Sunday, June 14, 2020

O God Our Help in Ages Past - Hymn Story

free for personal use or sharing

The hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past was written by Isaac Watts in 1719. Just prior to that,  England's people were anxious as their Queen Anne lay dying and had no heirs. Change was inevitable and uncertain. Isacc's father had been imprisoned and a new monarch could mean a longer prison stay. 

Isaac turned to Psalm 90-----

Psalm 90:1-2

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

.....and was led by the Lord to pen this timeless hymn. Here are a couple verses from it:

O God, our help in ages past, 
our hope for years to come, 
our shelter from the stormy blast, 
and our eternal home: 

O God, our help in ages past, 
our hope for years to come:
O be our guard while troubles last, 
and our eternal home.
I tend to think Mr. Watts would have had no idea people would still be comforted today, some 300 years later by the words he wrote. God helped people then, God helps people now. Of that we can be sure.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.....

This hymn was played for President Franklin Roosevelt at the request of British leader Winston Churchill, when the two met in 1941 on board the HMS Prince of Wales to create the Atlantic Charter. It was also sung at Churchill's 1965 funeral in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

Here's a link to more about Mr. Watt's life and a list of some 800+ hymns he wrote. You'll find this hymn at number 568 in this alphabetical list.
Hymn Page Isaac Watts

You can find all the lyrics to this hymn here: hymn lyrics

Sources for this information:
The One Year Book of Hymns, published by Tyndale

Please continue to pray for our country.
Use this pray photo on your blogs and social media if you'd like.


  1. A hymn for the times, yet again - to me it shows that God was the inspiration for these timeless words. Thanks you for sharing Abby.
    Stay safe

  2. Beautiful post, hymn, and reminder. ❤ Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. The morning brings new horrors as so many do these days. This is a beautiful hymn. I sang it through. Had not known all the particulars surrounding its writing nor of the special regard that Winston Churchill had for it. Thank you. I think I'll just snag that Pray graphic and display it in my sidebar as a reminder.

    May it be a blessed 🇺🇸 day...

    1. Please do Vee. When I came across this hymn story, it just seemed so applicable to what we're experiencing today.

  4. Thank you for this graphic. I've added it to the sidebar of my blog. It is both timely and beautiful.

  5. What a wonderful post, Abby. I missed it, as we left on our trip to the West the very next day. Just caught up with it now via your gorgeous graphic in Vee's sidebar. Thank you so much.

  6. I just stumbled onto your the content. I'm enjoying going back through your archives. And I love the graphics you use. I'll be following.

  7. This is the post that does not lose its timeliness. Here it is four months later and every bit as meaningful. He changes not!


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