This song reminds us to draw near to the Lord and to seek His presence in our lives as a regular way to live. It’s a lovely classic. Please give “I Need Thee Every Hour” a sing-along listen, then come back for some thoughts on “practicing His presence“.
Practicing the presence
Columnist Ann Landers has been credited with this quote: “Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”
If we find ourselves living day after day feeling resentment, or shame, or the sense of always being judged or criticized or some other negative emotion, we might check to see who is living rent-free in our heads.
It might be time to begin an eviction process.
It is very difficult to evict a thought — to get rid of a rent-free adversary, for instance — simply by deciding to quit thinking about it. (Try it. Right now, do not think of a hamburger. Are you now not thinking of a hamburger?)
God did not design our minds to be empty. Nature — and thoughts — abhor a vacuum. Thoughts will get in — the good ones and the bad ones. What can we do about it? Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Lead every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Lead every thought … this is a remarkable key. It is our job to lead thoughts — to think about what we are thinking about.
How do we get our minds right? Not by trying to empty our heads of all thoughts. The key to evicting bad thoughts is to replace. We replace. We send good thoughts in and replace — evict — bad thoughts.
(TIP – think “three to one”. Replace one bad thought with three good thoughts. Paul told Timothy God didn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Use three to chase away one.)
Need to evict? Want a better tenant in your mind? Go for the gold. Invite the Lord to live there.
How? Practice His presence.
Practicing the presence of the Lord can be started at a very early age.
It can be done in every phase and season of life.
It is never bad form or bad thinking.
The Lord is the best tenant our minds could have
The Lord is the best tenant our minds could possibly have. He is never late on rent, and will never leave us or forsake us. What a shame it would be to lose such a guest. How crazy would it be to evict Him through replacement?
Psalm 46 begins, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea …”
Is fear beating at the door? If the Lord is present, let Him answer the door.
Need rest? God promised Moses, “…“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Knowing God’s presence still brings rest to us in times like these.
How can we learn to practice the presence of God?
Have you ever taken a big, energetic dog for a walk? Was the leash pulling you the whole time? Did the dog end up walking you? How much energy would you have left in the evening if all you did most days was walk that dog around? Tired? Maybe you don’t want to walk that big dog any more than you have to.
It takes energy to lead dogs and lead thoughts. Think about that dog and think about what we are feeding our minds through the day. News? Gossip on the small screen? What the Jones — or whoever it is we watch — are doing, buying or selling now? Are these thoughts pulling the leash, wearing us out and taking us further away from rest and peace — away from confidence, trust and believing?
Chew on these thoughts from the Psalms:
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.
My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
[Psalm 145:18 / 73:28 / 84:2 / 119:10 / 145:18 all from NRSV]
How do we practice the presence of the Lord? Our mental diet is a huge key here. Read His word. Think about His word. Pray in the understanding. Pray in the spirit.
Oh, and we can keep a few good songs bubbling in our hearts as we go through the day. After all, we need Him every hour.
God bless you lots!
— Dale R.
LYRICS: I Need Thee Every Hour
Text: Annie S. Hawks (1872)
Tune: Robert Lowry (1872)
1. I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like thine
Can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
2. I need Thee every hour,
Stay Thou near by;
Temptations lose their power
When Thou art nigh.
3. I need Thee every hour,
In joy or pain;
Come quickly, and abide,
Or life is vain.
4. I need Thee every hour;
Teach me Thy will,
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.
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