Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire

 
Lyrics & Information
LyricsAbout the song…
Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed
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 Christian’s vital breath
The Christian’s native air
His watchword at the gates of death
He enters heav’n with prayer

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

Nor prayer is made on earth alone
The Holy Spirit pleads
And Jesus at the Father’s throne
For sinners intercedes

O thou by whom we come to God
The Life, the Truth, the Way
The path of prayer thyself hast trod
Lord, teach us how to pray

Words by James Montgomery (1771-1854); Music by Sally DeFord

Montgomery’s beautiful text is one of my favorites in the LDS hymnal (#145), and I toyed with the idea of writing my own melody for it for quite awhile before actually doing it. The hymn as published in the hymnbook has eight verses, though only four are usually sung, probably because the melodic setting in the hymnbook places emphasis on quite a few wrong syllables for those last four verses… come to think of it, there’s a bit of that going on in the verses we usually sing as well.

This arrangement uses only seven of the eight stanzas–it just worked out that way. They’re printed below. “Only” seven may give the impression that the song is unusually long, but it moves along in such a way that each verse is really only half a verse long. The choral is a step higher than the solo version and the accompaniments are interchangeable–if you prefer a higher-voice solo, use the SATB accompaniment.

Church Music Submission: Anthem division–Award of Distinction 2006 (SATB)

Sheet Music and Recordings
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Vocals by Heather Prusse, Accompaniment Track

Available on CD: “Reaching for the Light” (All CDS)
Violin by Sarah Crowther

Available on CD: “Reaching for the Light – Accompaniment Tracks” (All CDS)
Violin by Sarah Crowther
Vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor, Accompaniment Track

Available on CD: ”He is My Song”
Also available on CD: “My All is Thine,” available here. (Click the “Albums” link at the top of the page.)
Piano by Marvin Goldstein; Violin by April Moriarty

Available on CD: ”He is My Song (Accompaniment Tracks)”
Piano by Marvin Goldstein; Violin by April Moriarty

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YouTube Videos
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This Song on Audio CD:

"Reaching for the Light" CD cover

Reaching for the Light
Vocals by Heather Prusse

"Reaching for the Light - Accompaniment Tracks" CD Cover

Reaching for the Light
Accompaniment Tracks

He is My Song CD

He is My Song CD
Vocals by Various Artists

He is My Song CD

He is My Song
Accompaniment Tracks

(All CDS)

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  2 Responses to “Prayer Is the Soul’s Sincere Desire”

  1.  

    i really love song.

  2.  

    I could really use an option created for downloading the individual parts of the SATB arrangement with only one part played and/or sung at a time (with or w/out accompaniment) so that our choir members who Don’t have music reading skills, Nor musical instruments, (but they do have desire to serve & learn) could download their part individually to practice and hear/learn on their own time and at their own convenience. This would also save them some embarrassment and mortification in some cases, when they feel totally lost as we try to go over their part for the brief amount of time that we’re all together as a choir, when they’d all rather be singing it together fully to fine-tune the whole piece.

    Please consider providing this option for this and other popular SATB choral pieces (for church choirs specifically as they have a limited pool of people to work with, usually with very little formal musical training).

    If there’s another spot on your site with that option that I perhaps missed, please let me know, Or if there’s another site which would fulfill this need, then please let me know ASAP.

    Thanks for your time,
    and for your beautiful choral work;
    many of us appreciate these gifts.

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