What shall we ask of God in prayer?
Whatever good we want;
Whatever man may seek to share,
And God in mercy grant.
Father of all our mercies, Thou
In whom we move and live,
Hear us in heaven thy dwelling now,
And answer and forgive.
When, bound with sins and trespasses,
From wrath we fain would flee,
Lord, cancel our unrighteousness,
And set the captive free.
When, harass'd by ten thousand foes,
Our helplessness we feel,
O God, the weary soul repose,
The wounded spirit heal,
When dire temptations gather round,
And threaten or allure,
By storm or calm, in Thee be found
A refuge strong and sure.
When age advances, may we grow
In faith, and hope, and love,
And walk in holiness below,
To holiness above.
When earthly joys and cares depart,
Desire and envy cease,
Be Thou the portion of our heart,
In Thee may we have peace.
When flames these elements destroy,
And worlds in judgment stand,
May we lift up our heads with joy,
And meet at Thy right hand.
Sacred Poems and Hymns
What shall we ask of God in prayer? J. Montgomery. [Prayer.] Written in 1818, and first printed on a broadsheet with Montgomery's "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire," "Lord, teach us how to pray," and "Thou, God, art a consuming fire," for use in the Nonconformist Sunday schools in Sheffield and the neighbourhood. It was included in Cotterill's Selection, 1819, No. 281, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines, and headed, "Ask and ye shall receive that your joy may be full." In Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 483, and in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 64, it was given with the change, in stanza iv., l.1 of "with" to “by”, and in 8 stanzas of 4 lines. It is usually given in an abbreviated form. In some American hymn-books a cento from this hymn is given as “Father of all our mercies, Thou."
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)