Posted by: rcottrill | March 3, 2014

For You I Am Praying

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Words: Samuel O’Malley Gore Cluff (b. _____, 1837; d. _____, 1910)
Music: Ira David Sankey (b. Aug. 28, 1840; d. Aug. 13, 1908)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Graphic Cluff TombstoneNote: Little is known of the author of this gospel song text. He was an Anglican pastor in Ireland, who eventually joined the Plymouth Brethren. According to the Cyber Hymnal he composed about a thousand songs, as well as some oratorios.

Based on information on his tombstone, he was married to Ruth Blake Edge, nine years younger. She died in 1922. The inscription identifies three children, Joseph, Ruth, and Thomas. (The tombstone, seen to the left, is near an iconic round tower that was part of a Celtic monastery site from the sixth century.)

The present song is called either For You I Am Praying, or I Am Praying for You. It was published as a poem in 1860. When Sankey saw it, in 1874, he set it to music. This was the second time Ira Sankey did that. The first poem he provided a tune for was The Ninety and Nine. Most hymn books use the first four stanzas of the present hymn. The fifth, which may seem a little redundant after the fourth, says:

CH-5) Speak of that Saviour, that Father in heaven,
That harp, crown, and robe which are waiting for you–
That peace you possess, and that rest to be given,
Still praying that Jesus may save them with you.

W e see the pleading Saviour in Revelation 3:20, standing at the door of the worldly Laodicean church, seeking entry. Whether this can be construed as an appeal to trust Him for personal salvation has been debated, but the verse does say, “if anyone…” And we know from John 1:12 that receiving Him is a way of describing putting one’s faith in Christ (cf. Col. 2:6).

This plea, an invitation to trust in the Saviour, is extended by believers, on the Lord’s behalf:

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God….We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain….Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 5:20–6:2; ).

CH-1) I have a Saviour, He’s pleading in glory,
A dear, loving Saviour though earth friends be few;
And now He is watching in tenderness o’er me;
And oh, that my Saviour were your Saviour, too.

For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
For you I am praying,
I’m praying for you.

CH-2) I have a Father; to me He has given
A hope for eternity, blessèd and true;
And soon He will call me to meet Him in heaven,
But, oh, that He’d let me bring you with me, too!

Paul asked the Ephesian Christians to pray for him, “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph. 6:19-20).

We see the urgency and zeal of that appeal in Paul, the converted Jewish Pharisee. He says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). He even goes to this extent, revealing his inner longing for the Jews: that, if it were possible, he would even give up his own salvation to see them come to Christ.

“I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:2-3).

How many of us labour regularly and passionately in prayer for the unsaved, especially for those whom we know personally? And what are we doing to present the gospel to them?

CH-4) When Jesus has found you, tell others the story,
That my loving Saviour is your Saviour, too;
Then pray that your Saviour may bring them to glory,
And prayer will be answered–‘twas answered for you!

Philip Bliss was not only a prominent gospel song writer, he had a wonderful singing voice and was involved in evangelistic meetings as a soloist. When he sang this song as an invitation hymn, he made it his own prayer that the unsaved who were present would come to Christ. He sometimes added a stanza of his own to the hymn and sang:

And Jesus is calling, how can you reject Him?
He says He loves sinners, so then He loves you.
O, friend, do believe it, arise and accept Him,
Give Jesus your heart while I’m praying for you.

Questions:
1) What are the strengths and weaknesses of evangelism in the twenty-first century?

2) How can we improve in the task of fulfilling the Great Commission?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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