Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

by Laura Tverberg

“Lord, teach us how to pray.” Luke 11:1

This was one of my favorite hymns as I was growing up, and still is today. It is a wonderful description of prayer in all its forms. I haven’t heard it in churches in years, but I wish this meaningful hymn would be sung again.
— Mrs. Laura Tverberg (Lois’ mother)

Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

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 the 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 heaven with prayer.

Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice
Returning from his ways
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, “Behold he prays!”

Oh Thou, by whom we come to God,
The life, the truth, the way!
The path of prayer Thyself has trod;
Lord, teach us how to pray.

James Montgomery, 1818


This text comes from the 1912 Lutheran Hymnal. It is from a copy given to my mother, Gertrude Ritland on April 29, 1929.