Friday, January 12, 2018

Where You Lead (Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer)

There are a great number of wonderful Christian hymns which are passing into obscurity in large segments of the world's geography.  (When Fanny Crosby writes 8,000+ hymns herself, it's easy to understand how a few of these things could go unnoticed!)  These songs offer solid theology in their lyrics, but are often musically inaccessible to modern worshipers.  I was recently inspired by the folks at Sovereign Grace Music to do my part my preserve the important parts of these songs — their beautiful, poetic words — while enjoying the liberty to set those words to a different (even original) musical arrangement.

So I've taken my first crack at this.  At my church, we are beginning an emphasis on the topic of prayer.  So I searched the collection of public domain songs (those whose copyrights had expired) in the CCLI SongSelect database for songs with a prayer theme.  I found in that list the hymn "Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer".  This song was written around 1859 by Love M. Love Maria Whitcomb Willis.  It appears to have gone through some minor edits over time, but I took the version that SongSelect presented to me and set its words to a simply melody.  I then added a little chorus for summary and variety (trying to maintain the authorial voice of the original).  The following lyrics are the ones I used; the italicized bits are my little addition.
Where You Lead (Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer)

Father, hear the prayer we offer.
Not for ease our prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be,
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Let not these words ring hollow,
This we plead.
Lord, make us brave to follow
Where you lead.


Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay,
But would strike the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness.
In our wanderings be our guide.
Through endeavour and failure and danger,
Father be there at our side.

Let not these words ring hollow,
This we plead.
Lord, make us brave to follow
Where you lead.


Father, hear the prayer we offer.
Not for ease our prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.