Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ The Importance of Hymns

 But I will sing of your strength,
   in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
   my refuge in times of trouble.

Psalm 59:16 (NIV)

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 Prentiss

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. 

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.

Fanny Crosby

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

Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny's passing with a poem which was read at her funeral.  Here is a portion of it: 

Away to the country of sunshine and song,
Our songbird has taken her flight,
And she who has sung in the darkness so long
Now sings in the beautiful light;
The harp-strings here broken are sweetly restrung
To ring in a chorus sublime;
The hymns that on earth she so trustfully sung
Keep tune with eternity’s chime!

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. 

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

Compliments of Naomi at Windfalls of Grace

The Lord wants us to sing praises to Him.  If He didn't, he wouldn't have told us to 5 times in these two passages of scripture, as well as countless other places in the Bible. 

Sing praises to God, sing praises!

Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;

Sing praises with understanding.
Psalm 47:6-7 KJV

There are some great resources online for the study of hymns.   I've listed a few below. 

Wordwise Hymns
with Robert Cottill.  He is a wealth of knowledge of many hymns, their history and biblical themes.  I highly recommend a visit.

The Cyber Hymnal
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.

Have a wonderful day.  I hope this post has encouraged you to pursue hymn singing for yourself, or with your children if you don't already. 



  1. ah such a blessing Abby, thanks for sharing, Shaz in Oz.x

  2. I too grew up with Hymns AND I MISS them SO MUCH IN CHURCH!!!!!!!!! We do sing one or two per service BUT, as you said there is SO MUCH MEANING in their words!!!!!! People just don't realize their RICHNESS for trying to be CURRENT!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. Thank you so much!!! I am going to print and frame the first one to give to a dear friend who is sweet like you!

  4. Such wonderful resources you've provided us, Abby. This means a lot as recently I was trying to find the tune to a hymn that another blogger had provided the words for and had great difficulty finding. The pastor wanted to use the hymn for the first Sunday in January and so I was on a mission. It all came out in the end though I would have loved knowing about this then.

    The worship team uses old hymns along with the new. This represents a distinct shift from the period of time when worship songs were sung exclusively. I like what E.E. says about the hymns teaching theology. They certainly do.

  5. Abby, you truly are a sweet blessing!

  6. The image on "Praise Him, Praise Him Ever In Joyful Song" is my fave. You have so many wonderful vintage images, as well as a wealth of knowledge of these women of God who paved the way for us to boldly serve our Lord, Jesus Christ. They are to be called blessed among women as well.
    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing with us. You always stire my soul.
    Word Art Wednesday

  7. Thank you for this superb post. I love the words and quotes and encouragement of the old hymns. Thank you also for the link to the Hymn and Scripture Challenge which I am participating in : )


  8. I loved reading your story about your sisters pumping the organ so you could play. The hymns have helped me though many trials. My favorite is "From every stormy wind that blows...there is a calm a sure retreat--'tis found beneath the mercy seat."

  9. It was not difficult to imagine you trying to reach the pdeals! Your sisters were very kind!
    Your giveaway looks grand and thank you for the sweet opportunity!
    Keep singing and playing Friend,

  10. Again, sweet friend, beautiful post. Love the picture of the mother and children singing together. So thankful for hymns that were created because God moved in the lives and hearts of others. Thank you for the encouragement Abby.

  11. I so love the old hymns. They have such a sweetness about them. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Oh Abby - I too love the old hymns and would love to have more sung in the church we attend :-).

  13. I came to this post by way of Vee's recommendation...and I am so glad I came! I think we're kindred spirits!

    I love hymns, for many of the reasons that you have offered. They are so rich with meaning, so full of depth. We sing them in our church fellowship. My youngest daughter and I sing and memorize hymns in our homeschool. She learns to play hymns on the piano. My middle daughter also loves hymns and writes about them often on her blog. And we are longtime fans of Cyber Hymnal. :) I am not familiar with the other sited that you referenced, so I will be sure to check them out.

    I have enjoyed my visit here this morning!

  14. I love the old hymns too! Thank you again for your lovely posts & beautiful graphics!


  15. Thank you for the freebies, blessings to you.

  16. Hello, Your Blog always encourages and gives us some real insight and a wee bit of history (HIS STORY)
    Your sweet free give aways have blessed many a blogger!
    I have had you on my Blog List for a long time. This is my first time of commenting to you, sorry it took me so long.
    Thanks again!
    Blessings, Roxy

  17. I agree 100% about the Hyms being timeless. Daddy always went to the piano and we sang Hymns everyday. I miss them so much and woould like to Hymns to listen to day and night. I love your site. It belsses me no end.
    Thank you for joining us at Word Art Wednesday; we love seeing your wonderful art work and appreciate you taking time to join our challenge.
    Carole Robb Bisson
    The Blessing of the LORD be Upon You!

  18. I love hymns, too. I grew up on them in my little Southern Baptist church. My children memorized many in the church we attended during their youth. We sang hymns in the car and harmonized together. I love playing the piano and singing hymns for the people at the nursing home where my mother lives. Thanks for this lovely post.

  19. Thank you so so much for posting this over at WholeHearted Home. I am so thrilled that you stopped by again. It has been awhile since I read one of your posts. I really love your blog.

    Hymns mean so much to me. I realized when my older children were 5 and 7 that they didn't even know Trust and Obey. Hymns weren't being sung in our church anymore.
    We got a couple hymn books and started singing hymns. We now go to a church that treasures the hymns.

    I think a wonderful addition would be a link to the music for the hymns as many who read your blog may not know how a particular hymn goes (sad but true.)

    Have a blessed day!!

  20. Hi, I am visiting from Pamela's blog. What a great and important post! I love your blog and am your newest follower.

    Kathy M.

  21. Love so many of the hymns but I love a lot of the new songs too! When they glorify the Lord and are to worship and adore Him that's what is important! We were concerned also that the younger generation wouldn't know the older hymns so we make sure they are sung at every service! To God be all the glory!


Your comments are blessings to my day.