C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Prayer is the voice of faith.


Prayer is the spirit speaking truth to Truth.


Prayer purifies: it is a self-preached sermon.


Prayer flies where the eagle never flew.

Thomas Guthrie.

Our prayers are the shadows of mercy.


Solicitude is the audience-chamber of God.


Prayer ardent opens heaven.


Making their lives a prayer.


The church converteth the whole world by blood and prayer.

Martin Luther.

  • The saints will aid if men will call:
  • For the blue sky bends over all.
  • Coleridge.

    How can He grant you what you do not desire to receive?

    St. Augustine.

    Prayer moves the hand which moves the world.

    J. A. Wallace.

    God’s pleasure is at the end of our prayers.


    Oh, happy vantage of a kneeling knee!


    No man ever prayed heartily without learning something.


    Labor, you know, is prayer.

    Bayard Taylor.

    He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea.


    The few that pray at all pray oft amiss.


    Prayer is a virtue that prevaileth against all temptations.


    Let me say amen betimes, lest the devil cross my prayers.


    Well, if my wind were but long enough to say my prayers, I would repent.


  • In prayer the lips ne’er act the winning part
  • Without the sweet concurrence of the heart.
  • Herrick.

    Let us pray! God is just, he tries us; God is pitiful, he will comfort us; let us pray.

    Joseph Roux.

    Battering the gates of heaven with storms of prayer.


    Prayer is the chief thing that man may present unto God.


  • My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
  • Words, without thoughts, never to heaven go.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Let never day nor night unhallow’d pass,
  • But still remember what the Lord hath done.
  • Shakespeare.

    Trouble and perplexity drive me to prayer, and prayer drives away perplexity and trouble.


    Our prayers should be for a sound mind in a healthy body.


    Prayer is the breath of a new-born soul, and there can be no Christian life without it.

    Rowland Hill.

    A life of prayer is a life whose litanies are ever fresh acts of self-devoting love.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Prayer is a powerful thing; for God has bound and tied himself thereunto.

    Martin Luther.

  • Who goes to bed, and doth not pray,
  • Maketh two nights to every day!
  • Herbert.

    Nature with folded hands seemed there, kneeling at her evening prayer.


    A prayer, in its simplest definition, is merely a wish turned heavenward.

    Phillips Brooks.

    It lightens the stroke to draw near to Him who handles the rod.

    Washington Irving.

    In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.


    Prayer is the pulse of the renewed soul; and the constancy of its beat is the best test and measure of the spiritual life.

    Octavius Winslow.

    Embark in no enterprise which you cannot submit to the test of prayer.

    Hosea Ballou.

    Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.


  • I was not born for courts or great affairs;
  • I pay my debts, believe, and say my prayers.
  • Pope.

    Affliction teacheth a wicked person some time to pray: prosperity, never.

    Ben Jonson.

    Religion is no more possible without prayer than poetry without language, or music without atmosphere.

    James Martineau.

    Happy are they who freely mingle prayer and toil till God responds to the one and rewards the other.

    S. Irenæus Prime.

    A Christian will find his parenthesis for prayer, even through his busiest hours.


    Prayers are but the body of the bird; desires are its angel’s wings.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Let prayer be the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.

    Matthew Henry.

  • And Satan trembles when he sees
  • The weakest saint upon his knees.
  • Cowper.

    A single grateful thought towards heaven is the most complete prayer.


    Heaven is never deaf but when man’s heart is dumb.


    The gift of prayer is not always at our command.


    The simple heart that freely asks in love, obtains.


    Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance, but taking hold upon God’s willingness.

    Phillips Brooks.

    Expect an answer. If no answer is desired, why pray? True prayer has in it a strong element of expectancy.

    R. M. Offord.

    In extemporary prayer, what men most admire God least regardeth.

    Thomas Fuller.

    When we pray to God with entire assurance, it is Himself who has given us the spirit of prayer.

    St. Cyprian.

    Every praying Christian will find that there is no Gethsemane without its angel.


    I desire no other evidence of the truth of Christianity than the Lord’s Prayer.

    Mme. de Staël.

    Ah, what is it we send up thither, where our thoughts are either a dissonance or a sweetness and a grace?

