Praise waits for Thee in Zion; all tribes shall worship there
And pay their vows before Thee, O God Who hearest prayer.
Our sins rise up against us, prevailing day by day,
But Thou wilt show us mercy and take their guilt away.
How blest the ones Thou callest and bringest near to Thee,
That in Thy courts forever their dwelling place may be;
They shall within Thy temple be satisfied with grace,
And filled with all the goodness of Thy most holy place.
O God of our salvation, since Thou dost love the right,
Thou wilt an answer send us in wondrous deeds of might.
In all earth’s habitations, on all the boundless sea,
We find no sure reliance, no peace, apart from Thee.
Thy might sets fast the mountains; strength girds Thee evermore
To calm the raging peoples and still the ocean’s roar.
Thy majesty and greatness are through all lands confessed,
And joy on earth Thou sendest afar from east to west.
THE MOST HIGH A PRAYER-HEARING GOD. Psalm XLV. 2. O thou that hearest Prayer.*
.....Herein the Most High God is distinguished from false gods. The true God is the only one of this character, there is no other of whom it may be said, that he heareth prayer.....
.....he exercises his own wisdom as to the time and manner of answering prayer. Some of God's people are sometimes ready to think, that he doth not hear their prayers, because he doth not answer them at the times when they expected; when, indeed, God doth hear them, and will answer them, in the time and way to to which his own wisdom directs. The business of prayer is not to direct God, who is infinitely wise and needs not any of our directions; who knows what is best for us ten thousand times better than we, and know? what time and what way are best. It is fit that he should answer prayer, and, as an infinitely wise God, in the exercise of his own wisdom, and not ours. God will deal as a father with us, in answering our requests. But a child is not to expect that the father's wisdom be subject to his; nor ought he to desire it, but should esteem it a privilege, that the parent will provide for him according to his own wisdom.
As to particular temporal blessings, for which we pray, it is no argument that he is not a prayer-hearing God, because he bestows them not upon us: for it may be that God sees the things for which we pray not to be best for us. If so, it would be no mercy in him to bestow them upon us, but a judgment. Such things, therefore, ought always to be asked with submission to the divine will. God can answer prayer, though he bestow not the very thing for which we pray. He can sometimes better answer the lawful desires and good end we have in prayer another way. If our end be our own good and happiness, God can, perhaps, better answer that end in bestowing something else than in the bestowment of that very thing which we ask. And if the main good we aim at in our prayer be attained, our prayer is answered, though not in the bestowment of the individual thing which we sought. And so that may still be true which was before asserted, that God always hears the prayer of FAITH. God never once failed of hearing a sincere and believing prayer; and those promises forever hold good, "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you; for every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.".....
*excerpts from a sermon dated January 8, 1735-6. Preached on a fast appointed on the account of an epidemical sickness, at the eastward (of Boston).