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A Time To Watch, A Time To Pray

Representative Text

1 A time to watch, a time to pray,
a day of wonders is today:
the saddest, yet the gladdest too,
that earth or heaven ever knew.

2 The saddest, for our Saviour bore
his death, that we might die no more:
the agony, the scourge, the fear,
the crown of thorns, the cross, the spear.

3 And yet the gladdest, for today
our load of sin was borne away:
and hopes of joy that never dies
hang on our Saviour's sacrifice.

4 O Saviour, how we bless your name!
Yours is the glory, ours the shame;
by all the pain your love endured
let all our many sins be cured.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #175

Author: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: A time to watch, a time to pray
Title: A Time To Watch, A Time To Pray
Author: J. M. Neale
Copyright: Public Domain


A time to watch, a time to pray. J. M. Neale. [Good Friday.] Appeared in his Hymns for Children, 1842, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, the last stanza being Bishop Ken's doxology. It is given in Mrs. Brock's Children’s Hymn Book. with the omission of the doxology, and stanza iii. line 1, "this day," for "to-day," otherwise unaltered.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #8713
  • PDF (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer Score (NWC)


Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

Ancient and Modern #175


The Cyber Hymnal #8713

Include 3 pre-1979 instances
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