    George MacDonald.

    He who prays without confidence cannot hope that his prayers will be granted.


    The Lord’s Prayer contains the sum total of religion and morals.


  • Though I am weak, yet God, when prayed,
  • Cannot withhold his conquering aid.
  • Emerson.

    Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.


    If He prayed who was without sin, how much more it becometh a sinner to pray!

    St. Cyprian.

    They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright.


  • All his mind is bent to holiness,
  • To number Ave-Maries on his beads.
  • Shakespeare.

    ’Tis heaven alone that is given away; ’tis only God may be had for the asking.


    The upward glancing of an eye when none but God is near.


    Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remembered!


    Pray not too often for great favors, for we stand most in need of small ones.

    J. L. Basford.

    So much of our lives is celestial and divine as we spend in the exercise of prayer.


    Ejaculations are short prayers darted up to God on emergent occasions.


    All places are the temple of God, for it is the mind that prays to him.


    Prayer in not conquering God’s reluctance, but taking hold of God’s willingness.

    Phillips Brooks.

    It is so natural for a man to pray that no theory can prevent him from doing it.

    James Freeman Clarke.

    He that loveth little prayeth little; he that loveth much prayeth much.

    St. Augustine.

    Patience and perseverance are never more thoroughly Christian graces than when features of prayer.

    S. Irenæus Prime.

  • O, still my fervent prayer will be,
  • “Heaven’s choicest blessing rest on thee.”
  • Miss Gould.

    So a good prayer, though often used, is still fresh and fair in the ears and eyes of heaven.


  • More things are wrought by prayer
  • Than this world dreams of.
  • Tennyson.

  • He prayeth best who loveth best
  • All things, both great and small.
  • Coleridge.

    Prayer is to religion what thinking is to philosophy. To pray is to make religion.


    Like an echo from a ruined castle, prayer is an echo from the ruined human soul of the sweet promise of God.

    Wm. Arnot.

    Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.


    The first petition that we are to make to Almighty God is for a good conscience, the next for health of mind, and then of body.


    He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.


    God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.


    Cold prayers shall never have any warm answers. God will suit His returns to our requests. Lifeless services shall have lifeless answers. When men are dull, God will be dumb.

    Thomas Brooks.

    Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.


    Prayer is so mighty an instrument that no one ever thoroughly mastered all its keys. They sweep along the infinite scale of man’s wants and God’s goodness.

    Hugh Miller.

  • Rather let my head
  • Stoop to the block than these knees bow to any
  • Save to the God of heaven and to my king.
  • Shakespeare.

    A good man’s prayers will from the deepest dungeon climb heaven’s height, and bring a blessing down.

    Joanna Baillie.

    Prayer is the act by which man, detaching himself from the embarrassments of sense and nature, ascends to the true level of his destiny.

    H. P. Liddon.

    Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while the one ascends, the other descends.

    Bishop Hopkins.

    Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies.

    Westminster Catechism.

  • If you bethink yourself of any crime
  • Unreconcil’d as yet to heaven and grace,
  • Solicit for it straight.
  • Shakespeare.

    Prayers are heard in heaven very much in proportion to our faith. Little faith will get very great mercies, but great faith still greater.


    Between the humble and contrite heart and the majesty of heaven there are no barriers; the only password is prayer.

    Hosea Ballou.

    The best and sweetest flowers of paradise God gives to His people when they are upon their knees. Prayer is the gate of heaven.

    Thomas Brooks.

    Let our prayers, like the ancient sacrifices, ascend morning and evening; let our days begin and end with God.


    Prayer is so necessary, and the source of so many blessings, that he who has discovered the treasure cannot be prevented from having recourse to it, whenever he has an opportunity.


    Prayer is the wing wherewith the soul flies to heaven, and meditation the eye wherewith we see God.

    St. Ambrose.

    Good prayers never come creeping home. I am sure I shall receive either what I ask or what I should ask.

    Bishop Hall.

  • Our vows are heard betimes! and Heaven takes care
  • To grant, before we can conclude the prayer.
  • Dryden.

    Leave not off praying to God: for either praying will make thee leave off sinning; or continuing in sin will make thee desist from praying.


    The protection of God cannot, without sacrilege, be invoked but in behalf of justice and right.


