William Cowper (1731-1800) is my favorite poet. Cowper, considered one of England’s finest poets, had a difficult life, marked by tremendous battles with chronic depression, including one attempt at suicide. He wrote some of the most beautiful hymns we often sing to this day. He wrote this hymn/poem as a prayer for the salvation and blessing of young people. I wish I had come across this poem when I was a teen! Best, Pastor Ken

Bestow, dear Lord, upon our youth,

        The gift of saving grace;

And let the seed of sacred truth

        Fall in a fruitful place.

Grace is a plant, where’er it grows,

        Of pure and heav’nly root;

But fairest in the youngest shews,

        And yields the sweetest fruit.

Ye careless ones, O hear betimes

        The voice of sovereign love!

Your youth is stain’d with many crimes,

        But mercy reigns above.

True, you are young, but there’s a stone

        Within the youngest breast;

Or half the crimes which you have done

        Would rob you of your rest.

For you the public pray’r is made,

        Oh! join the public pray’r!

For you the secret tear is shed,

        O shed yourselves a tear.

We pray that you may early prove

        The Spirit’s power to teach;

You cannot be too young to love

        That Jesus whom we preach.