Prayer plays a very significant role in the lives of Christians. It’s the easiest way by which we can communicate with God. As it is a sacred practice, praying has to be done the proper way. The Holy Bible tells us,
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
The very essence of the biblical verse above on praying was perfectly captured in the hymn called “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” The title alone gives a compelling message about spending an intimate moment with God. Accordingly, the hymn fosters a private prayer rather than a Congregational one. Hence, as we can see from the video below, the late country music artist Jimmy Dean recited the poem wholeheartedly, as if he was talking closely with God. With a solemn vocal backing from the audience, the hymn becomes more profound.
Let us open our hearts as Jimmy Dean leads us in this solemn recitation of “Sweet Hour of Prayer.“
A Few Facts of the Hymn
“Sweet Hour of Prayer” was originally a poem. It’s one of the many beautiful poems that William Walford composed in the mid-18th century. Walford was a blind lay preacher in a small village in Coleshill, Warwickshire, England. Not being able to write the poem down, he asked his friend, Thomas Salmon, to help him out. Salmon, a Congregational minister who paid a visit to Walford one day, willingly did so. In 1845, the poem got printed on the New York Observer after Salmon showed it to its editor.
In 1861, the famous American gospel music writer William Bradbury put music to the poem. Subsequently, the text and tune appeared together for the first time in Bradbury’s collection called Golden Chains. From there, the composition went on to become a standard Christian hymn all over the world.
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Jimmy Dean, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Thomas Salmon, William W. Walford