    For earthly blessings, moderate be thy prayer, and qualified: for light, for strength, for grace, unbounded thy petition.

    Hannah More.

    For the most part, we should pray rather in aspiration than petition, rather by hoping than requesting.

    Leigh Hunt.

    Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knee.

    Victor Hugo.

    Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian’s weapon, which no man knows or finds but only he who has the spirit of grace and of prayer.

    Martin Luther.

    The universal and insuperable instinct which leads man to prayer is in harmony with this great fact: he who believes in God cannot but have recourse to Him and to pray to Him.


    The habit of prayer communicates a penetrating sweetness to the glance, the voice, the smile, the tears,—to all one says, or does, or writes.

    Joseph Roux.

  • Any heart turned Godward feels more joy
  • In one short hour of prayer, than e’er was raised
  • By all the feasts of earth since its foundation.
  • P. J. Bailey.

    When we pray for any virtue, we should cultivate the virtue as well as pray for it; the form of your prayers should be the rule of your life; every petition to God is a precept to man.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Prayer is innocence’s friend; and willingly flieth incessant ’twixt the earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven.


    To pray together, in whatever tongue or ritual, is the most tender brotherhood of hope and sympathy that men can contract in this life.

    Mme. de Staël.

    For spiritual blessings, let our prayers be importunate, perpetual and persevering; for temporal blessings, let them be general, short, conditional and modest.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.


    Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.


  • Now I lay me down to take my sleep,
  • I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep;
  • If I should die before I wake,
  • I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.
  • New England Primer.

    Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.


  • And if by prayer
  • Incessant I could hope to change the will
  • Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
  • To weary Him with my assiduous ones.
  • Milton.

  • To pray,***is to desire; but it is to desire what God would have us desire.
  • He who desires not from the bottom of his heart, offers a deceitful prayer.
  • Fénelon.

  • Not what we wish, but what we want,
  • Oh! let thy grace supply,
  • The good unask’d, in mercy grant;
  • The ill, though ask’d, deny.
  • Merrick.

  • Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
  • And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me,
  • Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
  • And lift my soul to heaven.
  • Shakespeare.

  • If I am right, Thy grace impart,
  • Still in the right to stay;
  • If I am wrong, O teach my heart
  • To find that better way!
  • Pope.

  • Father of All! in every age,
  • In every clime ador’d.
  • By saint, by savage, and by sage,
  • Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
  • Pope.

  • Four things which are not in thy treasury,
  • I lay before thee, Lord, with this petition:—
  • My nothingness, my wants,
  • My sins, and my contrition.
  • Southey.

  • Pray to be perfect, though material leaven
  • Forbid the spirit so on earth to be;
  • But if for any wish thou darest not pray,
  • Then pray to God to cast that wish away.
  • Hartley Coleridge.

    Faithful prayer always implies correlative exertion; and no man can ask honestly and hopefully to be delivered from temptation, unless he has himself honestly and firmly determined to do the best he can to keep out of it.

    John Ruskin.

    What signifies the sound of words in prayer without the affection of the heart, and a sedulous application of the proper means that may naturally lead us to such an end?


    Prayer is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but compunction of soul.

    Hannah More.

  • Be not afraid to pray—to pray is right.
  • Pray, if thou canst, with hope; but ever pray,
  • Though hope be weak or sick with long delay;
  • Pray in the darkness, if there be no light.
  • Hartley Coleridge.

    Did we perfectly know the state of our own condition, and what was most proper for us, we might have reason to conclude our prayers not heard if not answered.

    William Wake.

  • Pray thou for me. The common air
  • Will stronger, purer seem to be,
  • And all the world will grow more fair,—
  • Pray thou for me.
  • Mary Clemmer.

    No man can hinder our private addresses to God; every man can build a chapel in his breast, himself the priest, his heart the sacrifice, and the earth he treads on the altar.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Father of Light! great God of Heaven!
  • Hear’st thou the accents of despair?
  • Can guilt like man’s be e’er forgiven?
  • Can vice atone for crimes by prayer?
  • Byron.

    When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.


  • Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
  • Uttered or unexpressed,
  • The motion of a hidden fire
  • That trembles in the breast.
  • Montgomery.

