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  • Shawn Thornton

Abide With Me

Sunday - April 11th

Scripture to Read Today: Luke 24:13-35

They urged him {Jesus} strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

Luke 24:29


During the first half of the 19th-century, Henry Francis Lyte served as an Anglican priest and vicar of All Saints Church in Brixham, England. He wrote the hymn "Abide With Me" in the fall of 1847. He died just weeks later. Lyte was also a published poet and wrote many hymns. Besides "Abide With Me," he also penned "Jesus, I, My Cross Have Taken" and "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven."


Throughout most of his life, Lyte suffered from poor health. He regularly traveled abroad for relief, which in his day, was very common. Nevertheless, he developed tuberculosis and, at the age of 54, came to the final days of his life. Lyte's daughter, Anna Maria Maxwell Hogg, recounted the story of how her father wrote "Abide with Me" during the final days of his battle with tuberculosis. Here is the story in her words:


The summer was passing away, and the month of September (that month in which he was once more to quit his native land) arrived, and each day seemed to have a special value as being one day nearer his departure.


His family was surprised and almost alarmed at his announcing his intention of preaching once more to his people. His weakness and the possible danger attending the effort were urged to prevent it, but in vain. "It was better," as he used to say often playfully, when in comparative health, "to wear out than to rust out." He felt that he should be enabled to fulfill his wish and feared not for the result. His expectation was well-founded. He did preach, and amid the breathless attention of his hearers, gave them a sermon on the Holy Communion.


In the evening of the same day, he placed in the hands of a near and dear relative the little hymn, 'Abide with Me,' with an air of his own composing, adapted to the words. (A Dictionary of Hymnology, Vol. 1)


Just weeks later, Henry Lyte died on November 20th, 1847. He began his eternal abiding with His Savior that day!

In his suffering, Lyte wrote "Abide With Me" as a prayerful cry for the Lord to be with Him as he endured the pain. He referenced the story of the two followers of Jesus on the Road to Emmaus on the day of Jesus' resurrection. They had not heard that He had risen. Jesus walked with them. They were kept from recognizing Jesus. As they got to Emmaus, they invited Him in to stay with them. As He broke bread, they recognized Him, and He disappeared from them. The two ran back to Jerusalem to report to the disciples that they had seen the Risen Christ. They had invited Jesus to stay with them, and so Henry Lyte penned the hymn that invites Jesus in to stay with us in our suffering.


God promises us that He is always with us. As we invite Him to abide with us, we become keenly aware of His presence!


Read the lyrics (below) of this old hymn to God as a prayer today. CLICK HERE to watch a beautiful YouTube lyrics video with Audrey Assad singing the prayerful melody.



Abide With Me

by Henry Francis Lyte - 1847


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.


Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;

Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see;

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.


Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;

But as Thou dwellest with Thy disciples, Lord,

Familiar, condescending, patient, free.

Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.


Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,

But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,

Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—

Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.


Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;

And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,

Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,

On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.


I need Thy presence every passing hour.

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.


I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.


Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

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