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, October 31, 2010


One of the worst Christian cliches is "I'll pray for you!" I am convinced that most of the time this is a cop-out that is seldom followed through. Now maybe I am being too tough on Christians today, but I really wonder how many of us really are prayer warriors. How often do we spend quality time in adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication? Or do we just get to busy and prayer is just too easy to skip, unless we have very serious needs. If today's hymn was written today, maybe a more realistic title might be "Sweet Minute of Prayer." But no matter how we are committed to a prayer life that doesn't detract from the fact that prayer is vital. It is communicating with God and that is necessary for our spiritual maturity. William Walford of Coleshill, England was a woodcarver by trade and the owner of a small trinket shop. He was also a devout Christian and often the guest preacher in the churches around the area where he lived. One day, in 1842, the Reverend Thomas Salmon, a congregational minister, made his customary call at the shop of his friend. On this occasion, instead of showing the minister his beautiful collection of hand carved ornaments, Walford asked Mr. Salmon to write down the words of a poem he had just completed, because Walford was blind. Three years later the Reverend Salmon was in New York city and, while there, took the old woodcarver's poem along to the editor of the New York Observer, As a result, Sweet Hour Of Prayer appeared in the issue for September 1845. Nothing happened for another fourteen years. Then the famous composer, William Bradbury, set the poem to music and turned it into one of the most famous hymns of all time. Lifted on the wings of Bradbury's beautiful melody the words soon sped around the globe and in a short time were being sung by millions. Though physically blind, Walford certainly wasn't spiritually blind. The eyes of his soul could see perfectly clearly. It took a rate insight to write such a meaningful and blessed sacred song as this.

(1) Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter's snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

(2) Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

(3) Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I'll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

(4) Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah's lofty height,
I view my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I'll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing through the air,
"Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!"

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 24, 2010


This past week my wife and I had the special privilege to be part of the annual Senior Saints Retreat at the Pinebrook Bible Conference. It was refreshing to step aside from the rush and pressures of everyday life to spend time with fellow believers and to be challenged from the Word of God. One of the highlights of the week were the sessions led by two experienced pastors, Brooke Solberg, of Allentown, and Lynn Warner from Ohio. For four days we "sat at the feet" of these men who shared and challenged us with practical lessons from the Bible. And as I reflect upon this uplifting experience, I think about how tremendous it must have been to actually sit at the feet of Jesus and hear Him share the Word. Someday we will have that experience when we live with Him in the place He is preparing for us. In the meantime, we can listen to godly speakers here on earth. But, even better than that, we can "sit at His feet" here in our private devotional time when we can talk to Him and commune with Him and listen to Him. Unfortunately, we, especially those of us in ministry, often fail to do this. We often are like Martha (Luke 10:40) and are just too busy serving to take time to sit at His feet. We need to be more like Mary, who, according to Jesus "has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." Examine your schedule and think about this as you review this week's hymn. It was written by J.H., whoever that was, and the music was by Asa Hull. And that is all that I could find about the background of this week's choice. But the message of the hymn is much more important than it's history.
1. Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

2. Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

3. Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I'm waiting at Thy feet;
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I've been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

You can listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Has this been a difficult week for you? Are you discouraged? Do you seem to be overloaded with problems? Are you facing financial needs? Does life seem to overwhelm you with constant conflicts? Then this week's choice might be what you need. Sometimes we get so down that we forget all that we do have. and we forget to thank the one who has blessed us. Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr. was one of the important and prolific gospel song writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As a child, Oatman Junior became acquainted with the hymns of the church through the singing talents of his father. At 19 he joined the Methodist Church and years later was granted a license to preach in local Methodist congregations. His mainstream career was in a mercantile business and later as administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey. At the same time, he wrote over 5,000 hymn texts. "Count your Blessings" is generally considered to be Oatman's finest hymn. It first appeared in 1897 and it has been sung all over the world. One writer has stated, "Like a beam of sunlight it has brightened up the dark places of the earth." It was received most overwhelmingly in Great Britain. The London Daily, in giving an account of a meeting presided over by Gypsy Smith, reported, "Mr. Smith announced the hymn 'Count Your Blessings.' He said, "In South London the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep on this hymn." During the revival in Wales it was one of the hymns sung at every service. So maybe this week, like those over a century ago, we need to be reminded to daily thank God for the many blessings that we have. It certainly is more profitable than counting sheep when sleep just doesn't seem to come.

(1) When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

(2) Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

(3) When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

(4) So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Francis Ridley Havergal is often referred to as "the consecration poet". It has been said that the beauty of a consecrated life has never been more perfectly reveled than in her daily living. Wherever she saw spiritual and physical needs, she was there with genuine concern. There is much that could be shared about her life, but I'll just focus on the writing of this great hymn. Here is what she wrote about the background of this hymn. "I went for a little visit of five days [to Areley House]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer 'Lord, give me all in this house!' And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, and then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with 'ever only, ALL FOR THEE!'" Her prayer, "Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold," in the same hymn was not lightly stated. In August, 1878, Miss Havergal wrote to a friend,"The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. 'Take my silver and my gold' now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me ... Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don't think I ever packed a box with such pleasure." As you consider the words of this hymn, ask the Lord to challenge you and reveal those areas that need to be turned over to Him. All are difficult but vital .... our life, our hands, our voice, our money, our will - yes, our will - our love. All for Thee!

(1) Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

(2) Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

(3) Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.

(4) Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

(5) Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

(6) Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

Listen to this powerful challenge here. LISTEN

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Charles Wesley is said to have written 6,500 hymns and many consider this one to be his firnest. It is interesting, however, that when Charles first presented it to his brother, John, for approval, it was rejected as being too sentimental. It wasn't until after the author's death that this song came into general use. There are various stories concerning the experience that prompted Charles to pen these words, although none has ever been authenticated. It is generally believed that in the fall of 1736 Wesley was caught in a frightening storm at sea and it appeared that all would be lost. Finally the ship safely reached land. Wesley wrote in his journal for that experience "I knelt down and blessed the Hand that had conducted me through such inextricable mazes." Some writers state that during the storm a frightened bird flew into Wesley's cabin and sheltered himself in his bosom for comfort and safety. Another account says that Wesley wrote this text while lying under a hedge, having been beaten up by an angry mob opposing his ministry. Still others see this text as a picture of Wesley's own life as a young man as he struggled to find peace with God before his conversion experience. It is interesting to note that 156 simple one-syllable words appear among the 188 words of the text. The hymn also presents Christ as a "lover", "healer", "refuge", "fountain", "wing", and "pilot" - the all-sufficient One. Many different tunes have been used for this text and if you search on YouTube, you will hear several of them - from classical to contemporary. But no matter how it was written, or how simple it is, or what tune is used, this hymn speaks to the basic need of every human heart, a personal dependence upon the infinite God.
(1) Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Oh, receive my soul at last.

(2) Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.

(3) Wilt Thou not regard my call?
Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—
Lo! on Thee I cast my care.
Reach me out Thy gracious hand!
While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand,
Dying, and behold, I live.

(4) Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
Source of all true righteousness;
Thou art evermore the same,
Thou art full of truth and grace.

(5) Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
Rise to all eternity.

Listen to a beautiful rendition of this hymn. LISTEN