    I pray thee, leave me to myself tonight; for I have need of many orisons to move the heavens to smile upon my state, which, well thou knowest, is cross and full of sin.


    The best and sweetest flowers of Paradise God gives to his people when they are upon their knees. Prayer is the gate of heaven, or key to let us in to Paradise.

    Rev. T. Brooks.

    A sad estate of human wretchedness! so weak is man, so ignorant and blind, that did not God sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request.

    Hannah More.

    Almighty Power, by whose most wise command, helpless, forlorn, uncertain, here I stand, take this faint glimmer of thyself away, or break into my soul with perfect day!


    Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of our recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • In desert winds, in midnight gloom;
  • In grateful joy, in trying pain;
  • In laughing youth, or nigh the tomb;
  • Oh! when is prayer unheard or vain?
  • Eliza Cook.

  • Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
  • The Christian’s native air;
  • His watchword at the gates of death,—
  • He enters heaven with prayer.
  • James Montgomery.

    He prays best who, not asking God to do man’s work, prays penitence, prays resolutions, and then prays deeds—thus supplicating with heart and head and hands.

    Theodore Parker.

    We should pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God; we should act with as much energy as those who expect everything from themselves.


    Prayer has a right to the word “ineffable.” It is an hour of outpourings which words cannot express,—of that interior speech which we do not articulate, even when we employ it.

    Mme. Swetchine.

    We, ignorant of ourselves, beg often our own harm, which the wise powers deny us for our good; so find we profit by losing of our prayers.


    Premeditation of thought and brevity of expression are the great ingredients of that reverence that is required to a pious and acceptable prayer.


    There is no burden of the spirit but is lightened by kneeling under it. Little by little, the bitterest feelings are sweetened by the mention of them in prayer. And agony itself stops swelling, if we can only cry sincerely, “My God, my God!”

    Wm. Mountford.

  • Then let us earnest be,
  • And never faint in prayer;
  • He loves our importunity,
  • And makes our cause His care.
  • John Newton.

    I have been driven many times to my knees, by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.

    Abraham Lincoln.

  • His pure thoughts were borne
  • Like fumes of sacred incense o’er the clouds,
  • And wafted thence on angels’ wings, through ways
  • Of light, to the bright source of all.
  • Congreve.

    Prayer among men is supposed a means to change the person to whom we pray; but prayer to God doth not change him, but fits us to receive the things prayed for.


    Each time thou wishest to decide upon performing some enterprise, raise the eyes to heaven, pray God to bless thy project; if thou canst make that prayer, accomplish thy work.

    Leopold Schefer.

  • O Thou by whom we come to God—
  • The Life, the Truth, the Way;
  • The path of prayer Thyself hast trod;
  • Lord, teach us how to pray.
  • J. Montgomery.

    We pray for trifles without so much as a thought of the greatest blessings; and we are not ashamed, many times, to ask God for that which we should blush to own to our neighbor.


    Prayer pulls the rope below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give but an occasional pluck at the rope; but he who wins with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his might.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    A certain joyful, though humble, confidence becomes us when we pray in the Mediator’s name. It is due to Him; when we pray in His name it should be without wavering. Remember His merits, and how prevalent they must be. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace.”

    Nehemiah Adams.

    “Prayer,” says St. Jerome, “is a groan.” Ah! our groans are prayers as well. The very cry of distress is an involuntary appeal to that invisible Power whose aid the soul invokes.

    Mme. Swetchine.

  • We, ignorant of ourselves,
  • Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
  • Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
  • By losing of our prayers.
  • Shakespeare.

    Accustom yourself gradually to carry prayer into all your daily occupations. Speak, move, work, in peace, as if you were, in prayer, as indeed you ought to be. Do everything without excitement, by the spirit of grace.


  • Prayer ardent opens heaven, lets down a stream
  • Of glory on the consecrated hour
  • Of man, in audience with the Deity:
  • Who worships the great God, that instant joins
  • The first in heaven, and sets his foot on hell.
  • Young.

    How happy it is to believe, with a steadfast assurance, that our petitions are heard even while we are making them; and how delightful to meet with a proof of it in the effectual and actual grant of them.


