This hymn's author, Annie Hawks, began writing poetry at the tender age of 14 and she had several published in a newspaper.
When she was 24, she married and she and her husband joined a church in Brooklyn, New York, whose pastor was the hymn writer Robert Lowry. He recognized Annie's talent and challenged her to use it to write hymns. He told her that if she wrote the words, he would write the music.
The best way to tell how I Need Thee Every Hour came to be is through Annie's own words. This happened in 1872.
"I remember well the circumstances under which I wrote the hymn. It was a bright June day, and I became so filled with the sense of the nearness of my Master that I began to wonder how anyone could live without Him, in either joy or pain. Suddenly, the words I need Thee every hour, flashed into my mind, and very quickly the thought had full possession of me.
Seating myself by the open windows, I caught up my pencil and committed the words to paper - almost as they are today. A few months later Dr. Robert Lowry composed the tune Need, for my hymn and also added the refrain.
For myself, the hymn, at its writing, was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of great personal sorrow, with which it has often been associated.
At first I did not understand why the hymn so greatly touched the throbbing heart of humanity. Years later, however, under the shadow of a great loss, I came to understand something of the comforting power of the words 1 had been permitted to give out to others in my hours of sweet serenity and peace."