Nor that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5
In his book The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence claimed to be as close to God while working in the kitchen as when praying in the chapel. After all the Lord is always near us, therefore wherever we are is holy ground. Annie Hawks, a housewife and mother of three from Brooklyn, New York would agree with him.
As a child Annie enjoyed dabbling with poetry. In 1857 she married Charles Hawks and they established a home in Brooklyn and joined Place Baptist Church. With the pastor’s encouragement she began writing Sunday school songs and he set many of them to music.
“I Need Thee Every Hour” was written on a bright June morning in 1872. Annie later wrote, “One day as a young wife and mother 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 without Him, either in joy or pain, these words, ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ were ushered into my mind…”
The next Sunday Annie handed the words to the pastor who quickly wrote the tune and chorus while seated at the little organ in the parsonage. Shortly thereafter if was sung for the first time at the National Baptist Sunday School Association meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio and published in hymnals the following year.
When Annie’s husband died sixteen years later, she found that her own hymn was among her greatest comforts. (I have also found this to be true for myself during hard times)She wrote, “I didn’t understand at first why this hymn had touched the hearts of humanity until the shadow fell my way. The shadow of great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words…”
Over the years Annie wrote more then four hundred hymns, though this one is the only still widely sung. And one of my personal go to hymns during long dark nights.