More about the hymns
Hymns mean so much to so many people and if you have a favourite BBC Songs of Praise would like to know. Choose your all-time number one from the 100 hymns and worship songs that have been most featured on Songs of Praise over the last 5 years.
Here Simon Lole, Songs of Praise conductor, composer, arranger and organist gives a brief background on all the 100 hymns you can vote for.
If you're using a mobile device or a small screen, please scroll down to the bottom of the page to vote.
Abide With Me
Henry Francis Lyte, Vicar of Brixham in Devon, had the idea for this hymn when he was in Wexford visiting a dying friend. He later revisited it when he himself was dying from TB and it was first sung at his funeral.
Words: H.F. Lyte; Tune: W.H.Monk
All Creatures Of Our God And King
The words of this Easter hymn were originally written by St. Francis of Assisi in 1225 in his “Canticle of the Sun”, based on Psalm 148. The text was translated into English by William Draper, first published in a hymn book in 1919.
Words: W.H.Draper; Tune: German Traditional arr. R.Vaughan Williams
All My Hope On God Is Founded
The words of this hymn were written around 1630 and later translated into English by the poet Robert Bridges. In 1930, the Composer Herbert Howells was sent the words by a friend and apparently thought of a tune immediately and wrote it down over breakfast. He named it “Michael” after his young son who had died in childhood.
Words: German hymn adapted by Robert Bridges; Tune: Herbert Howells
All People That On Earth Do Dwell
William Kethe contributed 25 psalms to the Anglo-Genevan Psalter of which Psalm 100 became the most well-known. This tune is one of the best known of all Christian melodies and gets its name, “Old Hundredth”, from its association with Kethe’s translation.
Words: W.Kethe Tune: Genevan Psalter (Louis Bourgeois)
All Things Bright And Beautiful
A popular hymn for children and well-known by two different tunes. The text reflects verse of the Apostles Creed and is possibly influenced also by verses from Psalm 104.
Words: Mrs C.F.Alexander; Tunes: Royal Oak – Traditional arr.Martin Shaw; All Things Bright and Beautiful – W.H.Monk
The text for this hymn was written in 1779 by the English poet and cleric, John Newton, a former captain of slave ships who found faith after a violent storm at sea. It tells of forgiveness and redemption through the mercy of God.
Words: John Newton; Tune: American Folk Melody
And Can It Be
This is one of Charles Wesley’s best-known texts and was written in 1738 soon after his conversion to Christianity. The tune, “Sagina” was written by Thomas Campbell, of whom little is known other than that he published a set of 23 hymn tunes in 1823.
Words: Charles Wesley; Tune: Thomas Campbell
Angel-Voices Ever Singing
This hymn was written in 1861 for the dedication of a new organ in a rural church in Lancashire by Reverend Francis Pott. The tune, “Angel Voices” was written at the same time for the dedication ceremony.
Words: F.Pott; Tune: E.G.Monk
Beauty For Brokenness
This worship song was written in 1993 by the singer/songwriter, Graham Kendrick for the 25th anniversary of the charity Tearfund. Kendrick visited India the previous year and was very moved by the contrast between Indian poverty and Western affluence.
Words and Music: Graham Kendrick
Before The Throne Of God Above
The lyrics of this hymn were written by Charitie Lees Bancroft. Despite popularity during the 1870s, it was then unused for almost 100 years. This 1997 arrangement by Vikki Cook was made popular by recordings featuring Kristyn Getty.
Words: Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841–1923) Music: Vikki Cook
Be Still For the Presence Of The Lord
This contemporary worship song, written in the 1980’s by composer David Evans has become one of the most widely used songs of the last 50 years. The tune captures the sentiment of the hymn – that we should clear our minds of everything for a moment and focus on the Lord.
Words and Music: David Evans
Be Still My Soul
The text of this hymn was written in German in 1752 and translated into English in 1855 by Jane Laurie Borthwick. It tells of the need to trust implicitly in the Lord God. Interestingly, it is set to a tune by the Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, that comes from his symphonic poem “Finlandia”.
Words: Katharina Von Schlegal; Tune: Jean Sibelius
Be Thou My Vision
The words of this hymn are based on a Middle Irish poem which was translated into English by Eleanor Hull. Since 1919, it has been paired to an Irish folk tune “Slane”.
Words: 8th century Irish Traditional; Tune: Irish Traditional
The hymn writer, Fanny Crosby and the American composer, Phoebe Knapp were friends. Knapp had written the tune “Blessed Assurance” which she played to Crosby, who then wrote the words that we know so well today. The text reflects the author’s walk of faith.
Words: Fanny Crosby; Tune: Phoebe Knapp
Blessed Be Your Name
Blessed Be Your Name was co-written by Matt and Beth Redman, in part as a response to the September 11th attacks in the United States. They sought to create a song appropriate for this tragic time, that would call on people to worship and bless the name of God.
Words and Music: Matt Redman and Beth Redman (b 1974) Arranged: Nicola Morrison (b 1978)
10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)
This worship song co-written by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin was released in 2011. Inspiration came from the opening verse of Psalm 103: "Bless the Lord, my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name" and the 19th century English hymn "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven" which is also included in the top 100.
