Let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant.@2 Samuel 7:29

Stan­zas 1–4, James Ed­mes­ton, Sac­red Lyr­ics 1820. Stan­zas 5–6, Ed­ward H. Bick­er­steth, 1876.

Ev­en­ing Pray­er (Steb­bins) George C. Steb­bins, 1878 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
George C. Steb­bins (1846–1945)

It rare­ly falls to the lot of any hymn to be sung un­der such trying cir­cum­stanc­es as was this, dur­ing the [1900] out­break in Ch­ina, by a com­pa­ny of be­leagu­ered mis­sion­ar­ies who had ga­thered to­ge­ther one night in great fear lest they should have to suf­fer the fate of so ma­ny who were giv­ing up their lives ra­ther than deny their Lord.

The fol­low­ing ac­count of the sing­ing is fur­nished by Miss Hel­en Knox Strain, one of the mis­sion­ar­ies pre­sent that night.

The Wo­man’s Un­ion Mis­sion­a­ry So­ci­e­ty has a mag­ni­fi­cent work just out­side of the ci­ty of Shang­hai. No harm had come to us up to this time, but ser­i­ous threats and un­plea­sant ru­mors were rife; we dared not so much as put our heads out at night, though forty lit­tle soldier-men played at keep­ing us safe

Our mis­sion­ar­ies have two cen­ters at that place, and the they meet oft­en for pray­er and con­sul­ta­tion. At this par­ti­cu­lar time the ru­mors were so fright­ful, and the threats to burn our homes that ve­ry night so dis­tress­ing, that we had a mem­or­a­ble meet­ing. Sep­a­rat­ed from home and friends, fac­ing death in a far-off land, and full of ten­der­est feel­ing, we lift­ed our hearts in song…

Out of the storm each soul, re­newi­ng its strength, mount­ed up with wings as ea­gles and found peace in the sec­ret of His pre­sence.

Our Sav­iour breathed, in ve­ry deed, an ev­en­ing bless­ing up­on us, the frag­rance of which re­mains ev­en un­to this day.

The last verse of the hymn, Should swift death this night o’er­take us, was omit­ted. It seemed too prob­a­ble it might. We want­ed on­ly to think of the safe-keep­ing, and such, thank God, it proved to be.

Sankey, pp. 139–41

Savior, breathe an evening blessing
Ere repose our spirits seal;
Sin and want we come confessing:
Thou canst save, and Thou canst heal.

Though destruction walk around us,
Though the arrow past us fly,
Angel guards from Thee surround us;
We are safe if Thou art nigh.

Though the night be dark and dreary,
Darkness cannot hide from Thee;
Thou art He who, never weary,
Watchest where Thy people be.

Should swift death this night o’ertake us,
And our couch become our tomb,
May the morn in heaven awake us,
Clad in light and deathless bloom.

Father, to thy holy keeping
Humbly we ourselves resign;
Savior, who hast slept our sleeping,
Make our slumbers pure as thine

Blessèd Spirit, brooding o’er us,
Chase the darkness of our night,
Till the perfect day before us
Breaks in everlasting light.