Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Importance of Hymns

There are over one thousand scriptures in the Bible which reference music in one form or another.   Hymns were instilled in me from a very young age, they came naturally to me, and I learned very quickly.  The Lord gifted me with an ear for music, and He had future plans for me to use that gift.  

As I’ve mentioned here before, I am the pianist for our church and have played the piano since I was four years old.  The old hymns are near and dear to me.  I can remember an old pump organ in our home that I liked to play.  There was just one problem…. I couldn’t reach the pedals.  My sisters took pity on me and would pump them for me so the sound would come out while I played.

Missionary and author, Elisabeth Elliot says this about hymns:

One of the things that I think is so important and often neglected nowadays is the learning of hymns, because it’s an easy way to learn theology. My father was not a theologian, but he was a very, very devout Christian and a writer and an editor of a Christian magazine. But we sang a hymn every single morning after breakfast. Because of that, we children learned hymns by heart without any effort whatsoever.

The old hymns are often thought of as old fashioned today and boring. However, most are timeless pieces of Christian history that were written in times of adversity.  Many of the joyful hymns were written BECAUSE of the adversity. They provide such comfort and encouragement just when we need it. 

Elizabeth Preniss

Elizabeth Prentiss, who wrote the hymn  More Love to Thee, O Christ (1856) had this to say about her life.  Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls.  

Fanny Crosby
Blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby had NO earthly vision.  I know from studying her life and her hymns, what she lacked in physical vision with her eyes, she made up for it with the eyes of her heart.  She wrote thousands of hymns that touched people deeply, still today. 

Without the blindness, some of the popular hymns below would never have been heard.

All the way My Savior Leads Me
Blessed Assurance
He Hideth My Soul
Praise Him! Praise Him!  
Saved by Grace
To God Be The Glory
and thousands more

You don’t have to be musical to enjoy the old hymns or appreciate the words. Old hymn books can often be found in thrift stores or in used book stores. Sometimes just reading the words will minister to your soul. 

Often with the hymns I’m familiar with, I’ll say them rather than sing them and the words take on new meaning with the different approach.

The Cyber Hymnal is a huge database of hymns and the history behind them.  Searchable in many different ways.  You can even hear the tune to a hymn if you're not familiar with it.

If you are struggling with a burden, a load, a heavy heart, sing hymns and I guarantee you'll feel your burden lift.

But I will sing of your strength,
n the morning I will sing of your love; 
for you are my fortress, 
   my refuge in times of trouble.
Psalm 59:16 (NIV)

What are some of your favorite hymns? Have a blessed day.


Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Thank you Abby, such a blessing indeed are our beautiful hymns..". surely He giveth me songs in the night..."
Hugs and prayers with thanksgiving for your faithfulness.
Shaz in Oz.x

Tamara Longman said...

Thank you for sharing this! Some of the old hymns have been redone by Christian music artists like Jars of Clay, Cindy Morgan, and even Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I also really enjoy Alan Jackson's renditions of old hymns.

Regina said...

I have so many hymns that I love but I will name a few:
Blessed Assurance
Crown Him With Many Crowns
Crown Him Lord of All
Amazing Grace*
Have You Been to Jesus?
How Can it Be?*

* There are modern versions of these two hymns that I detest when our church sings them.

Regina said...

But wait! There's more!😊

My Heart Says Amen
Does Jesus Care?
Abide in Me
Glorious Freedom
Rock of Ages
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Onward Christian Soldiers

Cindy Keiger said...

This is a lovely post. I, too, love hymns - both the music and the theology. Thank you for sharing.

Barbara H. said...

I agree - hymns are vital for a number of reasons. They convey theology as well as comfort and joy. I often find myself humming or softly singing one as I go about my daily tasks. When I was suffering anxiety attacks after a spinal illness, hymns helped me to "take my thoughts captive" and turn my focus to the Lord. A few favorites: Beneath the Cross of Jesus; The Sands of Time Are Sinking; Nearer My God to Thee; Nearer Still Nearer; Whiter Than Snow; Before the Throne of God Above.

Vee said...

Elizabeth Prentiss had an interesting life and traveled and moved about a great deal in her relatively short lifetime. I liked learning the Maine connection.

My favorite hymns are the classics beginning with Amazing Grace, There is A Fountain, Just As I Am, Great is Thy Faithfulness... They come to me as I drive down the road or putter about during the day. They are comforting and uplifting.

Barbara said...

Abby, the importance of hymns cannot be overstated, in my opinion. I enjoyed this post so much. You are so right in saying we learn great truth about God through the words of hymns. I miss them in the services of many of our churches today.

I also miss getting to sing alto with today's contemporary Christian services. It just doesn't work with the "all-unison" style they prefer now.

It's like a 'dumbing down' of music in so many ways.

Maxine D said...

Love the old hymns - I was 'brought up' singing them, and love the sound theology in them. Some of my favourites are How Great Thou Art, It Is Well With My Soul, Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance, Crown Him With Many Crowns, Oh For A Thousand Tongues, There Is A Green Hill Far Away, Love Divine... I could go on for a long time!!
Thank you for reminding me of these beauties

Joanie Gill said...

Thank you SO much for this post!! I love the hymns, just about every single one of them! Everything I have read from you has enriched my life or comforted me in some way. I thank God for you, Abby! I look forward to seeing you in heaven's glory someday in the sweet bye and bye!

Brenda said...

What a great post Abby! I love hymns too and look forward to them at the beginning of church, at communion, and at the end of church. Don't think I would go if not for the hymns-well not so, but the hymns make church even sweeter. Hugs, Brenda

Simply Shelley said...

I have a favorite hymn book, and I sing from it often. Lovely post, thanks for sharing. Blessings