'Will Your Anchor Hold?', properly called 'We Have an Anchor', is among the most popular hymns in the English language. Written by Priscilla Jane Owens, who also wrote 'Jesus Saves', for her Sunday School, its jolly tune and vivid imagery have made it a perennial favourite ever since. Barely a survey goes by without it coming in the top ten hymns. The tune, by William J Kirkpatrick, is easily grasped, since it's strongly rhythmic and not that subtle. The vaguely martial, vaguely nautical theme is perhaps best suited to the brass bands beloved of BBC TV's Songs of Praise, who can make every note go with a thump. I'm personally not so sure of the imagery of the words, since remaining anchored in one spot doesn't strike me as a good way to pursue the journey of faith. Father, Hear the Prayer We Offer and Who Would True Valour See are more stirring evocations of the challenges of the Christian life. Nevertheless, this is an inoffensive hymn which owes its popularity to its accessibility and brightness.

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

It is safely moored, 'twill the storm withstand,
For 'tis well secured by the Savior's hand;
Though the tempest rage and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o'erflow.


It will surely hold in the Straits of Fear-
When the breakers tell that the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o'erflow.


It will firmly hold in the Floods of Death-
When the waters cold chill our latest breath,
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the Veil.


When our eyes behold through the gath'ring night1
The city of gold, our harbor bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav'nly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.

1: Some versions have 'morning light' here.
Everything Hymnal

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