Daily Devotion 22 April 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Psalm 86 ‘A Prayer for Help’

1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.

Annie Sherwood Hawks (1888-1918),
an American poet and hymn-writer
who wrote ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ in 1873.

I Need Thee Every Hour

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 Saviour, I come to thee.

I need thee every hour, stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their power 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 fulfil.

This hymn, one of 400 that Annie Hawks wrote has always been a favourite of mine. I found the background to the writing of it an inspiration. Annie Hawks herself 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”

She took the poem to her minister, who added the refrain, composed the music and it soon became a popular classic. Or, more poetically in Hawks’ words, “it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy”. The verses suggest that we are all in constant need of our Saviour come what may. The present unusual situation where the normal routines of life have been negated seem to highlight that we all need God every hour more than ever. The way in which Emmanuel folk are rallying together during these difficult days is a cause for great rejoicing and thanksgiving.

Prayer:
Loving Lord, we come into your presence with thanksgiving for all that you mean to us. Although we are often alone and unable to participate in our usual activities, we continue to love you and acknowledge you as Lord.

We pray for all who are unwell and distressed during this difficult period, and give thanks for all volunteers and hospital staff who are under tremendous stress, and pray that they may be given as much support as possible. We pray for inspired leadership at the highest level, and give thanks for all who lead us through these days. Amen.

Image freely available online.
Quotes out of copyright.
Reflection and Prayer © 2020 Derek Scott.

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356