Joseph Smith's First Prayer

When Anna asked if I knew of a great, simple arrangement of Joseph Smith's First Prayer, I couldn't think of a favorite. I sent her a text, which was sort of a joke, that said, "Probably should write one...by next week. Ha!" 
Careful what you say....
That was Sunday night. Monday morning, I sent her an audio file with a new melody that had come the night before and wouldn't leave me alone. With her encouragement, I set to work on a choral arrangement using the new melody. It was an incredible week! The music came so quickly. Pouring over this account of the First Vision was a way to "immerse [my]self in the glorious light of the Restoration" (see President Nelson's closing remarks in Oct 2019 General Conference.) What a blessing!
As I worked, I realized that I would need this arrangement for my ward choir. . . and that we needed to start it the following Sunday. 
When music comes so quickly, it is so obviously inspired. It felt like a week of revelation for me. 
To sing again and again these truths - that God lives, answers our humble prayers, and in truth, appeared with His Son to the boy, Joseph Smith, was a joy to me! It is true! It was a special joy to sing it with my children (who are often the first to hear and sing the music.) It was on everyone's mind all week and in the air of my home. What a blessing! I hope your heart is moved as mine was in the creation of this sacred work commemorating that sacred event. 
Thanks to my family for helping with the recording. That's my own 14-year old son singing the first verse.




Voicing: SATB (optional SSAA) with piano
Topics: Faith, God the Father, Joseph Smith, Prayer, Restoration of the Gospel


Lyrics: George Manwaring, 1854–1889
Music: Rachel P. Mohlman



LYRICS
Oh, how lovely was the morning!
Radiant beamed the sun above.
Bees were humming, sweet birds singing,
Music ringing thru the grove,
When within the shady woodland
Joseph sought the God of love,
When within the shady woodland
Joseph sought the God of love.

Humbly kneeling, sweet appealing—
’Twas the boy’s first uttered prayer—
When the pow’rs of sin assailing
Filled his soul with deep despair;
But undaunted, still he trusted
In his Heav’nly Father’s care,
But undaunted, still he trusted
In his Heav’nly Father’s care.

Suddenly a light descended,
Brighter far than noonday sun,
And a shining, glorious pillar
O’er him fell, around him shone,
While appeared two heav’nly beings,
God the Father and the Son,
While appeared two heav’nly beings,
God the Father and the Son.

“Joseph, this is my Beloved;
Hear him!” Oh, how sweet the word!
Joseph’s humble prayer was answered,
And he listened to the Lord.
Oh, what rapture filled his bosom,
For he saw the living God,
Oh, what rapture filled his bosom,
For he saw the living God.