617

Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer

Full Text

1 Spirit divine, inspire our prayer
and make our hearts your home;
descend with all your gracious power;
come, Holy Spirit, come!

2 Come as the light; reveal our need,
our hidden failings show,
and lead us in those paths of life
where all on the righteous go.

3 Come as the fire and clean our hearts
with purifying flame;
let our whole soul an offering be
to our Redeemer's name.

4 Come as the dove and spread your wings,
the wings of peace and love,
until your church on earth below
joins with your church above.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text begins with a prayer for the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (st. 1). It then uses the metaphors of light, fire, and the dove to enable us to see the Spirit's work more clearly: "Come as the light" is a prayer for illumination (st. 2); "Come as the fire" is a prayer for cleansing (st. 3); and "Come as the dove" is a prayer for peace and unity (st. 4).
 
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Since it is uniquely the work and passion of the Holy Spirit, who is “our Sanctifier by living in our hearts” (Belgic Confession, Article 9) and “by the work of the Holy Spirit [God] regenerates us and makes us new creatures, causing us to live new life and freeing us from the slavery of sin” (Belgic Confession, Article 24), we plead for his power to continue this work. The Holy Spirit restores us into God’s image “so that with our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits, so that he may be praised through us...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86). We come to know, therefore, that our growth in holy living will not occur without the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
617

Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer

Assurance

The Lord God said:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.
Brothers and sisters: In Christ, all God’s promises are “Yes.”
Hear the good news: Through Christ,
our minds and hearts are cleansed, healed, and renewed!
—based on Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Confession and Assurance to precede the singing of #617
Spirit divine, inspire our prayer, and make our hearts your home.
Come as the light, reveal our need;
Come as the fire and cleanse our hearts;
Come as the dove and spread your wings, the wings of peace and love.
Spirit divine, inspire our prayer, and make our hearts your home.  Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

A Prayer of Confession and Assurance to follow the singing of #617
Triune God, alive with power and love, we confess our hidden failings—the ones we hide from others and try to hide from you.  Descend on us by your spirit.  Cleanse our hearts with your purifying flame so that all that is mean, or hostile, or indifferent to justice may be burned away, leaving as sweet residue only your love.  Descend on us and make our hearts your home, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
617

Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer

Tune Information

Name
GRÄFENBERG
Key
F Major
Meter
8.6.8.6

Recordings

617

Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer

Hymn Story/Background

Although the text was written by Andrew Reed, it was published anonymously in the Evangelical Magazine, June 1829, with the heading "Hymn to the Spirit, Sung on the late Day appointed for solemn Prayer and Humiliation." The "late Day" referred to Good Friday of that year, which had been set aside by the Congregational clergy of London for prayer for "the renewal of religion in the British churches." The original text began "Spirit divine, attend our prayers" and had seven stanzas (st. 7 was a virtual repeat of st. 1). His stanzas 1-3 and 6 are included in modernized form.
 
The text begins with a prayer for the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts (st. 1). It then uses the metaphors of light, fire, and the dove to enable us to see the Spirit's work more clearly: "Come as the light" is a prayer for illumination (st. 2); "Come as the fire" is a prayer for cleansing (st. 3); and "Come as the dove" is a prayer for peace and unity (st. 4).
 
Composed by Johann Crüger as a setting for Paul Gerhardt's "Nun danket all’ und bringet Ehr," GRÄFENBERG was first published in the 1647 edition of Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica. The tune is arbitrarily named after a water-cure spa in Silesia, Austria, which became famous in the 1820s.
 
The rhythmic structure of Crüger's tune has been altered in most hymnals by the adoption of "gathering" notes (longer beginning notes to every phrase) in the style of British psalm tunes. Originally the second and fourth phrases began with a quarter rest and quarter note. Sing in harmony or in unison with light accompaniment suited to this prayer hymn.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The son of a watchmaker, Andrew Reed (b. St. Clement Danes, London, England, 1787; d. Hackney, London, 1862) entered that profession until he felt a call to the ministry. Educated at Hackney College, London, he became a Congregational minister in 1811. He served a flourishing congregation in St. George's-in-the-East, London (later named Wycliffe Chapel), until his retirement in 1861. Known for his administrative skills, Reed founded various charitable institutions such as the London Orphan Asylum, the Asylum for Fatherless Children, the Royal Hospital for Incurables, the Infant Orphan Asylum, and the Asylum for Idiots. He published a Supplement (1817) to Isaac Watts' hymns, which was enlarged in 1825 and called The Hymn Book; it included twenty-one hymn texts by Reed and twenty anonymous texts by Reed's wife (not properly credited until the Wycliffe Chapel Supplement of 1872). In 1842 Reed issued The Hymn Book, a compilation of his hymns as well as those by Watts and others.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Johann Crüger (b. Grossbriesen, near Guben, Prussia, Germany, 1598; d. Berlin, Germany, 1662) published his harmonization of the tune in 1658 as part of his com­plete setting of the Genevan Psalter in simple four-part chorale style with instrumental accompaniment.
 
Crüger attended the Jesuit College at Olmutz and the Poets' School in Regensburg, and later studied theology at the University of Wittenberg. He moved to Berlin in 1615, where he published music for the rest of his life. In 1622 he became the Lutheran cantor at the St. Nicholas Church and a teacher for the Gray Cloister. He wrote music instruction manuals, the best known of which is Synopsis musica (1630), and tirelessly promoted congregational singing. With his tunes he often included elaborate accom­paniment for various instruments. Crüger's hymn collection, Neues vollkomliches Gesangbuch (1640), was one of the first hymnals to include figured bass accompaniment (musical shorthand) with the chorale melody rather than full harmonization written out. It included eighteen of Crüger's tunes. His next publication, Praxis Pietatis Melica (1644), is considered one of the most important collections of German hymnody in the seventeenth century. It was reprinted forty-four times in the following hundred years. Another of his publications, Geistliche Kirchen Melodien (1649), is a collection arranged for four voices, two descanting instruments, and keyboard and bass accompaniment. Crüger also published a complete psalter, Psalmodia sacra (1657), which included the Lobwasser translation set to all the Genevan tunes.
— Bert Polman
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