"WHISPER A PRAYER"
"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17)
INTRO.: A song which looks to Jesus as our Mediator through whom we pray without ceasing is "Whisper a Prayer." The text was written by an unknown author and is now considered an American folk hymn. Originally there appears to have been two stanzas, "Whisper a prayer" and "God answers prayer." When I was growing up, we usually sang four stanzas in Bible classes and vacation Bible school: "Whisper a prayer….God answers prayers….Jesus may come" and a fourth stanza made up of a composite of the first three. The tune is anonymous and now considered an American folk melody. The most famous arrangement was made by Mrs. James A. Pate. It was copyrighted in 1944 by John T. Benson Jr. and first published in Precious Jewels Condensed. There have been other arrangements made. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1955 Youth Melodies and Action Songs edited (and the song arranged) by Palmer E. Wheeler; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; and the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons. Today it may be found in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections (arranged by John W. Peterson) edited by Ellis J. Crum; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand.
Because the song is somewhat repetitive, I have provided another arrangement of the words.
I. Stanza 1 tells us to whisper a prayer
"Whisper a prayer in the morning; Come to God’s throne at noon.
Lift up your hands in the evening To keep your heart in tune."
A. While public prayer is nowhere prohibited in scripture, the idea of whispering a prayer suggests the idea of private prayer where one shuts his door and prays to the Father in secret: Matt. 6:5
B. One picture of prayer in the scriptures is that of coming before the throne of grace to find help: Heb. 4:14-16
C. Another picture of prayer in the scriptures is that of lifting up holy hands before God: 1 Tim. 2:8
II. Stanza 2 reminds us that God answers prayer
"God answers prayer in the morning; He will respond at noon.
You can trust Him in the evening; He’ll keep your heart in tune."
A. The Bible promises that God will hear and answer the prayers of His people: 1 Jn. 5:14-15
B. Therefore, we can know that He will respond because His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous: 1 Pet. 3:12
C. And as we come to Him in prayer, we can trust Him to give us those things that we need: Ps. 37:3-4
III. Stanza 3 reminds us that Jesus may come at any time
"Jesus may come in the morning; He may return at noon.
He may appear in the evening, So keep your heart in tune."
A. Jesus will come again, and He may come at any time because we do not know the day nor hour: Matt. 24:36, 44
B. We speak of Jesus’s second coming as His return, because He came once, went back to heaven, and will come again: Jn. 14:1-3
C. Another term used of Jesus’s second coming in scripture is His appearing: Tit. 2:13
IV. Stanza 4 tells us to sing of God’s grace
"Sing of God’s grace in the morning; Tell of His love at noon.
Speak of His power in the evening; ‘Twill keep your heart in tune."
A. We should sing of God’s grace because it is by grace that mankind can be saved through faith: Eph. 2:8-9
B. We should tell of His love because it was His love that sent Jesus to die for our sins: Rom. 5:8
C. We should speak of His power because the gospel is God’s power to salvation: Rom. 1:16
CONCL.: The thought structure of this hymn is very simple, and for that reason it is usually identified as a "children’s song." The main idea of each stanza is that we need to keep our hearts in tune with the Lord. The third stanza suggests that the reason why this is so important is in order that we can be ready at all times for the Lord’s return. Of course, being right with God demands that we strive to the best of our ability to obey and serve Him, but one thing that will help us daily to do this is to "Whisper a Prayer."