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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. ()
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: ; ; , ; ; ;
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—

Psalm 86

A Psalm of Supplication and Trust.
A Prayer of David.
1 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me;
For I am afflicted and needy.
2 Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;
O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
3 Be gracious to me, O Lord,
For to You I cry all day long.
4 Make glad the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
And give heed to the voice of my supplications!
7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You,
For You will answer me.
8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord,
Nor are there any works like Yours.
9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And they shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God.
11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.
13 For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,
And a band of violent men have sought my life,
And they have not set You before them.
15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.
16 Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.
17 Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 86:title–17). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Psalms Commentary--James Montgomery Boice

Characteristic of David, it is an appeal for mercy based on the character of God.
The psalm is filled with petitions, at least fifteen of them, but they are variants of this one idea. It is found throughout, explicitly in verses , , and . Verse says, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.” Verse reads, “Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.” Verse pleads, “Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.”
Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (pp. 701–702). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
The outline of the psalm is fairly straightforward. It consists of a lament (vv. ), praise (vv. ), prayer (vv. ), and final petition (vv. ). Yet these elements overlap in the psalm’s four sections, and for that reason the best way to get into the psalm is by focusing on its most important ideas. These are (1) David’s relationship to God, (2) David’s requests of God, (3) the reasons God should answer his requests, and (4) the most important characteristic of God from the point of the psalmist’s need, mercy.
Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (p. 702). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
David makes fifteen requests, as I mentioned earlier. He asks God to: “hear” and “answer” (v. ), “guard” and “save” (v. ), “have mercy” (v. ), “bring joy” (v. ), “hear” and “listen” (v. ), “teach me” and “give me an undivided heart” (v. ), “turn,” “have mercy,” “gran.… strength,” and “save” (v. ), and “give me a sign of your goodness” (v. ).
Most of these requests have to do with his perilous circumstances, which he develops in the last stanza. We may remember that there is hardly a psalm of David’s that does not mention his enemies and ask God’s help in delivering him from their attacks and stratagems.
But in the midst of these many requests for deliverance from his ever-present enemies there is a remarkable stanza in which David also prays that God will teach him his “way” and give him an “undivided heart” (vv. ). This is the key to David’s greatness. Most of us, when we pray, are concerned about deliverance and help and guidance and such things. But we are not nearly as concerned to be taught God’s way and to be helped to serve him with an undivided heart. In other words, we want the blessings of salvation without the duties. We want prosperity and personal safety while we nevertheless go our own way. David was not like this. He knew his heart, how prone he was to wander from God. But he also knew he needed to go in God’s way if he was to prosper spiritually. So he asks God for this great blessing.
Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (p. 703). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Four Points of Application
The mercy of God is such a tremendous and all-embracing theme that it applies to virtually every area of life. There are four applications that we cannot afford to miss.
1. We need mercy if we are to be saved. This can never be said enough, simply because we do not think this way naturally. We think in terms of justice, supposing ourselves to be deserving. But we are not deserving. If we are to be saved, we must not plead our desserts but God’s mercy. Israel needed mercy. Moses and David needed mercy. We need mercy. Apart from mercy we will perish.
2. God is a God of mercy. Here is the good news. God is a God of mercy. True, he is also a God of justice and wrath. Sin will be punished. The wrath of God will be made known along with his other great attributes. But God emphasizes mercy. He offers mercy. To find mercy we must come to him on the basis of the shed blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to be our Savior. The mercy of God is seen at the cross of the Savior more than at any other place. It is the ultimate expression of mercy and the means by which God saves.
3. We can appeal to mercy. The mercy of God is not compelled in any way. Otherwise it would not be mercy. But that does not suggest that we cannot appeal to it. We can. Indeed, the Scriptures are full of such appeals. Our psalm is one example. The Scriptures even tell us that it is through appeals to mercy that mercy may be found.
Remember the tax collector in Jesus’ story. He knew he was a sinner. So he did not come to God to remind God of his ethical attainments, as the Pharisee did. He stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. Instead he beat his breast, a sign of genuine remorse or repentance, and prayed, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus’ judgment was that “this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (). Who are those who receive mercy? They are those who ask God for it. They are those who turn from their own self-sufficiency and trust Jesus. This is the only way the children of God are made known.
4. We can proclaim God’s mercy to others. God is sovereign in salvation. He has mercy on whom he wills to have mercy and has compassion on whom he wills to have compassion. But God is also a merciful God, and there is nothing in the Bible to hinder us from saying this as forcefully as we can. His very name is Mercy. Because his name is Mercy, we can assure others that if they will come to him through faith in Jesus Christ, which is how he has made his mercy possible as well as known, they will find it. God has never turned a deaf ear to one who has truly asked for mercy. He has never rejected anyone who has believed on Jesus Christ
Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 42–106: An Expositional Commentary (pp. 706–707). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
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