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The Hymn Lyrics Detective / Forum / Hymn Lyrics - Search Requests / "Thou art oft most present, Lord" Title, Copyright and Publisher Info. Request
Posted:  29 Oct 2005 20:25
Here are the three verses I have. Please respond to:

Thou art oft most present, Lord,
In weak, distracted prayer;
A sinner out of heart with self
Most often finds thee there.

For prayer that humbles, sets the soul
From all delustions free,
And teaches it how utterly
Dear Lord, it hangs on thee.

Thrice happy be the darkenss, then,
This deep in which I lie;
And blessed be all things that teach
God's dear supremacy.
Posted:  31 Oct 2005 06:49
Here is the entire poem. Words by Frederick William Faber. I believe the composition predates 1853, so it is in the public domain.

Ah dearest Lord! I cannot pray,
My fancy is not free;
Unmannerly distractions come,
And force my thoughts from Thee.

The world that looks so dull all day
Glows bright on me at prayer,
And plans that ask no thought but then
Wake up and meet me there.

All nature one full fountain seems
Of dreamy sight and sound,
Which, when I kneel, breaks up its deeps,
And makes a deluge round.

Old voices murmur in my ear,
New hopes start to life,
And past and future gaily blend
In one bewitching strife.

My very flesh has restless fits;
My changeful limbs conspire
With all these phantoms of the mind
My inner self to tire.

I cannot pray; yet, Lord! Thou knowst
The pain it is to me
To have my vainly struggling thoughts
Thus torn away from Thee.

Sweet Jesus! teach me how to prize
These tedious hours when I,
Foolish and mute before Thy Face,
In helpless worship lie.

Prayer was not meant for luxury,
Or selfish pastime sweet;
It is the prostrate creature's place
At his Creator's Feet.

Had I, dear Lord! no pleasure found
But in the thought of Thee,
Prayer would have come unsought, and been
A truer liberty.

Yet Thou art oft most present, Lord!
In weak distracted prayer:
A sinner out of heart with self
Most often finds Thee there.

For prayer that humbles sets the soul
From all illusions free,
And teaches it how utterly,
Dear Lord! it hangs on Thee.

The heart, that on self-sacrifice
Is covetously bent,
Will bless Thy chastening hand that makes
Its prayer its punishment.

My Saviour! why should I complain
And why fear aught but sin?
Distractions are but outward things;
Thy peace dwells far within.

These surface-troubles come and go,
Like rufflings of the sea;
The deeper depth is out of reach
To all, my God, but Thee.

There may be other variations out there. Hope this helps somewhat.

God bless,
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