What is prayer? This question has been poetically answered by James Montgomery covering many of the aspects of prayer as we experience it as a longing for God, a soul that needs unburdening, the need for forgiveness and a means of living well for God. Use this poem which was adapted into a hymn to explore what prayer means to you.
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 Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters heav’n 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
Their fellowship they find.
Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus at the Father’s 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.
James Montgomery, 1771-1854