Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Title: Sweet Hour of Prayer
Eleanor Woo

Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (NASB)

Are you familiar with the hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer by William Walford? It may not be as well-known as Amazing Grace by John Newton, the slave trader who later became an abolitionist, but the lyrics of Sweet Hour of Prayer is very meaningful and I hope that the two verses I have chosen resonate with you.

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!

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!

Do we sometimes feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, especially during these trying times? There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, chores to complete and the list goes on. But, we can leave this “world of care”, go to the Father’s throne, bare our soul to Him and He promises that He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).

In fact, praying first thing in the morning can set (or change) the tone of our day – invite God into the day, ask His help in the challenging and difficult areas and turn the daily frustrations into prayer prompts. We can “escape the tempter’s snare” because praying puts God in the forefront of our minds. We are mindful that He is with us! (I find this particularly true especially while driving and an inconsiderate driver cuts into my lane, my tendency to react fizzles out.) Call upon Him to help and we will find strength and joy even in the midst of our struggles and the mundane.

We know that prayer is communication with God. To build a strong relationship requires frequent communication, that is, the more we have quality conversations with each other, the better our relationship will be. Likewise, with God, when our prayer “wings shall our petition bear”. We need our frequent quality conversation with Him. Pay attention to that still small voice, retrieve and recite memory verses learnt and sense the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

I read somewhere that answered prayers are prayers prayed. God is waiting for us to call on Him and He will answer (Jeremiah 33:3) in His time and His way. Calling on God means engaging and encountering Him in prayer, for unless we pray how can He answer? Therefore, Walford’s lyrics which encouraged us to “… seek His face, believe His Word and trust His grace”, is very apt.

William Walford was a blind preacher. He would memorise a huge amount of the Bible which he quoted verbatim in his sermons. Some thought he had memorised the entire Scripture, cover to cover. And he prayed. Sweet Hour of Prayer, was published on September 13, 1845, which expressed the genuine joy Walford found in prayer.

PRAYER: Dear Father, thank you that we can use the life-line of prayer to come before You, the King of kings. Thank you for William Walford’s hymn that points to the blessings in prayer. Lord, we want to commit to spend time daily and regularly with You in personal prayer, so that You can transform our day and our hearts. Help us to make You a priority in our schedules. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

星期三, 2021年9月15日


您熟悉威廉·沃尔福德的 “祷告良辰” 这首圣诗吗?它可能没有后来成为废奴主义者的奴隶贩子约翰·牛顿的 “奇异恩典” 那么广为人知,但 “祷告良辰” 的歌词非常有意义,我希望我挑选的这两个诗节能引起您的共鸣。



我们是否有时觉得自己扛负着千斤的重担,尤其是在这个艰难的时刻?有账单要缴付,有人需要赡养 ,有家务要完成,还有更多的事情要做。但是,我们可以离开这些 “让人操心的世事”,到父的施恩宝座前,向祂倾吐心声,祂应许我们必得安息(马太福音11:28)。

事实上,早晨第一件事就祈祷可以设定(或改变)我们一天的基调 – 邀请上帝进入这一天,在具挑战性和困难的领域寻求祂的帮助,并将日常的挫折转化为祈祷的提示。我们可以 “逃脱试探者的网罗”,因为祈祷把上帝放在我们思想的前沿。我们会意识到祂与我们同在!(我发现这一点尤其在我开车时格外真实,当一个轻率的司机闯入我的车道时,我对此举动作出反应的倾向消失了。)求告祂,向祂寻求帮助,即使在我们的挣扎和平淡中,我们也会觅得力量和喜乐。

我们知道祈祷是与上帝沟通。建立牢固的关系需要频繁的沟通,也就是说,我们彼此之间的高质量对话越多,我们的关系就越好;同样地,当我们的祷告 “如有双翼向主飞升” 时,我们与上帝的关系也是如此。我们需要经常与祂进行高质量的对话。留意那微小的声音,回想和背诵所学的经文,感受圣灵的提示。

我曾读到,蒙应允的祈祷就是所作的祈祷。上帝正等待着我们求告祂,祂会按祂的时间和方式应允我们(耶利米书33:3)。求告上帝就是在祷告中与祂相遇,因为除非我们祷告,否则祂怎么能应允呢?因此,沃尔福德鼓的歌词鼓励我们 “入觐(寻求祂的面),仰赖祂的宏恩与威信”,是非常贴切的。

威廉·沃尔福德是一位瞎眼的传道人。他会背诵很多经文,在讲道时一字不差地引用。有人认为他已经把整本圣经背下来了;而且他祈祷。“祷告良辰” 于1845年9月13日发行,它表达了沃尔福德在祈祷中所获得的真正的喜乐。