Lead, Kindly Light is a beautiful prayer for those searching for light and hope.
Often in our world we experience periods of darkness, where it is difficult to see any hope or light around us. Blessed John Henry Newman knew this all too well when he was bedridden in Italy, as he later wrote.
Before starting from my inn, I sat down on my bed and began to sob bitterly. My servant, who had acted as my nurse, asked what ailed me. I could only answer, I have a work to do in England. I was aching to get home, yet for want of a vessel I was kept at Palermo for three weeks. I began to visit the churches, and they calmed my impatience, though I did not attend any services. At last I got off in an orange boat, bound for Marseilles. We were becalmed for whole week in the Straits of Bonifacio, and it was there that I wrote the lines, Lead, Kindly Light, which have since become so well known.
During the shadows of his own life, Newman was inspired to write the popular hymn Lead, Kindly Light, which is also a great prayer that all of us can pray during times of darkness. It is a prayer that asks God to lead us to that light and give us hope when all hope is lost.
LEAD, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that ThouShouldst lead me on.I loved to choose and see my path, but nowLead Thou me on!I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it stillWill lead me on,O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, tillThe night is gone;And with the morn those angel faces smileWhich I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
[Sometimes added]Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,Thyself hast trod,Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith,Home to my God.To rest forever after earthly strifeIn the calm light of everlasting life.