Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayers

Full Text

1 Spirit divine, attend our prayers,
And make this house Thy home;
Descend with all Thy gracious powers,
Oh, come, great Spirit, come!

2 Come as the light; to us reveal
Our emptiness and woe:
And lead us in those paths of life
Where all the righteous go.

3 Come as the fire, and purge our hearts
Like sacrificial flame;
Let our whole soul an offering be
To our Redeemer's Name.

4 Come as the dove, and spread Thy wings,
The wings of peaceful love;
And let Thy Church on earth become
Blest as Thy Church above.

5 Spirit divine, attend our prayers;
Make a lost world Thy home;
Descend with all Thy gracious powers,
Oh, come, great Spirit, come!


The Hymnal: revised and enlarged as adopted by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the year of our Lord 1892

Author: Andrew Reed

Reed, Andrew, D.D., son of Andrew Reed, was born in London on Nov. 27, 1787, and educated for the Congregational Ministry at Hackney College, London. He was first the pastor of the New Road Chapel, St. George's-in-the-East, and then of the Wycliffe Chapel, which was built through his exertions in 1830. His degree was conferred by Yule College, America. He died Feb. 25, 1862. As the founder of "The London Orphan Asylum," "The Asylum for Fatherless Children," “The Asylum for Idiots” "The Infant Orphan Asylum," and "The Hospital for Incurables," Dr. Reed is more fully known, and will be longer remembered than by his literary publications. His Hymn Book was the growth of years. The preparation began in 1817, when he published a Supplement… Go to person page >


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

Spirit Divine, attend our prayer. A. Reed. [Whitsuntide.] This hymn appeared, unsigned, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, in the Evangelical Magazine for June 1829, with the heading, "Hymn to the Spirit. Sung on the late Day appointed for solemn Prayer and Humiliation in the Eastern District of the Metropolis". From the April number of the same magazine we find that the "Day appointed for Solemn Prayer," &c, was the Good Friday of that year, and that it was "cordially recommended . . . " as a day of humiliation and prayer, with a view to promote, by the divine blessing, a revival of religion in the British churches," by the Board of Congregational Ministers, resident in and about London, whose recommendation is dated "Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1829." The hymn was republished in Dr. Reed's Hymn Book, 1842; and again, in the Wyliffe Chapel Supply 1872. It is the most widely known of Dr. Reed's hymns, and is in extensive use. It is one of his best productions.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Spirit Divine, attend our prayer, p. 1074, ii. The form of this hymn most generally adopted in modern American collections is that rewritten by S. Longfellow, and I included in Longfellow and Johnson's Hymns of the Spirit, 1864. It is No. 67 in The Pilgrim Hymnal, 1904.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, New Supplement (1907)



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 1820…

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