Scripture Verse

Rescue me and deliver me in Your righteousness; turn Your ear to me and save me. Psalm 71:2

Introduction

portrait
John B. Dykes (1823–1876)

Words: 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.

Music: 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.

If you know where to get a bet­ter pho­to of Dykes or Whit­ing,

portrait
William Whiting (1825–1878)

Lyrics

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.