We are also using our Sunday evenings as a time to learn one “new” hymn each month (they are only new to our church; the hymns are actually quite old). We read through the text, point out why it is a valuable and worthy confession for us to be making together, and sometimes learn a bit of background on the author and any special circumstances surrounding the hymn. We then have the whole month of evenings to “practice” together before introducing it on a Sunday morning. I consider leading the church in the thoughtful selection and singing of Biblical hymns to be an important element of pastoral ministry, and again, my small setting here allows me to do that.
This month’s hymn was “Praise to the Lord the Almighty.” I love this hymn because it feels like the congregation of Israel gathering together in Jerusalem to sing their praises to the Lord, calling the nations to join their exultation in Zion. There are a number of rich lines here, but right now my favorite is “Ponder anew, what the Almighty can do, if with his love he befriend thee.” Here are the verses found in our ’91 Baptist Hymnal, but you should check out the complete version also.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.