421. Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer

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
whereon the righteous go.

3 Come as the fire and cleanse our hearts
with purifying flame;
let our whole life 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.

Text Information
First Line: Spirit divine, inspire our prayer
Title: Spirit Divine, Inspire Our Prayer
Author: Andrew Reed (1829, alt.)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: CM
Scripture: Psalm 51:10-12; Ezekiel 36:26; John 16:13; Acts 2:2-3; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 3; Romans 8; Acts 2:3
Topic: Illumination; Pentecost and Holy Spirit
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: GRÄFENBERG
Composer: Johann Crüger (1647)
Meter: CM
Key: F Major


Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rom. 8:26, Eph. 3:16
st. 2 = John 16:13
st. 3 = Ps. 51:10-12, Ezek. 36:26, Acts 2:2-3

Although the text was written by Andrew Reed (b. St. Clement Danes, London, England, 1787; d. Hackney, London, 1862), 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).

The son of a watchmaker, Reed 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' (PHH 155) 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.

Liturgical Use:
Pentecost; other services of prayer for the work of the Holy Spirit.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Composed by Johann Crüger (PHH 42) 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.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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