1 Oh Thou, before whose gracious throne
We bow our suppliant spirits down,
Thou knowest the anxious cares we feel,
And all our trembling lips would tell.
2 Avert Thy swift descending stroke,
Nor smite the shepherd of the flock,
Lest o'er the barren waste we stray,
To prowling wolves an easy prey.
3 Restore him, sinking to the grave,
Stretch out Thine arm, make haste to save;
Back to our hope and wishes give,
And bid our friend and father live.
4 Yet, if our supplications fail,
And prayers and tears can naught prevail,
Condemned on this dark desert coast
To mourn our much-loved leader lost;
5 Be Thou his strength, be Thou his stay,
Support him through the untried way;
Comfort his soul, surround his bed,
And guide him through the dreary shade.
6 Around him may Thy angels wait,
Decked with their robes of heavenly state,
To teach his happy soul to rise,
And waft him to his native skies.
Source: The Book of Worship #152
O Thou, before Whose gracious throne. [During the dangerous illness of a Minister.] The earliest date to which we have traced this hymn is the 4th edition of the Bristol Baptist Collection of Ash & Evans, 1781, where it is given in 9 stanzas of 4 lines, and is unsigned. In the 8th edition, 1801, it is signed "J— K— .” It was included in full in Rippon's Baptist Selection 1787, No. 413, but without signature. In Dobell's Selection, 1806, No. 592, it is signed "K. —Evans’s Collection" In later editions it is "K." only. This uncertainty of authorship was increased by D. Sedgwick's guesses at the meaning of “K." In one of his books annotated in manuscript we find him giving it to "John Kentish," in another to "George Keith" and so on, but in each case confessing that it was a guess only. In the Primitive Methodist Hymnal 1887, it is given to "F. Kirkham," a signature which is evidently wrong. We must subscribe it "J. K. in Ash & Evans, 1781." In modern collections the text is usually in an abbreviated form.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)