The anthem was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists, Yakima, Washington, Chapter on the occasion of their Regional Convention.
The prayers we make will then be sweet indeed
If Thou the spirit give by which we pray.
Our unassisted hearts are barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works Thou art the seed,
Which quickens only when Thou say’st it may:
Unless Thou show to us Thine own true way
No one can find it, Lord! Thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into our minds
By which such virtue may be bred
That in thy holy footsteps we may tread;
The fetters of our tongues unbind,
That we may have the grace by which our songs may rise to Thee,
That we may sound thy praises everlastingly.
—Michelangelo, trans. William Wordsworth, alt.