1 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.
2 I need thee every hour,
stay thou near by;
temptations lose their power
when thou art nigh. [Refrain]
3 I need thee every hour,
in joy or pain;
come quickly, and abide,
or life is vain. [Refrain]
4 I need thee every hour;
teach me thy will,
and thy rich promises
in me fulfill. [Refrain]
Source: Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #113
|First Line:||I need Thee every hour, Most gracious Lord|
|Title:||I Need Thee Every Hour|
|Author:||Annie S. Hawks (1872)|
|Author (refrain):||Robert Lowry (1872)|
|Meter:||126.96.36.199 with refrain|
|Refrain First Line:||I need Thee, oh, I need Thee|
The stanzas of this hymn were written by a housewife, Annie S. Hawks, in 1872. She belonged to the church where Robert Lowry was pastor, and she showed him her poem. Lowry wrote the lyrics of the refrain. The song was first sung publicly at the 1872 meeting of the National Baptist Sunday School Association in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its first publication was in 1873 in a Sunday School hymnbook compiled by Lowry and William H. Doane, Royal Diadem for the Sunday School.
The first line of each stanza is identical. There are slight variances on which of the original five stanzas are included in hymnals. Some contain all five, while others omit one stanza, usually either the fourth (second line “teach me thy will”) or the fifth (second line “Most Holy One”).
The theme of the text is our constant need for God's presence. The first four stanzas each deal with a particular part of life, and the fifth stanza intensifies the plea that we truly become disciples of Christ.
When his parishioner, Annie Hawks, showed him her hymn, Robert Lowry wrote the tune NEED, to which this hymn is always sung. His widow wanted the tune called I NEED THEE EVERY HOUR, but hymnal editors usually shorten the name.
This tune is short and simple. It has a repeating rhythmic pattern that makes it easy to learn, and its range is within a octave.
This hymn can be used whenever a hymn of devotion is needed. It could be used as a prelude, offertory, or choral anthem to provide the congregation with a time for reflection and silent prayer. Mark Hayes has written two medley settings including “I Need Thee Every Hour” that are suitable for contemporary or blended worship services. One is “Draw Me Close/I Need Thee Every Hour,” a combination of a contemporary worship song and this hymn, that is flexible enough for a variety of musical resources. Try this anthem with any vocal ensemble of youth or adults and an accompaniment varying from just the piano to the whole praise team. Another combination is the gospel song “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” with “I Need Thee Every Hour” for choir and piano, with optional rhythm parts. For more traditional services, piano solo settings of “I Need Thee Every Hour” are included in the collections “Gospel Hymns We Love” and “Hymnprovisations.”
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org