"FATHER, I PRAY"
"Keep me as the apple of the eye…" (Psalm 17:8)
INTRO.: A song which asks God to keep us is "Father, I Pray." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Robert Clifton Welch, who was born on Nov. 5, 1916, at Railton near Glasgow, KY. In 1963, he compiled, edited, and published a hymnbook, Abiding Hymns, which for many years was quite popular, especially among "conservative" churches of Christ, in the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps the best known of his own hymns is "O Father, Guide Me Here Below." His hymn for the Lord’s supper, "The Lord Came to Earth" also achieved some use. All of Robert’s published hymns were copyrighted in 1963 with his hymnbook. His death occurred in Indianapolis, IN, on June 18, 2003. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, none of his hymns have, unfortunately, appeared nor are any of them found today.
This is a "prayer hymn."
I. Stanza 1 suggests that we should pray for guidance
"Father, I pray keep me today; Guide me along life’s way.
Help me to see Thy love to me; Teach me to trust in Thee."
A. We certainly need God’ guidance in this life: Ps. 31:3
B. As we follow God’s guidance, we can see more clearly His love for us: Eph. 3:17-19
C. Then we shall certainly want God to teach us to trust in Him: Ps. 37:3-5
II. Stanza 2 suggests that we should pray for comfort
"I need Thy care, hear now my prayer; Burdens so great I bear.
They press me so; I need to know Comfort thou dost bestow."
A. The Bible teaches that the Lord cares for us, so that we can cast our cares on Him in prayer: 1 Pet. 5:7
B. The fact is that everyone has burdens in life that we can cast on the Lord: Ps. 55:22
C. To those who come to Him in accordance with His will, He offers comfort: 2 Cor. 1:3-4
III. Stanza 3 suggests that we should pray for forgiveness
"Tempted and tried, I would confide Sins unto Thee to hide.
Cover them all lest I should fall, Now as on Thee I call."
A. As long as we live on this earth, we shall be tempted to sin: Jas. 1:14-15
B. We need to confide or confess all our sins to the Lord: 1 Jn. 1:9
C. We cannot cover our own sins, but when we confess them to Him and forsake them, He has promised to cover them: Prov. 28:13
IV. Stanza 4 suggests that we should pray for help in sowing the word
"Help me below Thy word to sow, To Thee a harvest grow;
Teach me to do, willingly too, All things to lead me through."
A. God wants His people to be sowers of His seed, which is the word: Lk. 8:5, 11
B. His purpose in this is to grow a harvest of souls: Jn. 4:35
C. Thus, we must ask Him to help us do His will in this matter: Matt. 9:37-38
CONCL.: The chorus tells us why we have the privilege of going to our Father in prayer.
"I am Thy child, to Thee reconciled, In Jesus, my Savior who died;
And He doth say to Thee I may pray For answer, through Jesus the Way."
At one time, it was customary in public worship services to lead just before prayer a song that specifically encouraged the congregation to maintain a prayerful attitude, such as "Sweet Hour of Prayer" or "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." As a Christian, I need to make prayer an important part of my life, both in public worship and in private devotion. Therefore, several times every day I should take time out of my schedule to say, "Father, I Pray."
Note: The song was copyrighted in 1963; words reprinted here by permission.