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, April 29, 2012


With the National Day of Prayer this week, I thought that I'd feature a hymn about prayer today. Today we live in a society where speed seems to be important. We want things done quickly, instantly if possible. We have instant foods, instant election results, fast-food restaurants, drive-ins, high speed internet connections, self-service check-outs, smart phones, and on and on. And I think that this attitude has affected our spiritual lives as well. We want quick devotionals, short sermons, and quick answers to our prayers. In fact, I guess that the average believer today spends little time daily in prayer and intercession. Churches that used to meet for corporate prayer several times a have now eliminated prayer meetings. Prayer has become a minor part of our worship services. The term "prayer warrior" has become out of date. Very fortunate is the one who has somebody faithfully praying for him each day. The sweet hour of prayer from past generations has become the quick minute of prayer for many believers. William Walford was blind, but this did not make him worthless. On the contrary, his hands and his mind were very active. Called on to preach from time to time in a rural English church, he composed sermons in his head to deliver on Sundays. He memorized a huge amount of the Bible which he quoted verbatim in his sermons. Some folks thought he had memorized the entire Scripture, cover to cover. William also composed lines of verse - and he prayed. Thomas Salmon tells this tale of what happened one day, while he was visiting the blind pastor. "...He repeated two or three pieces which he had composed, and having no friend at home to commit them to paper, he had laid them up in the storehouse within. "How will this do?" asked he, as he repeated the following lines, with a complacent smile touched with some light lines of fear lest he subject himself to criticism. I rapidly copied the lines with my pencil, as he uttered them, and sent them for insertion in the Observer, if you should think them worthy of preservation." The Observer did consider them worth preserving, and they were published on , September 13, 1845, becoming a beloved hymn. His hymn has touched hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides of the Atlantic, expressing the genuine joy he found in prayer. As you meditate upon his words this week, may you be challenged to become a real "prayer warrior" . And may you take time to be in the presence of God as you spend a "sweet hour" with him each day.

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, April 22, 2012


Usually the music that we choose here is music that has been written centuries ago.  And these hymns are usually special because of their words as well as the fact that they have survived for so many years and still speak to us today.  It would be interesting to know how much of today's church music will survive the centuries, should the Lord not return in that time.  Many of us older folks can easily become critical of today's worship music because it is different than that which we have appreciated and sung over the years.  However, there is some excellent music being written in this century. One of the newer ones that always speaks to me is this week's choice, "His Grace Still Amazes Me".  Unfortunately, I have been able to find almost nothing about its background.  Maybe some of you readers who are more knowledgeable about modern worship music can add some comments about the background.  The words and the music were written by Shawn Craig and Connie Harrington.  The copyright date is 2001.  Shawn Craig is part of the contemporary Christian music trio, Phillips, Craig and Dean, which was formed in 1991.  But while we don't know more about the background, all believers have experienced God's great grace to us in so many ways. Obviously His grace and mercy were shown at Calvary where He provided us with salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life with Him.  And we didn't deserve any of these riches which are provided by His amazing grace.  And then He demonstrates this amazing grace to us day by day and that should make us fall on our knees in thanksgiving.  And, as the music says, there is absolutely no way to repay Him.  I hope that you, too, daily are amazed by His grace and that you daily offer Him your praise.  And if you don't, then pause this week and consider daily His grace to you.  If you aren't overwhelmed, then maybe you need to examine your spiritual walk.

My faithful Father, enduring Friend 
Your tender mercy's like a river with no end 
It overwhelms me, covers my sin 
Each time I come into Your presence 
I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me 
Your love is still a mystery 
Each day I fall on my knees 
Your grace still amazes me 

'Cause Your grace still amazes me
Oh, patient Saviour, You make me whole 
You are the Author and the Healer of my soul 
What can I give You, Lord, what can I say 
I know there's no way to repay You 
Only to offer You my praise

It's deeper, it's wider 
It's stronger, it's higher 
It's deeper it's wider 
It's stronger, it's higher
than anything my eyes can see

Your grace still amazes me 
Your love is still a mystery 
Each day I fall on my knees 
Your grace still amazes me 

