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I Need Thee
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.”
writing the lyrics, Hawks gave them to her pastor, Robert
Lowry, who added the tune and refrain.
Robert Lowry (March 12, 1826 - November 25, 1899) was an
American professor of literature, a Baptist minister and
composer of gospel hymns. Lowry studied theology at the
University at Lewisburg (now Bucknell University) and on
graduating, in 1854, became ordained as a Baptist minister. He
had charge of churches in a number of places including New York;
Brooklyn; West Chester, Pennsylvania; and New Jersey.
In 1869 he returned to Lewisburg as a faculty member (having previously
served as a professor of literature) and later went on to become its
chancellor. From 1880 until 1886 he was president of the New Jersey
Baptist Sunday School Union.
He is most
remembered as a composer of gospel music and a hymn writer, and also
worked as a music editor at the Biglow Publishing Company. He was
responsible for around 500 compositions, including "Beautiful River,"
"Nothing But the Blood," "Shall We Gather At The River?," and "How Can I
Keep From Singing?" Despite his success as a hymn writer, it was as a
preacher that Lowry would have preferred to be recognized. He once
stated: "Music, with me has been a side issue... I would rather preach a
gospel sermon to an appreciative audience than write a hymn. I have
always looked upon myself as a preacher and felt a sort of depreciation
when I began to be known more as a composer." But, however, it is as a
hymn writer that he remains renowned.
The hymn was first published at the
National Baptist Sunday School Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio,
in November 1872.
Lyrics by Annie Hawks
I need Thee every hour, most gracious
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
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.