I would love to tell you I found these lyrics in a beautiful crumbly and cracked hymnal. But this one came to me by way of the internet. I (Allie) was thumb scrolling through some of Anne Steele hymn titles on hymnary.org about a month ago and stumbled upon this hymn. I was in shock over the title because my heart had been needing some kind of response to all the ache and hurt that we’ve been experiencing in the world today as we “hourly” hear heart breaking news surrounding racial divides. So much hurt is happening around us and this hymn’s prayer like quality seemed to be a direct response to our modern times.
A little bit of they hymn’s history given by www.hymnary.org: the poem was first published in Anne Steel’s “Poems on Subjects chiefly Devotional” 1760. In the late 1700s it was printed in 100% of hymnals. It has sense waxed and wained in popularity lastly printed by the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church in the early 1950s at which time was printed in under 5% of hymnals.
Even despite the lyric’s history and long since drop off the earth, I was moved by the word’s in a deeply powerful way. I had been recently encouraged through sermon by Jemar Tisby towards the idea of morning along side of our African American brothers and sisters who are experiencing much hurt as their culture constantly gets misunderstood and unjustly treated. When I sat at the piano and put these lyrics to music I felt a personal reaction to it, one of sorrow and morning. It poured out of me almost as if the lyrics were my own, and the music flowed with ease. I believe this tells to how well these lyrics apply to many aspects of the christian walk: fears, doubt, feebleness. I hope your spirit is lifted up and encouraged by these lyrics as I have been. Oh Lord “Increase my faith, increase my hope, when foes and fears prevail; and bear my fainting spirit up, or soon my strength will fail.”
1 Alas, what hourly dangers rise!
What snares beset my way!
To Heaven O let me lift my eyes,
And hourly watch and pray.
2 How oft my mournful thoughts complain,
And melt in flowing tears!
My weak resistance, ah, how vain!
How strong my foes and fears!
3 O gracious God, in whom I live,
My feeble efforts aid,
Help me to watch, and pray, and strive,
Though trembling and afraid.
4 Increase my faith, increase my hope,
When foes and fears prevail;
And bear my fainting spirit up,
Or soon my strength will fail.
5 When’er temptations fright my heart,
Or lure my feet aside,
My God, thy powerful aid impart,
Nor cease to be my guide.
6 O keep me in thy heavenly way,
And bid the tempter flee;
And let me never, never stray
From happiness and thee.
Anne Steele, 1760.
We shared this song this past Sunday night you can start listening at 21:11. Please CONTACT us if you have interest in the PDF lead sheet, since these lyrics are so applicable to right now we don’t want you to wait till our album comes out if you would benefit from this song in your home or in your church.