Rescue me and deliver me in Your righteousness; turn Your ear to me and save me.@Psalm 71:2
portrait
John B. Dykes (1823-1876)

William Whiting, 1860. He wrote the lyrics as a poem for a student about to sail for America. The hymn was played in 1941 for American President Franklin Roosevelt at the request of Winston Churchill, when the two met on board the HMS Prince of Wales to create the Atlantic Charter.

Melita John B. Dykes, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861 ( pdf nwc). Dykes fittingly named the tune after a locale associated with a Biblical shipwreck. Melita was the island the Apostle Paul reached after his ship went down (Acts 28:1); today we know it as the isle of Malta.

portrait
William Whiting (1825-1878)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy Word,
Who walked upon the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our family shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect us wheresoe’er we go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

illustration
The Wreck
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)

Alternate verses:

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky.
Be with them always in the air,
In darkening storms or sunlight fair;
Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air!

Aloft in solitudes of space,
Uphold them with Thy saving grace.
Thou who supports with tender might
The balanced birds in all their flight.
Lord, if the tempered winds be near,
That, having Thee, they know no fear.

Mary C. D. Hamilton (1915)


Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,
Watch o’er the men who guard our coasts.
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from Thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of Thy love.

George H. Jenks, Jr., 1955.


God, who dost still the restless foam,
Protect the ones we love at home.
Provide that they should always be
By Thine own grace both safe and free.
O Father, hear us when we pray
For those we love so far away.

Hugh Taylor (date unknown)


O Father, King of earth and sea,
We dedicate this ship to Thee.
In faith we send her on her way;
In faith to Thee we humbly pray:
O hear from Heaven our sailor’s cry
And watch and guard her from on high!

Author/date unknown


And when at length her course is run,
Her work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that in her sailed
Let not one life in Thee have failed;
But hear from Heaven our sailor’s cry,
And grant eternal life on high!

Author/date unknown

Click here to hear the U. S. Navy Band’s Sea Chanters sing this hymn.