How shall a contrite spirit pray

How shall a contrite spirit pray

Author: James Montgomery
Tune: OBEDIENCE (Stainer)
Published in 5 hymnals

Representative Text

How shall a contrite spirit pray,
A broken heart its griefs make known,
A weary wanderer find the way
To peace and rest?--Through Christ alone.

He died that we might die to sin;
He rose, that, we to God might rise;
By His own blood He enter'd in
The holy place beyond the skies.

There, as our great High Priest He stands,
And pleads before the Mercy-seat,
Our cause is in His faithful hands,
Our enemies beneath his feet.

Father, in Him we claim our part,
For Thy Son's sake accept us now,
In Him well-pleased Thou always art,
Well pleased with us through Him be Thou.

O look on thine anointed One;
Thy gift in Him is all our plea,
Our righteousness,--what He hath done;
Our prayer--His prayer for us to Thee.

So, while He intercedes above,
In His dear name may we believe,
And all the fulness of Thy love
Into our inmost souls receive.

Sacred Poems and Hymns

Author: James Montgomery

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: How shall a contrite spirit pray
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


How shall a contrite [sinner] spirit pray. J. Montgomery. [Lent. Prayer.] Written Sept. 15, 1840, "M. MSS.," and published in an undated edition of T. Russell's Selection of Hymns for Congregational Worship, enlarged edition with Appendix; and again in Dr. Leifchild's Original Hymns, &c, 1842, No. 76. Subsequently it was included in the author's Original Hymns, 1853, No. 73. In Common Praise, 1879, it. is given as "How shall a contrite sinner pray?" Its use, especially in its original form, is extensive.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 5 of 5)

A Church of England Hymn Book #145


Sacred Poems and Hymns #73

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The College Hymnal #183

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The Westminster Abbey Hymn-Book #130

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