1. At this time of sitting down
Brief, amidst a frantic day,
May we sense you in the stillness
Calling ‘sit with me today’.
2. At this time of sitting down
Laid aside, required no more,
Shine a light on ways untrodden,
Paths you wish us to explore.
3. At this time of sitting down
Forced by illness, pain, or grief
Comfort us in times of darkness
Encourage us in our belief.
4. At this time of sitting down
Retiring from our chosen path.
Show us how to journey with you
In our twilight years of life.
5. At this time of sitting down
Where we are in life thus far
May we seek to know you deeper,
Trusting in your faithful love.
Words and music: © Rachael Prince
Ideas for use
Rachael Prince’s words are suitable for range of occasions, including the retirement of a minister or church office holder, or during the Methodist covenant service (see below). They also offer a helpful reflection in times of illness, personal retirement or other “giving up” of responsibility.
By singing the hymn as a congregation, it has the capacity to hold an individual in the love of the worshipping community as well as acknowledging that “sitting down” is an experience that we all share at one time or another.
This hymn was written at the time when Rachael’s then minister was retiring. Within the Methodist tradition, a retiring minister is sometimes said to be “sitting down”.
Rachael reflected on this phrase and realised that there are often other times in life in which all of us can find ourselves facing the prospect of “sitting down” for a variety of reasons. Illness, unexpected or developing disability, pressure of other commitments, or simply the need for a break, can mean that we find ourselves having, as Rachael puts it, to “step outside of something for a period of time”. It is such times of which this hymn speaks.
There are echoes here, also, of the Methodist covenant prayer, with its powerful phrases:
“I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will…
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you…
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing…”
You can read more about the Methodist covenant service and explore other hymns associated with the service or echoing its themes in Hymns for covenant or renewal.
Rachael Prince is a freelance musician and a local preacher in the Witney and Faringdon Methodist circuit in Oxfordshire. She says that her decision to start writing hymns was “not an intentional decision – they just happened”.
As a local preacher, Rachael finds her training and service preparation helpful when it comes to writing the words of hymns, but she is clear that usually it is the melodies that come to her first. In between music lessons (she teaches piano and violin – as well as singing in choirs for pleasure), she says she often finds herself sitting at the piano “fiddling around”.
Partly, perhaps, because these are quiet, personal moments, Rachael finds that it is a reflective style of music and setting that comes most naturally to her. At the same time, the words need to have resonance with her own everyday experience. “The hymns I like to sing are those that have some relevance to my own daily life – they will reflect what’s going on for me.”