“THE GARDEN OF PRAYER”

Wayne S. Walker

“The Lord hath heard my supplication: the Lord will receive my prayer”
(Psa. 6.9)

     INTRO.:  A song which encourages us to pray to the Lord so that He
will hear our supplication and receive our prayer by likening prayer to
being in a beautiful garden is “The Garden Of Prayer” (#79 in “Hymns for
Worship Revised”).  The text was written by Eleanor Allen Schroll
(1878-1966).  Despite much searching, I have not been able to find out
any specific information about her.  The tune was composed by James Henry
Fillmore (1849-1936).  Fillmore was a well-known music publisher among
churches of Christ and Christian Churches in the late nineteenth and
early twentieth century.

     The song was originally copyrighted and first published in 1920 by
the Fillmore Brothers Company of Cincinnati, OH, but when the copyright
was renewed, it was owned by the Lillenas Publishing Company which is a
division of the Nazarene Publishing House.  Among churches of Christ in
the twentieth century, the song was included in the 1937 “Great Songs of
the Church No. 2″ (#263) edited by E. L. Jorgenson, and has been found in
most other hymnbooks published by brethren ever since.  As a result, it
has been quite popular.

     The song mentions several benefits of prayer.

I. In stanza one, prayer is communion with God
 A. Prayer is an opportunity for us to call upon God as “Our Father, who
is in heaven”: Matt. 6.9
 B. This communion with God in prayer is identified poetically as a place
that is wondrously fair, like a garden, such as the garden of Eden where
Adam and Eve had communion with God: Gen. 2.15-17
 C. And the reason that prayer is like such a garden is because it glows
with the light of His presence; in prayer, we spiritually come into the
very presence of God Himself: Heb. 4.14-16

II. In stanza two, prayer is communication with God
 A. In prayer, we bow our knees to the Father and talk to Him, as Paul
often did: Eph. 3.14-16
 B. When we thus talk with Him, we can go with our burden and care: 1
Pet. 5:7
 C. While God does not speak directly to us in prayer, as some seem to
think, it is possible that, because our minds are focusing on Him when we
are taking our burdens and cares to Him, some portion of His word that we
have previously studied and learned may now come to the forefront of our
mind to help us with those specific problems, and we know that God always
speaks to us through His word: 2 Tim. 3.16-17

III. In a stanza not in this book, prayer is closeness with God
     “There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting–O can aught with His glory
compare?
     Just to walk and to talk with my Savior, In the beautiful garden of
prayer.”
 A. Prayer is most certainly one of those things that will help us draw
near to God that He might draw near to us: Jas. 4.8
 B. While we do not physically see God’s glory in prayer, as Moses did on
the mount, yet prayer helps us to develop a sense of His glory, the same
glory that Moses did see–cf.: Exo. 33.18-23, 34.29-35
 C. And this glory comes from walking and talking with the Savior; again,
this is not literal, but we walk and talk with Jesus when we follow in
His steps and obey His will: 1 Pet. 2.21-22, 1 Jn. 1.7

IV. In stanza four, prayer is comfort
 A. In prayer, we can gain the peace that passes all understanding: Phil.
4.6-7
 B. That is why Jesus bids us to come and meet with Him there: Matt.
7.7-8; we meet with Him in the sense that He is our Mediator, High
Priest, and Advocate: 1 Tim. 2.5, Heb. 8.1, 1 Jn. 2.1
 C. Therefore, when we truly bow before Him in humble submission to His
will, we can receive His blessings, because all spiritual blessings in
heavenly places are found in Christ: Eph. 1.3

     CONCL.:  The chorus says that Jesus opened the gates to the
beautiful garden of prayer.  This He did by His death on the cross which
makes possible our access to God (Rom. 5.1-2, Eph. 2.14-18).  It should
be obvious to almost anyone that figurative language is used throughout
the song to help us appreciate better the benefits that are available to
us in prayer.  Thus, we should seek to go as often as we possibly can to
“The Garden Of Prayer.”

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