Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Daniel Crane Roberts, the author of this hymn, was born on Long Island in New York and attended college in Ohio.  When the Civil War started he joined the Union Army as a member of the 84th Ohio Volunteers. Roberts was later ordained as an Episcopal deacon in 1865 and as a priest in 1866.  As the 35 year-old rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, a small rural church in Brandon, Vermont, Roberts wanted a new hymn for his congregation to celebrate the American Centennial in 1876. He wrote "God of Our Fathers" and his congregation sang it to a tune called "Russian Hymn".  Some years later, the Episcopal Church decided to publish a new hymnal and invited input.  Roberts submitted this hymn for consideration, but was so uncertain of its worth that he did so anonymously.  He was surprised when it was selected and published in 1892. He then provided his name. It was at the same time that the nation was preparing to celebrate the centennial of the United States Constitution.  George William Warren was one of the people involved in those preparations.  He became aware of this hymn because of his work on the hymnal project.  Based on his recommendation, the planners for the national celebration wanted to adopt the hymn for official use, but could not choose it with a tune called "Russian Hymn". They asked Warren to write a new tune, and he wrote the tune that we use with this hymn today, entitled "National Hymn."  Because of its use in that national celebration, the hymn became widely known, and as new hymnals were published, most of them included this hymn.  It has been widely sung now for more than a century.  The sad part of the story of this hymn is that the words, while certainly true, are no longer political correct in this age.  Many groups, with the help of leftist judges, are working hard to remove the truth of the leading and national blessing of God from both the present and the past.  But it is hard to deny the leading of God who has blessed this great country over the years.  Thankfully, over the years we have been blessed by many leaders who have sought the Lord's leading in their decisions.  And while sadly that appears to be no longer the case, the fourth verse should still express our prayer and hope for this land and its future.  "Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way, lead us from night to never ending day.  Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, and glory, laud and praise be ever Thine."

(1)    God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

(2)    Thy love divine hath led us in the past,
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

(3)    From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

(4)     Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

You can listen here to a great performance by the United States Marine Band.   LISTEN1

Here is a presentation by the Gathers after an advertisement.   LISTEN2

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