I am singing for a funeral tomorrow. The gentleman who died once served as a deacon in our church. Though I didn’t know him well, I always loved to see he and his wife of more than 50 years together. They were clearly devoted to one another and my heart breaks for the pain she must be in this evening. The family chose this precious old hymn for me to sing and, as I have been practicing it today, I am touched by the timeless beauty of the lyrics. The song was written in 1872, yet the lyrics are as meaningful today as they were on the day they were written. They seemed to go well with what I wrote yesterday, so I thought I would share them. The woman who wrote the lyrics shared the history of the song…
Annie Hawks wrote:
“One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me.”
After writing the lyrics, Hawks gave them to her pastor, Robert Lowry, who added the tune and refrain. The hymn was first published at the National Baptist Sunday School Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1872. Some years later, after the death of her husband, Hawks wrote:
“I did not understand at first why this hymn had touched the great throbbing heart of humanity. It was not until long after, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words which I had been permitted to give out to others in my hour of sweet serenity and peace.”
I Need Thee Every Hour
I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.
I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.