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Sweet Hour Of Prayer

Going blind can be a frightful experience. As we get older and older, the uncertainty of what lies ahead can be pretty scary. Just imagine how difficult that would have been a century and a half ago when society was less capable of dealing with disabilities. Such a future was what William was facing.

William was a man of God who still preached on occasion. He also was able to carve some trinkets to make a little money to support himself. Blindness, however, had produced an interesting spiritual benefit. His prayer life had become much more meaningful and personal. In an age when most people saw prayer as a corporate and public discipline, William found prayer to be a sweet and refreshing personal time with God. That, and his poetry, were what he loved the most.

He had been working on a poem about this personal type of prayer when he recited a few lines to Thomas Salmon, a friend who often sold William’s trinkets in his store. His friend hurriedly copied those words, as William spoke them, and sent them off to a publisher, The New York Observer, with a note that commented, “...if you should think them worthy of preservation."

Well, they did. Williams Walfords’ poem was published on September 13, 1845. It wasn’t until 1861 that the music was added. The famous hymn writer, William Bradbury, found the poem and recognized its quality at once. The soulful tune he gave to it has made it one of the most beautiful songs in hymnals worldwide. It’s title is, “Sweet Hour Of Prayer.”

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