Grandma, Grandpa and my dad joined the church when Dad was 11. I never met Grandpa. He passed away a couple of weeks after my dad left on his mission.
Dad asked Grandma if she’d like him to come home. I mean, she didn’t even know how to drive. He felt like he needed to look after her.
She said no.
She taught herself to drive and has been Ms. Independent ever since. My whole life, that’s what she was to me. Strong and independent.
And what does Ms. Independent pick for a hymn? I Need Thee Every Hour.
I love you, Grandma.
The lyrics to I Need Thee Every Hour were written by Annie Sherwood Hawks in 1872. Here’s what she had to say about writing it:
“One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning. 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 were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me — ‘I Need Thee Every Hour.'”
Female hymn writers in the 19th century followed a common theme. Their hymns were intimate. They spoke on a personal level that many other hymns don’t.
I really like what Dr. C. Michael Hawn at the Perkins School of Theology said about them:
“These personal devotional hymns by 19th-century women have their place. They provide glimpses into the lives of women segregated from the positions of leadership (even in the Church) by gender, leading lives separate from their spouses primarily in domestic settings, and with little or no voice in the public arena. Now, the sermons and speeches made by so many men in the public sectors of church and society have long been forgotten, but the songs of these women, whose primary arena was the relative quiet of the home, are still sung.”
Man I love that.
After she wrote the lyrics, she showed them to her pastor who was a prominent hymn writer at the time. He saw her talent and encouraged her to write more. He is also the one who wrote the music for I Need Thee Every Hour.
Now for you to understand this next part, I need to give some quick context.
Grandma has always been the genealogist of our family, a passion she passed along to my sister, Lori. Grandma’s maiden name is Lowry and most of the work she has done has been on the Lowry family line. My sister says that they haven’t been able to get further back then 1819, but Grandma has always claimed that all Lowry’s with that spelling are tied together, somehow or another.
Being 98, I have a feeling that Grandma’s eyes never let her read the fine print on I Need Thee Every Hour to see who wrote the music. I certainly hadn’t before this month.
Annie Sherwood Hawks’ pastor was…
My sister did some digging. We haven’t been able to find a direct connection yet. So for now, we’re going with what Grandma has always said:
All Lowry’s are tied together, somehow or another.
This month definitely proved that to be the case.
My arrangement of this hymn is simple. I didn’t want to complicate it too much. It’s so incredibly beautiful on it’s own. It doesn’t need much else. Just a few embellished chords here and there.
I arranged the last verse specifically for Grandma. It’s based on what Annie Hawkes said after her husband died:
“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.”
It’s been over 40 years since Grandpa passed away. Grandma never remarried. Never dated.
So I decided to play the last verse in a higher two-part harmony.
I felt like this hymn might be for more than just her.
I need thee ev’ry hour,
Most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.
I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev’ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!
I need thee ev’ry hour;
Stay thou nearby.
Temptations lose their pow’r
When thou art nigh.
I need thee ev’ry hour,
In joy or pain.
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.
I need thee ev’ry hour,
Most holy One.
Oh, make me thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son!
Sherrie Bartholomew TuckerPosted at 12:03h, 01 February
Another amazing arrangement!
MissyPosted at 13:34h, 01 February
This was just what I needed today. Thank you for sharing.
Mason P.Posted at 23:22h, 20 February
I love these hymn arrangements! I am curious if you will post the rest of the awesome arrangements in your new album, Tune My Heart. I love listening to them and would love to learn the songs! Thanks for all you do!
Bill LPosted at 21:50h, 23 February
Beautiful playing! Thanks for sharing the tab.
Joe HPosted at 18:20h, 28 November
This arrangement brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart with the spirit!! What an amazing talent and beautiful guitar player you are. Thank you for sharing the tabs!!!
Ben HowingtonPosted at 18:38h, 28 November
Thank you. I really appreciate the kind words.