Words by: William W. Walford (1772-1850)

Music by:  William B. Bradbury (1816-1868)

William Walford (1772-1850) was a lay preacher in England who owned a trinket shop. Being blind, he asked another visiting pastor (Thomas Salmon) to write down a poem he had been composing in his mind. Three years later when Salmon was visiting the United States, he showed it to the editor of the New York Observer. It was published September 13, 1845. In 1859 it appeared in a Baptist hymnal.

William Bradbury

In 1861, the tune we use was made for the poem and called "Sweet Hour" by William Bradbury (1816-1868). He wrote the music to many hymns still used today. Some of the hymns he wrote are: 

  • "Depth of Mercy"
  • "The Solid Rock"
  • "He Leadeth Me"
  • "Jesus Loves Me"
  • "Just as I am."



Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy,  William L. Simon, editor.   Montreal, QC:  The Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd, 1975.

Hymns of Glorious Praise, Springfield, Missouri:  Gospel Publishing House, 1969.

William B. Bradbury (1816-1868)

LYRICS:  Sweet Hour of Prayer

  • Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    That calls me from a world of care,
    And bids me at my Father’s throne
    Make all my wants and wishes known.
    In seasons of distress and grief,
    My soul has often found relief,
    And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
    By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
  • Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
    Of those whose anxious spirits burn
    With strong desires for thy return!
    With such I hasten to the place
    Where God my Savior shows His face,
    And gladly take my station there,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
  • Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
    Thy wings shall my petition bear
    To Him whose truth and faithfulness
    Engage the waiting soul to bless.
    And since He bids me seek His face,
    Believe His Word and trust His grace,
    I’ll cast on Him my every care,
    And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!