  • God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers,
  • And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face,
  • A gauntlet with a gift in ’t.
  • E. B. Browning.

    When you lie down close your eyes with a short prayer, committing yourself into the hands of your faithful Creator; and when you have done trust Him with yourself, as you must do when dying.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    The Divine Wisdom has given us prayer, not as a means whereby to obtain the good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without them; not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become strong to meet it.

    F. W. Robertson.

    It is as natural and reasonable for a dependent creature to apply to its Creator for what it needs as for a child thus to solicit the aid of a parent who is believed to have the disposition and ability to bestow what it needs.

    Archibald Alexander.

    Faith builds in the dungeon and lazarhouse its sublimest shrines; and up, through roofs of stone, that shut out the eye of heaven, ascends the ladder where the angels glide to and fro,—prayer.


  • Prayer moves the hand that moves the universe.
  • Holy beginning of a holy cause,
  • When heroes, girt for freedom’s combat, pause
  • Before high Heaven, and, humble in their might,
  • Call down its blessing on that coming fight.
  • Moore.

    O, when the heart is full, when bitter thoughts come crowding thickly up for utterance, and the poor common words of courtesy are such a very mockery, how much the bursting heart may pour itself in prayer!


    We lay it down as an elemental principle of religion, that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often and long alone with God. No otherwise can the great central idea of God enter into a man’s life, and dwell there supreme.

    Austin Phelps.

    Consider how august a privilege it is, when angels are present, and archangels throng around, when cherubim and seraphim encircle with their blaze the throne, that a mortal may approach with unrestrained confidence, and converse with heaven’s dread Sovereign! O, what honor was ever conferred like this?


  • Let one unceasing, earnest prayer
  • Be, too, for light,—for strength to bear
  • Our portion of the weight of care,
  • That crushes into dumb despair
  • One half the human race.
  • Longfellow.

  • As down in the sunless retreats of the ocean
  • Sweet flowers are springing no mortal can see,
  • So deep in my soul the still prayer of devotion
  • Unheard by the world, rises silent to Thee.
  • Moore.

  • And from the prayer of Want, and plaint of Woe,
  • O never, never turn away thine ear!
  • Forlorn, in this bleak wilderness below,
  • Ah! what were man, should Heaven refuse to hear!
  • Beattie.

    The best answer to all objections urged against prayer is the fact that man cannot help praying; for we may be sure that that which is so spontaneous and ineradicable in human nature has its fitting objects and methods in the arrangements of a boundless Providence.


  • Night comes, with love upon the breeze,
  • And the calm clock strikes, stilly, “ten!”
  • I start to hear it beat, for then
  • I know that thou art on thy knees—
  • And at that hour, where’er thou be,
  • Ascends to heaven a prayer for me!
  • Willis.

    That prayer which does not succeed in moderating our wishes—in changing the passionate desire into still submission, the anxious, tumultuous expectation into silent surrender—is no true prayer, and proves that we have not the spirit of true prayer.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Prayer is more than the mere outburst of the desires or sorrows of the soul, seeking that satisfaction or consolation which it does not find within itself. It is the expression of a faith, instinctive or reflexive, obscure or clear, wavering or steadfast, in the existence, the presence, the power and the sympathy of the Being to whom prayer is addressed.


    Are we to suppose that the only being in the universe who cannot answer prayer is that One who alone has all power at His command? The weak theology that professes to believe that prayer has merely a subjective benefit is infinitely less scientific than the action of the child who confidently appeals to a Father in heaven.

    Prof. Dawson.

  • When first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
  • To do the like; our bodies but forerun
  • The spirit’s duty. True hearts spread and heave
  • Unto their God, as flow’rs do to the sun.
  • Give him thy first thoughts then; so shalt thou keep
  • Him company all day, and in him sleep.
  • Henry Vaughan.

    Sometimes a fog will settle over a vessel’s deck and yet leave the topmast clear. Then a sailor goes up aloft and gets a lookout which the helmsman on deck cannot get. So prayer sends the soul aloft; lifts it above the clouds in which our selfishness and egotism befog us, and gives us a chance to see which way to steer.

