prayer

        Sweet
Hour of Prayer
– the sounds of the world dim…I only hear the rustle of
angel wings as I sing the hymn, Sweet
Hour of Prayer

         How often I have sung these words, not
knowing the wisdom and comfort they contain. Each line speaks of heartache this
world gives. The only release for grief and tears is a sweet hour of prayer,
wrapping our hearts in God’s peace. Relief and sharing our burden comes only
with the One who knows and cares.
         The words to Sweet Hour of Prayer came to William W. Walford, a blind man,
1772-1850.  Nothing is known of when or
how he became blind. He was a lay preacher in a rural English church.  He often quoted scripture after scripture
with accuracy. He was seventy years old, when a friend came to visit. William
asked his friend, Thomas Salmon to write down the lyrics he had stored in his
mind.
         After they were written hurriedly –
Walford asked, “Will they do?”  Three
years later Thomas Salmon came to the United States and shared these lyrics
with the editor of the New York Observer, who published then in 1845.  Fifteen years later, a composer, William B.
Bradley wrote the melody. William Walford died before he heard the music. He
died before it was written.
         William Walford left a legacy of faith.
He lived a life without physical sight yet his heart-sight was 20/20. Little
did Walford know the lyrics he wrote would be used of God – in His Time. William
Walford was able to retain large portions of the Bible in his mind, as well as
verses and sermons.  Sometimes it is
difficult for us to remember what we said the day before. Remembering God’s
Words is a Gift. Living God’s Words is a Choice!
         Memories of Prayer for the young begin
early. At our evening table, we held hands while my Dad prayed,
Komm, Herr Jesu;
sei du unser Gast und segne, was du uns bescheret hast. In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.  (Plautt Dietch). Come, Lord Jesus,
be our Guest; And bless what you have bestowed.
         The most memorable for me was the Christmas Eve prayer
time – with our Grandpa and Grandma Suderman plus Aunts and Uncles.  Curious, after a time I decided to do the
unthinkable…I peeked. An indelible mind photo stays in my memory for more than
80 years. A circle of family kneeling and praying, one by one, according to
age.  I felt a peace I had never known
before. Later I learned my Grandma Anna Loewen Suderman prayed alone naming
each of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren by name, and those
who come after (Nach Kommen).
         Walford
wrote – Sweet Hour of Prayer!
An hour? How can that be? Who could pray for an hour?  We don’t count the moments and minutes when
we long for the precious presence of Jesus. 
We pray.  Recently, my daughter,
Anna, sent me a beautiful guide to prayer (apayne.com).  The areas of prayer include: What I thank God
for today, Prayer requests for friends, those we work with and, leaders in
Church and in the World, and praying for me and those close to me and my
work.  When we pray scripture, God’s own
Words, we see with our hearts, even as Walford did as he wrote the words of
this Hymn.
            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!
            There
are verses for Hope, Strength, Guidance, and Thanksgiving in the
Scripture.  Our
Lord God meets our every need.  One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray,
and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together
all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles
.  Luke 6:12-13. 
         Then Jesus went with them to the olive
grove called Gethsemane, and he said,
“Sit
here while I go over there to pray.”
 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and
John, and he became anguished and distressed.
 He
told them,
“My soul is crushed with grief to the point
of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
 He
went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying,
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken
away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Matthew
26:36-40.  The pain on the cross was
unbearable because of the weight of our sins. In this moment, He needed a Sweet
Hour of Prayer with his Father, and ours!
    Jesus taught us to pray – Our
Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth
as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily
bread.
And forgive us our debts, As
we forgive our debtors.
 And do not lead us into temptation, But
deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Matthew
6:9-13
    For
the Lord your God is living among you. He is a
mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he
will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:1
    Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to
temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Matthew 26:41
    Listen to my cry for help, my King and
my God, for I pray to no one but
you. Psalm 5:2
    But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each
night I sing his songs, praying
to God who gives me life.
    “Keep on asking, and you will
receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking,
and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
    Pray in the Spirit at all times and on
every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.  Ephesians 6:18
    Pray without ceasing.  I Thessalonians 5:17
    The end of the world is coming soon.
Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. I Peter 4:7

      And when he took the scroll, the
four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each
one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. Revelation
5:8







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