James Montgomery Statue, Sheffield

Wandering about Sheffield this summer, I came across a statue in the church yard of the cathedral. Nearby, a group of women with tattoos were enjoying the benefits of recreational cannabis. The statue transpired to be of James Montgomery, the famous hymn writer. His ‘hits’ include Hail to the Lord’s AnointedAngels from the Realms of Glory, and the one about prayer detailed below. We have sung them all at Salem, and I felt honoured to stand at the memorial of so great a man. I did not tarry long, lest the wacky-baccy begin to affect me; I took my photographs and then my leave.

Below are the words of a man deeply affected by his love for Christ and Christ’s for him. Whenever I sing or read them, I want to fall on my knees and pray thereafter.

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,

Unuttered or expressed;

The motion of a hidden fire

That trembles in the breast.


Prayer is the burden of a sigh,

The falling of a tear

The upward glancing of an eye,

When none but God is near.


Prayer is the simplest form of speech

That infant lips can try;

Prayer, the sublimest strains

That reach the Majesty on high.


Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,

The Christian’s native air,

His watchword at the gates of death;

He enters Heav’n with prayer.


Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,

Returning from his ways,

While angels in their songs rejoice

And cry, Behold, he prays!


The saints in prayer appear as one

In word, in deed, and mind,

While with the Father and the Son

Sweet fellowship they find.


Nor prayer is made on earth alone;

The Holy Spirit pleads,

And Jesus, on th’eternal throne,

For sinners intercedes.


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.