Scripture Verse

Fa­ther, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34


Richard W. Adams (1952–)

Words: Ri­chard W. Ad­ams, 2001.

Music: Me­li­ta John B. Dykes, 1860 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John B. Dykes (1823–1876)


This hymn was writ­ten in res­ponse to the des­truct­ion of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York Ci­ty.

Its first known pub­lic per­form­ance was March 19, 2006, at the Com­mu­ni­ty Co­ve­nant Church, Oma­ha, Ne­bra­ska, where it was sung by so­lo­ist Mi­chael Ly­on, ac­com­pan­ied by his wife, mu­sic min­is­try di­rect­or Kris­tin Ly­on.


How shall we an­swer ter­ror’s cry,
The cun­ning blade, the flam­ing sky?
When mur­der­ous spite knocks down our door
And vio­lence breaks up­on our shore,
O let us come and look to You
To know Your will—what shall we do?

When Sa­tan whis­pers, Hate your foe,
Now take your ven­geance—draw the bow,

Protect us from the tempt­er’s guile,
The ly­ing voice, the ev­il smile.
O let us come in trust to You,
To hear the word we know is true.

When ex­ecu­tion­ers hung You high
You turned Your pray­er up to the sky,
And pled the Fa­ther to for­give,
You asked that cru­el men might live.
O let us Your ex­am­ple take,
And pray for sin­ners as we ache.

We pray that You their hearts will turn;
And light a ho­ly fire to burn
Their dross away, so they may be
Like gold re­fined, eter­nal­ly.
O let us pray that they become,
Like us, with You for­ev­er one.