Behind the Hymn: Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken is a popular hymn that was written by Eleanor Farjeon. Farjeon was born on February 13, 1881 in London, England.  She came from a literary family and was an author of children’s stories and plays, among numerous other literary pursuits. Known as ‘Nellie’ to her immediate family, she was a sickly child who suffered from poor eyesight […]

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Behind the Hymn: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

  Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise was written by Walter Chalmers Smith, a pastor of the Free Church of Scotland. Smith was born on December 5, 1824 in Aberdeen, Scotland.  He studied at the University of Aberdeen and New College in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was an ordained minister at Chadwell Street Scottish Church in London and several churches in Glasgow […]

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Behind the Hymn: Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Brighten the Corner Where You Are is a hymn we do not hear in church as often today as we used to.  Yet, it has a catchy tune and wonderful message. The hymn was written by Ina Mae Duley Ogdon. Ogdon was born on April 3, 1872 to William and Laetitia Wilson Ogdon in Rossville, Illinois.  She wrote her first […]

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Behind the Hymn: O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go was written by George Matheson. Matheson was born on March 27, 1842, in Glasgow, Scotland to George and Jane Matheson.  At the age of twenty, he was engaged to be married and studying for the ministry.  He discovered that he was going blind when his fiancée told him she could not go […]

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Behind the Hymn: And Can It Be, That I Should Gain

  And Can It Be is one of the better-known hymns written by Charles Wesley. According to The Oxford Edition of the Works of John Wesley, the song was written immediately after the conversion of Charles Wesley. Charles Wesley was born on December 18, 1707 to Samuel and Susannah Wesley.  Charles was the eighteenth of nineteen children born to the […]

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Behind the Song: You Are My King {Amazing Love}

You Are My King {Amazing Love} is a contemporary song that has become very popular. The song talks about God’s amazing love for us, how we are forgiven, and how Jesus is our King and he loved us enough to die for us on the cross.  This sacrifice is the amazing love the song refers to. The song was written […]

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Behind the Song: Holy Ground

Holy Ground is a song that once again shows the power of God. Geron Davis was nineteen years old when his minister father ask him to write a song for the new building their church was dedicating in Savannah, Tennessee. Weeks before the dedication his father asked him to write a song and Davis kept meaning to, but either inspiration […]

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Behind the Hymn: Lord Lift My Feet on Higher Ground

Lord Lift My Feet on Higher Ground was written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. Oatman was born on April 21, 1856 in Medford, New Jersey.   He was a businessman and wrote over 5,000 hymns in his spare time.  He did not begin writing hymns until he was 36 years old and was never paid for more than $1.00 for any of […]

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Behind the Hymn: Moment by Moment

Moment by Moment was another hymn written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle. He is also the author of I Know Whom I Have Believed. Ira Sankey recounted that while at the World’s Fair in Chicago, Rev. Henry Varley stated “I do not like the hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.  I need him Moment by Moment.” Major Whittle was impressed […]

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Behind the Hymn: I Know Whom I Have Believed

I Know Whom I Have Believed was written by Major Daniel Webster Whittle. Daniel Webster Whittle was born on November 22, 1840 in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.  He was named for the politician and founder of the dictionary, Daniel Webster. Whittle was very religious as a young man and worked as a cashier for Wells Fargo Bank. In 1861, he joined […]

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Behind the Hymn: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus  is another hymn where God used a tragedy for his good. In 1858, Dudley Atkins Tyng, an evangelist and abolitionist, had just finished preaching at a successful mission in Philadelphia.  Tyng visited his farm, where he reached his arm out to pat a mule.  This mule was working on a machine that shelled corn […]

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Behind the Hymn: Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus is another hymn that was born out of tragedy. The lyrics were written by Louisa M.R. Stead in 1882. Louisa Stead was born in 1850 England.  In 1871, she came to the United States and settled in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She had hoped to become a missionary but was prevented by ill health.  In […]

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Behind the Hymn: We’re Marching to Zion

We’re Marching To Zion is sometimes referred to by it’s opening line, Come We That Love the Lord. The hymn was written by Isaac Watts.  Watts was an English minister, hymnwriter, theologian and logician.  He wrote over 750 hymns and is known as the Father of English hymnody. Marching to Zion may have been based on Jeremiah 31:6, “Arise ye, […]

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Behind the Hymn: Sweet Hour of Prayer

William Walford was a simple uneducated wood carver with a great memory.  He spoke and wrote poem in his England home and shop.   He was so in tune with God and scripture that he was often asked to speak at his Congregational Church and share a sermon.   The word of God overflowed through him and came out in his poetry. […]

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Behind the Hymn: Trusting Jesus

Trusting Jesus was written by Edgar Page Stites.  The music was written by Ira D. Sankey. Edgar Page Stites was a direct descendant of John Howland, one of the Mayflower passengers.  Stites served in the Civil War before becoming a riverboat pilot and later a missionary to churches in South Dakota. The poem first appeared in the newspaper.  The poem […]

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Behind the Hymn: Praise To the Lord The Almighty

Praise to the Lord the Almighty is a hymn based on Joachim Neander’s German hymn “Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren”, published in 1680. Neander was born in 1650 Bremen, Germany.  In his youth, he lived on the wild side before attending a local service and listening to a visiting preacher.  He adopted the beliefs of the Pietist […]

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Behind the Hymn: Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Safe in the Arms of Jesus was written by Fanny Crosby. On April 30, 1868, William Howard Doan, a composer and friend of Crosby’s knocked on her door. He said,  “Miss Fanny, I have exactly forty minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati, and I must take that train.” He explained he wanted a new hymn next month when he […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home

Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home is a hymn often used as an invitational in the church. The hymn was written by Fanny Crosby and music was by George Coles Stebbins. Crosby had been blind since the age of six weeks and wrote over 8,000 songs in her lifetime. Jesus Is Tenderly Calling You Home first appeared in Gospel Hymns […]

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Behind the Song: God Bless the USA

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I thought we would look at another Patriotic song.  God Bless the USA is as popular as God Bless America. The song was written and is the signature song of Lee Greenwood.  He has been inspired by patriots all his life.  His father, step-father, first base player and other friends were […]

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Behind the Hymn: Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer

Praise Him, Praise Him, Jesus Our Blessed Redeemer is a hymn by beloved songwriter Fanny Crosby. Chester G. Allen married the melody to the lyrics written by Crosby. The hymn was first published in 1869 in the Bright Jewels songbook. This is a hymn that praises Jesus and reminds us to praise him.   We are not told what inspired Crosby […]

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