Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
unuttered or expressed,
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 Christians’ vital breath,
the Christians’ native air;
their watchword at the gates of death;
they enter heaven with prayer.
Prayer is not made by us alone:
the Holy Spirit pleads,
and Jesus, on the eternal throne,
for sinners intercedes.
O Christ, by whom we come to God,
the Life, the Truth, the Way:
the path of prayer yourself have trod,
Lord, teach us how to pray.
–James Montgomery, 1818