    C. H. Spurgeon.

    True prayer is only another name for the love of God. Its excellence does not consist in the multitude of our words; for our Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask Him. The true prayer is that of the heart, and the heart prays only for what it desires. To pray, then, is to desire—but to desire what God would have us desire.


    Perfect prayers without a spot of blemish, though not one word be spoken, and no phrases known to mankind be tampered with, always pluck the heart out of the earth and move it softly, like a censer, to and fro beneath the face of heaven.

    John Weiss.

    Prayer, with our Lord, was a refuge from the storm; almost every word He uttered during that last tremendous scene was prayer; prayer the most earnest, the most urgent, repeated, continued, proceeding from the recesses of the soul, private, solitary; prayer for deliverance, prayer for strength; above everything prayer for resignation.

    William Paley.

    For the most part, we should pray rather in aspiration than petition, rather by hoping than requesting; in which spirit also we may breathe a devout wish for a blessing on others upon occasions when it might be presumptuous to beg it.

    Leigh Hunt.

  • Fountain of mercy! whose pervading eye
  • Can look within and read what passes there,
  • Accept my thoughts for thanks; I have no words.
  • My soul o’erfraught with gratitude, rejects
  • The aid of language—Lord!—behold my heart.
  • Hannah More.

    The Lord’s Prayer is short, mysterious, and, like the treasures of the spirit, full of wisdom and latent sense: it is not improper to draw forth those excellencies which are intended and signified by every petition, that by so excellent an authority we may know what it is lawful to beg of God.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    The Lord’s Prayer, for a succession of solemn thoughts, for fixing the attention upon a few great points, for suitableness to every condition, for sufficiency, for conciseness without obscurity, for the weight and real importance of its petition, is without an equal or a rival.


  • The prayer of Noah,
  • He cried out in the darkness, Hear, O God,
  • Hear Him: hear this one; through the gates of death,
  • If life be all past praying for, O give
  • To Thy great multitude a way to peace;
  • Give them to Him.
  • Jean Ingelow.

  • More things are wrought by prayer
  • Than this world dreams of. Wherefore let thy voice
  • Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
  • For what are men better than sheep or goats
  • That nourish a blind life within the brain,
  • If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
  • Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
  • Tennyson.

    Prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares and the calm of our tempest: prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity and the sister of meekness.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Nearer, my God, to Thee—
  • Nearer to Thee!
  • E’en though it be a cross
  • That raiseth me;
  • Still all my song shall be
  • Nearer, my God, to Thee,
  • Nearer to Thee!
  • Sarah Flower Adams.

  • If by prayer
  • Incessant I could hope to change the will
  • Of him who all things can, I would not cease
  • To weary him with my assiduous cries;
  • But prayer against his absolute decree
  • No more avails than breath against the wind
  • Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth:
  • Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
  • Milton.

  • We kneel, how weak; we rise, how full of power!
  • Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong,
  • Or others—that we are not always strong,
  • That we are ever overborne with care,
  • That we should ever weak or heartless be,
  • Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer,
  • And joy and strength and courage are with Thee?
  • Trench.

    The Christian life is a long and continual tendency of our hearts toward that eternal goodness which we desire on earth. All our happiness consists in thirsting for it. Now, this thirst is prayer. Ever desire to approach your Creator, and you will never cease to pray. Do not think it is necessary to pronounce many words.


  • I ask not a life for the dear ones,
  • All radiant, as others have done,
  • But that life may have just enough shadow
  • To temper the glare of the sun;
  • I would pray God to guard them from evil,
  • But my prayer would bound back to myself;
  • Ah! a seraph may pray for a sinner,
  • But a sinner must pray for himself.
  • Charles M. Dickinson.

    Prayer is the first breath of divine life; it is the pulse of the believing soul:—by prayer “we draw water with joy with the wells of salvation;” by prayer faith puts forth its energy, in apprehending the promised blessings, and receiving from the Redeemer’s fullness; in leaning on His almighty arm, and making His name our strong tower; and in overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil.

    T. Scott.

    When we pray for any virtue, we should cultivate the virtue as well as pray for it; the form of your prayers should be the rule of your life; every petition to God is a precept to man. Look not, therefore, upon your prayers as a short method of duty and salvation only, but as a perpetual monition of duty; by what we require of God we see what He requires of us.

