In Our Work and in Our Play (Jesus, be Thou ever near)

This is a children's hymn of petition to Jesus.

The original words were written by English, high Anglican, maritime insurance specialist and poet / hymn-writer William Chatterton Dix (1837–1898), and first published in 1875.  They were updated by English Congregational Minister and author (ref) William Charter Piggott (1872-1943), with changes such as "Keep us in thy presence dear" instead "Keeping us in Holy Fear".

Some later publications have changed the final verse to be addressed to the person of Jesus, ie from "May we grow like him in grace" to "May we grow like you in grace" - this approach is shown below. Also, many people now leave out the second verse, but it is included here for completeness.

With meter 7777, tunes it has been set to include: 
  • BATTISHILL, adapted from a composition by J Battishill (1738-1801)
  • WESTLAKE by Frederick Westlake (1840-1898)
  • LYNE from Magdalen Chapel Hymns, circa 1760

Note that it is different to a six-lines-per-verse hymn with the same title, which was written by Whitfield G Wills: the words of this start " In our work and in our play, Jesus, ever with us stay", which is often set to a tune called ROSSLYN.


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Singer with keyboard:

Instrumental - keyboard, tune WESTLAKE

Instrumental - electronic organ, tune LYNE


In our work, and in our play,
Jesus, be Thou ever near;
Guarding, guiding all the day,
Keep us in Thy presence dear.

Thou didst toil, O royal Child,
In the far-off Holy Land,
Blessing labour undefiled,
Pure and honest, of the hand.

Thou who at thy mother's knee
Learned to hearken and obey,
Then, work done, ran happily,
With the children to their play.

Help us, that with eager mind
We may learn both fact and rule,
Patient, diligent and kind
In the comradeship of school.

Help us, too in sport and game
Gallantly to play our part;
Win or lose, to keep the same
Dauntless spirit and brave heart.

May we grow like You in grace
True in mind and pure of soul,
Meeting life with steadfast face,
Run the race and reach the goal.

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