There are a few hymns–just a few–that have been written to be sung as a petition to God immediately before the minister opens God’s Word. A favorite of mine is John Newton’s “Prayer for the Ministry of the Word.” It can be sung to any number of tunes including “Amazing Grace.” The best lines come right at the end. After asking that God would bless both the preacher and the hearers, the song concludes that if God is to do all this, “So shall the benefit be ours / And thou shalt have the praise.”
Thy promise, LORD, and thy command
Have brought us here today;
And now, we humbly waiting stand
To hear what thou wilt say.
Meet us, we pray, with words of peace,
And fill our hearts with love;
That from our follies we may cease,
And henceforth faithful prove.
Now, LORD, inspire the preacher’s heart,
And teach his tongue to speak;
Food to the hungry soul impart,
And comfort to the weak.
Furnish us all with light and power
To walk in Wisdom’s ways;
So shall the benefit be ours,
And thou shalt have the praise.