    Jeremy Taylor.

  • Father of Light and Life! Thou Good Supreme!
  • O teach me what is good! teach me Thyself!
  • Save me from folly, vanity and vice,
  • From every low pursuit: and feed my soul
  • With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
  • Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss.
  • Thomson.

    Prayer is intended to increase the devotion of the individual, but if the individual himself prays he requires no formula; he pours himself forth much more naturally in self-chosen and connected thoughts before God, and scarcely requires words at all. Real inward devotion knows no prayer but that arising from the depths of its own feelings.

    Wilhelm von Humboldt.

  • In reverence will we speak of those who woo
  • The ear divine with clear and ready prayer;
  • And while their voices cleave the Sabbath air,
  • Know their bright thoughts are winging heavenward too.
  • Yet many a one,—“the latchet of whose shoe”
  • These might not loose—will often only dare
  • Lay some poor words between him and despair—
  • “Father, forgive! we know not what we do.”
  • Richard M. Milnes.

    We have assurance that we shall be heard in what we pray, because we pray to that God that heareth prayer, and is the rewarder of all that come unto Him; and in His name, to whom God denieth nothing; and, therefore, howsoever we are not always answered at the present, or in the same kind that we desire, yet, sooner or later, we are sure to receive even above that we are able to ask or think, if we continue to sue unto Him according to His will.

    Archbishop Usher.

    Lord! Thou art with Thy people still; they see Thee in the night-watches, and their hearts burn within them as Thou talkest with them by the way. And Thou art near to those that have not known Thee; open their eyes that they may see Thee—see Thee weeping over them, and saying, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life”—see Thee hanging on the cross and saying, “Father, forgave them, for they know not what they do”—see Thee as Thou wilt come again in Thy glory to judge them at the last. Amen.

    George Eliot.

    From the violence and rule of passion, from a servile will, and a commanding lust, from pride and vanity, from false opinion and ignorant confidence; from improvidence and prodigality, from envy and the spirit of slander; from sensuality, from presumption and from despair; from a state of temptation and a hardened spirit; from delaying of repentance and persevering in sin; from unthankfulness and irreligion, and from seducing others; from all infatuation of soul, folly and madness; from willfulness, self-love and vain ambition; from a vicious life and an unprovided death, good Lord, deliver us.

    Jeremy Taylor.

    Worship is the earthly act by which we most distinctly recognize our personal immortality; men who think that they will be extinct a few years hence do not pray. In worship we spread out our insignificant life, which yet is the work of the Creator’s hands, and the purchase of the Redeemer’s blood, before the Eternal and All-Merciful, that we may learn the manners of a higher sphere, and fit ourselves for companionship with saints and angels, and for the everlasting sight of the face of God.

    H. P. Liddon.

    As in poetry, so in prayer, the whole subject matter should be furnished by the heart, and the understanding should be allowed only to shape and arrange the effusions of the heart in the manner best adapted to answer the end designed. From the fullness of a heart overflowing with holy affections, as from a copious fountain, we should pour forth a torrent of pious, humble and ardently affectionate feelings; while our understandings only shape the channel and teach the gushing streams of devotion where to flow, and when to stop.

    Edward Payson.

    When a pump is frequently used, the water pours out at the first stroke, because it is high; but, if the pump has not been used for a long time, the water gets low, and when you want it you must pump a long while; and the water comes only after great efforts. It is so with prayer. If we are instant in prayer, every little circumstance awakens the disposition to pray, and desire and words are always ready; but, if we neglect prayer, it is difficult for us to pray, for the water in the well gets low.

    Felix Neff.

  • God grant me grace my prayers to say:
  • O God! preserve my mother dear,
  • In strength and health, for many a year;
  • And O! preserve my father too,
  • And may I pay him reverence due;
  • And may I my best thoughts employ
  • To be my parents’ hope and joy;
  • And O! preserve my brothers both
  • From evil doings, and from sloth,
  • And may we always love each other,
  • Our friends, our father, and our mother,
  • And still, O Lord, to me impart
  • An innocent and grateful heart,
  • That after my last sleep I may
  • Awake to thy eternal day! Amen.
  • Coleridge, Child’s Evening Prayer.