Secret Prayer is a message of meditation based on the Bible and written by Hannah More (2 February 1745 – 7 September 1833) was an English religious writer and philanthropist, remembered as a poet and playwright in the circle of Johnson, Reynolds and Garrick, as a writer on moral and religious subjects, and as a practical philanthropist. Born in Bristol, she taught at a school established there by her father and began writing plays.
She became involved with the London literary elite as a leading Bluestocking member. Her plays and poetry became more evangelical and she joined a group campaigning against the slave trade. In the 1790s she wrote several Cheap Repository Tracts on moral, religious and political topics, for distribution to the literate poor. Meanwhile, she did increasing philanthropic work in the Mendip area, encouraged by William Wilberforce.
Born in 1745 at Fishponds in the parish of Stapleton, near Bristol, Hannah More was the fourth of five daughters of Jacob More (1700-1783), a schoolmaster originally from Harleston, Norfolk. He was from a strong Presbyterian family in Norfolk, but had become a member of the Church of England, and originally intended to pursue a career in the Church, but after the disappointment of losing a lawsuit over an estate he had hoped to inherit, he moved to Bristol, where he became an excise officer and was later appointed to teach at the Fishponds free school.
They were a close family and the sisters were first educated by their father, learning Latin and mathematics: Hannah was also taught by her elder sisters, through whom she learned French. Her conversational French was improved by spending time with French prisoners of war in Frenchay during the Seven Years' War. She was keen to learn, and possessed a sharp intellect she was assiduous in studying, and according to family tradition, began writing at an early age.
In 1758 Jacob established his own girls' boarding school at Trinity Street in Bristol for the elder sisters, Mary and Elizabeth to run, while he and his wife moved to Stony Hill in the city to open a school for boys. Hannah More became a pupil when she was twelve years old, and taught at the school in her early adulthood.