Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Lord, Support Us All Day Long. . .

A prayer assembled by George W. Douglas from sermons of Cardinal John Henry Newman is the source of it but the author of the hymn version is an old friend, Pastor Stephen Starke.  The hymn is, like the original prayer, a timeless and profound expression of the hope of the faithful as the daylight fades and night comes.  The hymn has been one of my favorite Starke texts for a long time but as I looked at the origin of the phrases the hymn has only increased in meaning and significance. 

The Prayer:

O Lord, support us all the day long,
until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then in your mercy,
grant us a safe lodging and a holy rest,
and peace at the last.  Amen.

The Hymn:

1 Lord, support us all day long,
    Guide and strengthen.
Evening comes, the world is hushed,
    Shadows lengthen,
Work is done, life’s fevered pace
    Now has ended;
Christ, to You, our final rest
    Is commended.

2 Be our light in darkness, Lord,    Our defender;
In Your presence perils all
    Must surrender.
Drive all dark satanic snares
    From each dwelling;
Then, at peace, our hearts Your praise
    Will be telling.

3 With Your presence, Lord, draw near
    Those who labor
Through the nighttime on behalf
    Of their neighbor.
Grant them courage for each fear,
    Faithful caring:
Your compassion and Your love
    Truly sharing.

4 Gracious Lord, we give You thanks,
    Praise and bless You,
As the giver of all good
    We confess You.
This past day we now commit
    To Your keeping
And entrust to You the hours
    Of our sleeping.
In Lutheran Service Book this hymn text is set to Joseph Jones wonderful tune, Gwalchmai, and makes for a wonderful new evening hymn to stand with old favorites like Abide with Me or All Praise to Thee, My God, this Night.  I have found these evening hymns to be a marvelous blessing to a mind crowded with thoughts or a heart wearied by worry or a life burdened by anxiety.  In our search for rest for the body and for the mind, it is good for us to sing and pray our way into the restful sleep that comes from a clear conscience through forgiveness and a future that is in God's merciful hands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this posting. Since I retired, I have been trying to figure out what prayer is and how to do it. Never felt comfortable with tying to pray. Heard Pastors say, you have to pray God's Word. What does that mean? How? I don’t know what to pray for. I don’t know what to pray about. I don’t know how to pray in concrete practical terms. Anyway, I discovered Matins, Vespers, and Compline. I listened to Pastor Weedon on Issues, Etc, and basically typed out the rites so I could keep them in a three ring binder. That way I can have everything in one place, Psalms, Readings, Meditation, Prayers, and Hymns.
I thank you for adding to my understanding with your thoughts in this posting and for suggesting another evening hymn.
Just curious, since Churches are posting their Sunday Service to the web, is that any cite you may know of where they post Matins, Vespers and Compline.