Hour by Hour - Annie Sherwood Hawks

Annie Sherwood Hawks, authoress of “I Need Thee Every Hour” and numerous other popular hymns, was born May 28th, 1835, in Hoosick, New York. Though Mrs. Hawks never completed formal education, she was an avid reader, consuming a variety of materials. In her fourteenth year, her first poem was published in a Troy, New York newspaper, attracting significant attention to her genius in verse. In 1859 she was married to Charles Hial Hawks, “a man of culture and intelligence.” Together they lived in Brooklyn and became members of Hanson Place Baptist Church shortly before the arrival of Dr. Robert Lowry as pastor. In 1868, Annie was encouraged by pastor Lowry to begin writing hymns, and thus began her prolific impact on sacred song. Lowry would write music to accompany many of her poems, and many of their mutual labours stand to this day as valuable, beautiful hymns. Mrs. Hawks remained in Brooklyn till the death of her husband in 1888. From his homegoing till her death in 1918, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Bennington, Vermont.

Of the lesser-known hymns of Annie Hawks and Robert Lowry, one of the worthiest to be retrieved from the archives is “Hour by Hour,” number 774 in the Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs hymnal. Read the lines and share with us below whether you find these timeless words a blessing or encouragement as “hour by hour” you travel to heaven.

Hour by hour the dawn approaches,
Ush’ring in the golden day;
Thus our griefs and cares, uplifted,
One by one shall pass away;
Hour by hour the night-fall deepens,
One by one the stars surprise;
Hour by hour life’s twilight gathers,
One by one our joys arise.
Hour by hour we are coming to the dawn
Of a day whose journey shall be measured never more,
And one by one through the night we’re passing on,
And we’ll meet on the sunlit shore.

One by one our duties press us,
Hour by hour life’s work is done;
And the burdens will be lighter,
If we lift them one by one;
Hour by hour we live for Jesus,
One by one temptations rise;
But his grace he freely gives us,
Hour by hour, in sweet supplies.

Hour by hour we’re moving homeward –
Loved ones severed, far and wide –
Hand in hand we may not journey;
One by one we cross the tide;
But beyond the viewless river,
Time is measured never more;
Heart to heart we’ll meet for ever,
On that happy, restful shore.




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