On Being Asked The Necessity Of Prayer

You ask me why I bend the knee
In attitude of prayer,
If I believe myself ordain'd
Eternal glory's heir?

List, and I'll tell thee.-What am I?-
A child of sin and sorrow,
Produc'd without my will to-day,
And doom'd to die to-morrow.

And I am born, as others are,
The willing slave of sin;
Lur'd by a treacherous world without,
Betray'd by guilt within.

And if in Scripture's hallow'd page
I read of pard'ning love,
And mercy for the ransom'd saints,
Whose names are written above;

And if upon the sacred palm
Of the Redeemer's hand,
'Mid saints and holy martyrs rang'd,
My name engraven stand;

I have not seen it written there,
Nor read in deeds of heaven
My title to partake the bliss
For which his blood was given.

And though of all the Father gave
The Saviour loses none,
I cannot search the heav'nly roll
To learn if I am one.

No earthly mirror can reflect
The seal upon my brow;
And in my soul's corrupted soil
No fruits of merit grow.

But I have read, and read it there
Where falsehood never spake,
That they who come in lowly guise
To ask for Jesus' sake;

And they who bring a heart with guilt
And deep contrition sear'd,
With knee and spirit bending low,
To wait till they be heard;

Sure I have read that these are they,
And others are there none,
For whom their Saviour and their God
The palm of glory won.

And these are they the Father chose
With fond and partial love;
For whom salvation is proclaim'd
By angel hosts above.

And shall I, then, despise the mark
That proves me heir of bliss?
I know me his, because I pray,
And pray because I'm his.

And there was one on earth, I ween,
Had little need to pray;
And all that was, was his to give,-
Lord of a boundless sway.

He pray'd not with intent to change
His Father's high decree;
Nor had he need to ask in prayer
The thing he meant should be.

Yet Jesus pray'd-and earth receiv'd
Her Maker's bended knee;
Gethsemane resounds the cry,
The groan of agony!

First tell me why a suppliant's breath
Pour'd from a spirit divine;
And I will tell thee why I ask
A bliss I trust is mine.

My humbled spirit is content
To know that I am bid;
Nor dares to ask why I should need
To do what Jesus did.

And whilst I rest in tranquil hope
To share my Saviour's bliss,
Know that if e'er I cease to pray,
I'll cease to think me his.

by Caroline Fry

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