Sunday, December 3, 2017

I Will Pray -- Annie Cummings

Her name was Annie Cummings. She prayed…a lot. That’s about it, as far as the details about her and why she chose to stress this spiritual habit when she said “I Will Pray” in the latter decades of the 19th Century (about 1875, according to at least one hymnal).  Annie is one of the many who are virtually anonymous among hymn-writers, though their compositions have somehow survived. What she said was so complete, yet uncomplicated. There’s a pattern to what she says of this spiritual practice, and something she indicates will translate from mortal existence to the perpetual hereafter, which makes her subject one that the believer cannot ignore. Do you pray as much as Annie apparently did?

Annie Cummings is unknown, but she must have been praying for many of the same reasons that you or I might today, close to 150 years removed from her era in the last quarter-century of the 1800s. She evidently felt she wanted or needed to talk to our Creator multiple times daily – morning, mid-day, and evening. What would spur a God-believer to do so? Any number of issues might make a person feel that prayer has to be as constant as possible. Health is probably number one, right? How’s it feel when mortal existence is no longer taken for granted? The body breaks down, we all know, but that reality doesn’t make my body’s troubles any more endurable. To put it bluntly, it’s not fun feeling like a lab rat in a hospital, even if I know the medical folks are trying their best to evaluate my health precisely and diagnose a solution. It’s just that oftentimes that medicine tastes awful! Was this Annie’s situation – a personal health challenge, for herself or someone close? There are many other causes that could drive me to my knees, too. Finances, relationships, work…how many more can set to flowing the mental imagery, either ongoing, in one’s past, or anticipated in the future? That’s what Annie might have been driving at with her first three verses, as a believer manages life daily as the sun rises in the sky, beats over us at noon while we make a living and go about the routines of life, and then sets to mark our day’s end.  But, Annie didn’t stop there. She causes us to consider, if He has us praying here and now, is that a habit that He wants to stop? Will I pray in eternity, too (verse 4)?

If it’s a spiritual habit today, this talking and sharing with God, drawing near to Him, why would I want it to stop when I die? Was ‘life’s glad morning’ (v.4) far off for Annie? Or, rather for someone she knew? ‘Pray unceasingly’, He says. And, when I know others are interceding for me, I also find that this praying draws me closer to others here, who share what I’m experiencing, who will be where I’m heading. He’s there, and so will these fellow prayer-travelers, us who urge each other forward and upward with our mutual entreaties each day. Annie was probably on to something, don’t you think?
 See the following two websites for mention of the composer, but which lack any biographical information on her:

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