"I Need Thee Every Hour"
By: Annie S. Hawks
I need thee ev'ry hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee ev'ry hour, stay thou near by;
Temptations lose their pow'r when thou art nigh.
I need thee ev'ry hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need thee ev'ry hour, teach me thy will;
Thy promises so rich in me fulfill.
I need thee ev'ry hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.
I need thee, O I need thee;
Ev'ry hour I need thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.
The author of this deeply personal hymn of hope was a thirty-seven year old mother and homemaker. She didn't hold any place of great responsibility in her church, yet her simple and heartfelt verses have been a blessing to countless Christians over the past century.
Annie Sherwood Hawks was born in Hoosick, New York on May 28th, 1835. She loved poetry and began writing original verses when she was still in grammar school. She was successful in getting her poems published and had become a regular contributor to several newspapers by the time she was fourteen years old. Annie married Charles Hawks at the age of twenty-four, and they moved to Brooklyn, New York, where they raised three children. While she was with the children at home, the words of her famous prayer-poem, "I Need Thee Every Hour" came to her. In her writings, she recalls it this way.
"One day as a young wife and mother of
thirty-seven years of age, I was busy with my regular
household tasks during a bright June morning in 1872.
Suddenly, I became filled with a sense of nearness
to the Master, and I began to wonder how anyone
could ever live without Him, either in joy or pain.
Then, the words were ushered into my mind and
these thoughts took possession of me- 'I need Thee every hour.'"
Annie seated herself at a desk beside an open window as the words flowed into her mind. With the bright June sunshine streaming through the window, and the early summer breezes fluttering the curtains, she wrote the lines of this poem. She hadn't thought of them as a hymn, but as a poetic prayer. One day, however, she decided to show her composition to her pastor, Dr. Robert Lowry. Besides being the pastor at the Baptist church in Brooklyn, Lowry was an accomplished gospel hymn writer and had composed such gospel favorites as: "Shall We Gather at the River" and "Marching to Zion." When he read Annie Haws' poem, he saw in it the makings of another gospel hymn. Dr. Lowry added the refrain and wrote a simple melody.
The hymn was first published that same year in a pamphlet of hymns used at the National Baptist Sunday School Convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was was well-received by the delegates to the convention, and the hymn was printed in a new song book by Lowry and William Doane entitled The Royal Diadem. A few years later, when Ira Sankey and Dwight Moody held their huge evangelistic campaigns across the United States and in Great Britain, "I Need Thee Every Hour" became a popular favorite on both sides of the Atlantic. In 1888, Annie's husband Charles died, and she described the time of sorrow as a "shadow of great loss". In this dark hour her own hymn ministered to her and she wrote: "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."
Some parts taken from Hymns of Faith & Inspiration by Pamela Kennedy.
I hope you all enjoyed learning about Annie, and I hope your Lord's day was wonderful.
May you rest in God's grace and promises this week.
Yours warmly, His redemptively,
1 Peter 5:7
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.