Henry Graves had an appreciation of music that ran deep. He expressed his sympathy and feelings about faith in the words he wrote. Just listen to the words he wrote in the hymn, “Hear Thou My Prayer,” and you will see his passion for the Lord:
All-seeing, gracious Lord,
My heart before thee lies;
All sin of thought and life abhorred,
My soul to thee would rise.
Hear thou my prayer, O God,
Unite my heart to thee;
Beneath thy love, beneath thy rod,
From sin deliver me.”
Graves understood the depths of his sin and how far God’s salvation extended. The words he spoke in his preaching and the hymns he wrote showed his passion for the Lord.
Dr. Henry Graves, born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on September 22, 1830, grew up in church. His dad was a deacon, so he joined a Baptist church in North Sunderland, Massachusetts, when he was just a boy of fourteen years. School was important to his family, so they made great sacrifices to ensure he attended college. He also went on to study theology after graduation at Newton Theological Institution. On March 9, 1858, he was ordained and went into the gospel ministry in Charlestown, MA, Providence, RI, Fall River, MA, Haverhill, MA, and New Bedford, MA.
Graves inherited his love of music from his mother. She loved to sing and enjoyed music from the past and her own time. What was unique about Graves’ hymns was that he often wrote them with his sermon in mind and sang them at the conclusion to wrap up his thoughts. He was thought of as having a “kind heart and rare talent.” His hymns have been published in journals and collections of hymns.