Over the next several months or so I will be working my way through a little hymnal I found. Several months ago, I ordered a reprint of the classic hymnal “Songs for the Sanctuary, or Hymns and Tunes for Christian Worship”. The hymnal was compiled by Charles Seymour Robinson in the late 1860s. This particular hymnal has a Bible Reference for most of the hymns, so the plan is to reflect on the hymn and the passage each week.
We begin this morning’s meditation with the song “Sweet Hour of Prayer”.
This short song was written by W. W. Walford in 1845, who is remembered to be an English Blind Preacher.
Let us listen to these words:
1 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!
3 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!
While the reference for this hymn is many times focused on Jesus and the regular prayer times that he had throughout the GospelsâI find it interesting that Mr. Robinson chose this verse from Daniel 9:21.
21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. (Dan 9:21 ESV)
Daniel is remembering his second meeting with the angel Gabriel.
Daniel is praying, verse 20 says: “speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD” (Dan 9:20 ESV)
In all of the busyness of lifeâDaniel was a man of prayer.
We have much going on in our busy livesâbut let us not forget to pray.
Ask God for guidance in what you are doing. One of the tools I’ve used in prayer is to think through your day.
Dr. William E. Sangster in his little book “Teach me to Pray”, wrote:
“In imagination go over every task which you know the day has in store for you and meet it with Him. Even the things you cannot foresee will be better met because of this discipline.”
Speak to him about your concerns. Go over what is troubling you. Think about the people you knowâwhat their concern are.
By all means confess your sins to him!
Sin is anything you think say or do that makes God unhappy. Think about those sins and bring them before God in prayer.
Get in the habit of praying to God.
Take time to have that sweet hour of prayerâ
“that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father’s throne
make all my wants and wishes known.”
Daniel continues in verse 22:
22 He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. (Dan 9:22 ESV)
The lesson for us is that god hears our prayers and he answers them.
We often wonder if God hears our prayer.
William Philip, in his book “Why We Pray” says that
“Your prayers and mine will not be heard by God because of our sincerity but because of our status. We are sons of God, which means that God cannot not hear us. We are his sons. That’s gospel truth. He can’t not hear your prayers if you are in Christ.”
He has adopted usâhe has brought us into his care and he stands ready to hear from us, to draw closer to us, to answer us according to his great wisdom and grace.
As Daniel is alone praying, God sends an angel to meet with Daniel to give him “insight and understanding.”
So, if you are in Christâif you have been adopted into his family by placing your faith in himâI encourage you with these words today. He hears you when you prayâcling to him.
As we begin our day today, remind yourself constantly of the final two lines of this little hymn that says:
“I’ll cast on him my every care,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”