Listen to it being sung here.  LISTEN

Sunday, April 15, 2012


For the last few weeks my wife has been working on an arrangement of this week's hymn to use as an offertory in church in a few weeks. So during this time the words and the beautiful Sweedish melody of this great old hymn have been ringing in my mind. What a comfort to be reminded that we who have accepted the Gospel are now children of the Heavenly Father. We are reminded of that in 1 John 3:1, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." The text was written by Carolina Vilhelmina Sandell Berg (1832-1903). The daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister, she was stricken with a paralysis as a young child that confined her to bed with little chance for recovery. But by age twelve she had improved so that she was able to walk. From this experience she began writing verses to express her gratitude to God, and at age sixteen she published her first book of poems. "Children Of The Heavenly Father" is one of her most famous hymn texts However, there is some disagreement as to why and when it was written. When LIna was twenty-three, she accompanied her father on a boat trip and watched as he fell from the boat and drowned right before her eyes. Some think that was the inspiration for the lyrics. Others believe it came from her teenage years, perhaps around 1848, as a testimony to the spiritual upbringing that she received in her home. It was first published in her 1855 work "Andeliga Daggdroppar". During her lifetime, Lina wrote 650 hymns. The hymn, "Children of the Heavenly Father," offers a quiet assurance. It speaks of resting safely in the father's bosom, of the Father tending and nourishing his children and protecting them from evil. For those of us whose fathers are no longer alive, it is a special comfort to know that we have a loving Father who will never leave us.

Children of the Heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e'er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

Lo, their very hairs He numbers,
And no daily care encumbers
Them that share His ev'ry blessing
And His help in woes distressing.

Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers.
At the will of your Defender
Ev'ry foeman must surrender.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Happy Resurrection Day! Today is certainly the greatest day of celebration for all Christians. And I invite you today to join with me in joyfully proclaiming "He Lives". What a wonderful, exciting experience to serve the risen Savior and thank him for the great sacrifice that He made for us. Alfred Henry Ackley (1887-1960) was a talented and trained musician who played the piano and the cello. He graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland, and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. He served as pastor in several states of the United States, and worked for a few years with evangelist Billy Sunday and the Rodeheaver Music Company. Ackley's musical endeavors were so appreciated that he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree by John Brown University in Arkansas. He wrote lyrics and/or music for more than 1,500 religious and secular songs. Once while preaching during an evangelistic crusade, a young man is said to have asked, "Why should I worship a dead Jew?" Ackley stated, "HE LIVES! I tell you, He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands." That evening the young man gave his heart to Christ. Later Ackley sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song. He says, "The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily". And for years this hymn has been a hymn of triumph for all believers. Thank God that because He conquered the grave we can know Him as our Savior. And He is present with us all the time to walk and talk with us. While many religions worship dead leaders, we worship the one who is risen and alive. May that reality thrill your hearts daily, but especially during this Easter season.

(1) I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him He's always near.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

(2) In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

(3) Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and He talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

Listen to it here. LISTEN

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Today Christians celebrate Palm Sunday, the day when we remember the "triumphal entry" of Jesus into Jerusalem, one week before His resurrection. Some 450-500 years earlier, the Prophet Zechariah had prophesied, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your King is coming to you: He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey". (Zechariah 9:9) Matthew 21:7-9 records the fulfillment of that prophecy: "They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!'" Today our single desire should be to praise Jesus - our risen Savior and conquering King. And that is why I've chosen this week's hymn where each verse ends with "May Jesus Christ be praised!" It is said that this hymn was written by a German author whose name has been lost in time. It first appeared in 1828 in a Roman Catholic hymnal, Catholisches Gesangbuch. That hymnal originated in Wurzburg, on the Main River near Frankfurt. The hymn was translated from German into English by Edward Caswell (1814-1878), a Roman Catholic priest from England. Caswell was the son of an Anglican clergyman, and was himself ordained as an Anglican. He converted to Catholicism in 1847, prior to translating this hymn in 1854. It originally had 28 stanzas but today most hymnals include only four. I trust that the words of this old hymn may be your testimony, from morning to night, may Jesus Christ be praised and honored in all that you do.

1. When morning gilds the skies
my heart awakening cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer,
to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

2. The night becomes as day
when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear
when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

3. Let all the earth around
ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In heaven's eternal bliss
the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

4. Be this, while life is mine,
my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this th' eternal song
through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Listen to the words here. LISTEN