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Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy word

Representative Text

1 Lord, keep us steadfast in your Word;
curb those who by deceit or sword
would seek to overthrow your Son
and to destroy what he has done.

2 Lord Jesus Christ, your pow'r make known,
for you are Lord of lords alone;
defend your Christendom that we
may sing your praise eternally.

3 O Comforter of priceless worth,
send peace and unity on earth;
support us in our final strife
and lead us out of death to life.

Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #862

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 2 = John 17:11

In 1541 the Turkish army was threatening to take Vienna. The German rulers called for special prayers for safety from these Islamic forces. Martin Luther (PHH 336) responded to this request by writing the original German text ("Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort") for a prayer service in Wittenberg. Convinced that the church was threatened not only by the Turkish army of Sultan Suleiman but also by the Roman Catholic Pope, Luther began his text as follows (English translation):

Lord, keep us in thy Word and work,
Restrain the murderous Pope and Turk,
Who fain would tear from off thy throne
Christ Jesus, thy beloved Son.

After these threats to the church subsided, the text was altered: it eliminated the reference to the Pope and Turk and referred generally to all enemies of the Word. The text was published in Low German in the Magdeburg Gesangbuch (1542) and in High German in Joseph Klug's Geistliche Lieder (1543). The English translation by Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) was published in her Chorale Book for England (1863).

The text is a fervent prayer in song cast into a Trinitarian mold. As we sing, we pray that God the Father will keep his kingdom from the powers of evil (st. 1), that God the Son will rule the church (st. 2), and that God the Spirit will bring peace and unity on earth and will support us in our "final [earthly] strife," the doorway to eternal life (st.3).

Liturgical Use:
In times of war and persecution that affect us or, perhaps more commonly, in solidarity with other people who experience such turmoil; as a prayer hymn before the proclamation of God's Word; peace services.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



The Cyber Hymnal #3847
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #598
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)


Instances (1 - 13 of 13)

Ambassador Hymnal #260


Christian Worship (1993) #203

TextPage Scan

Christian Worship #862

TextPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #589

TextAudioPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Worship #517


Lutheran Service Book #655

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Lutheran Worship #334


One and All Rejoice #264

Text InfoTune InfoTextAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #598

Rejoice in the Lord #615


The Cyber Hymnal #3847


Together in Song #436

TextPage Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #412

Include 65 pre-1979 instances
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