For this second Lord’s Day in April we post another prayer from the book Prayers of the Reformers (compiled by Clyde Manschreck; Muhlenberg Press, 1958).
This prayer is taken from the section “Prayers in Time of Affliction and Suffering” and, as you will see, is fitting for us as we gather with God’s people in worship today.
The editor gives it the German title “Wenn wir in hochsten Nothen sein,” (from Paul Eber, 1566 based on a text from Joachim Camerarius, 1546) while the prayer itself is in English arranged in poem form thus:
When in the hour of utmost need
We know not where to look for aid,
When days and nights of anxious thought
Nor help nor counsel yet have brought.
Then this our comfort is alone,
That we may meet before Thy throne,
And cry, O faithful God, to Thee
For rescue from our misery.
To Thee may raise our hearts and eyes,
Repenting sore with bitter sighs,
And seek Thy pardon for our sin
And respite from our griefs within.
For Thou hast promised graciously
To hear all those who cry to Thee
Thro’ Him whose name alone is great,
Our Savior and our advocate.
And thus we come, O God, today
And all our woes before Thee lay;
For sorely tried, cast down, we stand,
Perplexed by fears on every hand.
O hide not for our sins Thy face,
Absolve us through Thy boundless grace,
Be with us in our anguish still,
Free us at last from every ill.
That so with all our hearts we may
Once more our glad thanksgivings pay,
And walk obedient to Thy Word,
And now and ever praise the Lord.
An Internet search reveals that this is a hymn set to music under the title “When in the Hour of Utmost Need, ” arranged by Louis Burgeois (c.1510-1559), as part of the Genevan tunes.