Amazing Grace Hymns

August 17

I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR

Annie S. Hawks, 1835–1918

Refrain added by Robert Lowry

In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me. (Psalm 86:7)

This deeply personal hymn came from the heart of a busy housewife and mother who had no idea of the spiritual strength that her own hastily written words would bring her later during a sorrowful time in her life.

The author, Annie S. Hawks, has left this account about the writing of her poem in 1872:

One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks. Suddenly, I became filled with the 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 full possession of me.
Sixteen years later, Mrs. Hawks experienced the death of her husband. Years after, she 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.
One of the blessings of a victorious Christian life is knowing the closeness of our Lord in every circumstance of life. Like Annie Hawks, it is so important that we develop strong spiritual lives during the peaceful hours in order that we will be able to be victorious when difficulties come, which they surely will to everyone at some time.

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord. No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee every hour; stay Thou near by. Temptations lose their pow’r when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain. Come quickly, and abide, or life is 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 blessed Son.

Refrain: I need Thee, O I need Thee; every hour I need Thee! O bless me now, my Savior—I come to Thee!

For Today: Psalm 4:1; 86; John 15:4, 5; 16:33; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 4:16

Consciously practice walking close to the Savior each hour so that whether there are times of joy or grief, He will be there to meet every need. Sing as you go meditating on the fact—

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • Psalm 4:1
  • . Psalm 86
  • . John 15:4-5
  • . John 16:33
  • . 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • . Hebrews 4:16

Amazing Grace Hymns

August 16

NEARER, MY GOD, TO THEE

Sarah R. Adams, 1805–1848

Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8 KJV)

This well-loved hymn was written by a talented and charming English woman who lived only 43 years. In spite of her delicate health, Sarah Flower Adams had an active and productive life. After a successful career on the London stage as Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth, she began to write and became widely known for her literary accomplishments. The cross mentioned in the first stanza of her hymn text may have been the physical handicaps that limited her many ambitions.

Sarah’s sister Eliza was gifted musically and often composed melodies for her sister’s poems. Together they contributed 13 texts and 62 new tunes for a hymnal that was being compiled by their pastor. One day the Rev. William J. Fox asked for a new hymn to accompany his sermon on the story of Jacob and Esau. Sarah spent much time studying Genesis 28:10–22 and within a short time completed all of the stanzas of “Nearer, My God, to Thee.” Since that day in 1840, this hymn has had an unusual history of ministering spiritual comfort to hurting people everywhere.

These lines picturing Jacob sleeping on a stone, dreaming of angels, and naming the place Bethel, meaning “the house of God,” seem to reflect the common yearning—especially in times of deep need—to experience God’s nearness and presence in a very real way.

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee! E’en tho it be a cross that raiseth me; still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Tho like the wanderer, the sun gone down, darkness be over me, my rest a stone, yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts, bright with Thy praise, out of my stony griefs. Bethel I raise; so by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky, sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly, till all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

For Today: Genesis 28:10–22; Psalm 16:7, 8; 73:28; 145:18; Jeremiah 29:13; Acts 17:27

When I seek God, He has promised to draw very close to me. What a joyful experience to know His intimate presence throughout every hour of this day. It causes me to sing—

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • Now Jacob departed from Beersheba, and went to Haran, And he came unto a certain place, and tarried there all night because the sun was down, and took of the stones of the place, and laid under his head and slept in the same place. Then he dreamed, and behold, there stood a ladder upon the earth, and the top of it reached up to heaven: and lo, the Angels of God went up and down by it. And behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land, upon the which thou sleepest, will I give thee and thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the West, and to the East, and to the North, and to the South, and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And lo, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land: for I will not forsake thee until I have performed that, that I have promised thee. Then Jacob awoke out of his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware. And he was afraid, and said, How fearful is this place? this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Then Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had laid under his head, and set it up as a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: notwithstanding the name of that city was at the First called Luz. Then Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this journey which I go, and will give me bread to eat, and clothes to put on: So that I come again unto my father’s house in safety, then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which I have set up as a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me, will I give the tenth unto theeGenesis 28:10–22
  • I will praise the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also teach me in the nights. I have set the Lord always before me: for he is at my right hand: therefore I shall not slidePsalm 16:7-8
  • As for me, it is good for me to draw near to God: therefore I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy worksPsalm 73:28
  • The Lord is near unto all that call upon him, yea, to all that call upon him in truthPsalm 145:18
  • And ye shall seek me, and find me, because ye shall seek me with all your heartJeremiah 29:13
  • That they should seek the Lord, if so be they might have groped after him, and found him, though doubtless he be not far from every one of usActs 17:27

 

Amazing Grace Hymns

August 14

TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY

William D. Longstaff, 1822 -1894

But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)

The valuable guidelines given in this hymn for living a holy life are just as pertinent for believers today as they were when William Longstaff wrote them more than a century ago. God still requires a holy lifestyle for His people. We sometimes confuse holiness with piety, which can be merely a hypocritical goodness that masks inner deceit or impurity. A truly holy or Christ-like life reveals the virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5, 6: Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. We are surrounded today by so much sham and insincerity that we are often unconsciously affected by such influences. To maintain the quality of life that God demands, we must determine to take time to develop a life that is genuinely and consistently holy in every area.

William Longstaff, though financially independent (son of a wealthy English ship owner), was a humble and devout Christian layman and a close friend and supporter of the Moody-Sankey evangelistic team that stirred England with great revival campaigns during the late 19th century. After hearing a sermon on 1 Peter 1:16—“Be ye holy, for I am holy”—with reference to the book of Leviticus from which it was originally taken, young William began to make the achievement of holiness his life’s goal. Although this was his only hymn, these words have since been an invaluable influence for sincere believers everywhere who truly desire to live a genuine Christian life:

Take time to be holy. Speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always and feed on His Word. Make friends of God’s children. Help those who are weak, forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy. The world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone. By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy. Let Him be thy guide, and run not before Him, whatever betide. In joy or in sorrow still follow thy Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy. Be calm in thy soul—Each thought and each motive beneath His control. Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

For Today: Leviticus 20:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:23, 24; 1 Timothy 1:8; Hebrews 12:14

Reflect on all of the various suggestions for holy living listed in this hymn text. Sing these truths as you go realizing you need to—

Osbeck, K. W.

EZC

  • Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holyLeviticus 20:7-8
  • Seeing then we have these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and finish our sanctification in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, And put on the new man, which after God is created unto righteousness, and true holiness. Ephesians 4:23-24
  • And we know, that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully. 1 Timothy 1:8
  • Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without the which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14