Words and Music: Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin
Brother, Sister, Let Me Serve You
This hymn was written in 1977 by the New Zealand author and composer, Richard Gillard. It is known as “The Servant Song”. The author suggests that the passage of scripture in John’s Gospel where Jesus washes the disciple’s feet, was in the back of his mind as he wrote the hymn.
Words and Music: Richard Gillard
Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation
This hymn was written to be sung at the dedication of a church. The imagery is of Christians being spoken of as living stones that are being built into Christ’s church. The tune “Westminster Abbey” is taken from the final section of Henry’s Purcell’s anthem, “O God, Thou art my God”.
Words: Author Unknown (7th century) Translated by J.M.Neale Tune: Henry Purcell
Come Down, O Love Divine
The words of this Pentecost hymn were written by the Italian mystic poet, Bianco da Siena in the 14th century. The text was translated into English by Richard Littledale. The hymn is most associated with Vaughan Williams’ tune “Down Ampney” – named after the village of his birth.
Words: Bianco da Siena; Tune: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Come, Now Is The Time To Worship
Brian Doerksen is a Canadian singer-songwriter and worship leader. He composed this song in 1977 when he was a Pastor in South West London and his faith was being severely tested. On a walk to reflect he heard a message in the air, “Come, now is the time to worship”. He went home and immediately penned this song, realising that God was reaching out to his creation and inviting everyone to come and worship.
Words and Music: Brian Doerksen
Come People Of The Risen King
This is a contemporary Christian worship song by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend. The lyrics invite all to join together and celebrate as our praise is directed towards our ever-faithful God.
Words and Music: Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend
Cornerstone is a worship song from Hillsong Live. The lyrics focus on Christ’s steadfast love and ability to see us through times of difficulty, with the “weak made strong in the Saviour’s love”.
Words and Music: Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin and Reuben Morgan
Crown Him With Many Crowns
This hymn was written in 1851 by Matthew Bridges, and is loosely based on a passage from the book of Revelation. The tune, “Diademata” (derived from the Greek word for “crowns”) was composed for Bridge’s text and was published in the appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern.
Words: Matthew Bridges Music: G.J.Elvey
Dear Lord And Father
The text of this hymn is taken from a longer poem, “The Brewing of Soma”, by the American Quaker poet, John Whittier. The poem tells of priests brewing and drinking Soma (a sacred ritual drink) in an attempt to experience divinity. The tune “Repton” was originally taken from an aria in Parry’s oratorio, “Judith”.
Words: J.G.Whittier; Tune: Sir Hubert Parry
Eternal Father, Strong To Save
This hymn is traditionally associated with those who travel by sea, and particularly those in the Royal Navy. It is often used on national and state occasions. Written in 1860, it was inspired by verses from Psalm 107 which describe the power and fury of the sea.
Words: William Whiting; Tune: J.B.Dykes
Faithful One is a modern worship song by Brian Doerksen. The hymn focuses on the Lord as our “rock of peace” who lifts in times of trouble and provides hope to those who follow him.
Words and Music: Brian Doerksen
For All The Saints
The ideal hymn for a Saints Day, “For All the Saints” was written as a processional hymn by the Bishop of Wakefield. It was paired with the tune “Sine Nomine” by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906 on the publication of the new English Hymnal.
Words: W. Walsham How; Tune: Ralph Vaughan Williams
For The Beauty Of The Earth
A popular hymn, traditionally associated with Harvest-time and associated with two contrasting tunes, “Dix” and “England’s Lane”
Words: F.S.Pirpoint; Tunes: Dix – W.H.Monk; England’s Lane – Tradition arr. Geoffrey Shaw
Great Are You Lord (You Give Life)
All Sons and Daughters was an American Christian music worship duo, who are worship leaders at a church in Tennessee. This powerful song of praise is their most well-known composition.
Words and Music: All Sons and Daughters
Great Is Thy Faithfulness
This American hymn, which tells of the faithfulness of God, is sung very regularly in the UK. It received a lot of early exposure by the evangelist, Billy Graham, who used it at many of his international crusades.
Words: Thomas Chisholm; Tune: William Runyan
Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer
This hymn was written in 1745 by William Williams. He uses imagery from the book of Exodus to conjure up a theme of God’s guidance through struggle. The tune “Cwm Rhondda” was written by John Hughes in 1905 and is most effective in its use of repeated words for greater emphasis of the text.
Words: W. Williams Music: John Hughes
Hail, Redeemer, King Divine
This traditional Catholic hymn speaks of Jesus Christ as our king ‘whose reign shall never cease’. It frequently features on the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Palm Sunday, and also the feast of Christ the King.
Words: Patrick Brennan Music: Charles Rigby
Heart Of Worship
This hymn originates in the late 1990s within Matt Redman’s home church Soul Survivor in Watford. To revamp worship music the pastor decided to strip back the sound system and band for a period of time, focusing on voices only in a bid to encounter God in a new way. The song describes gaining this new perspective and coming back to the heart of worship.
Words and Music: Matt Redman
Hear The Call Of The Kingdom
This popular worship song is a response to God’s call for us to worship, to live for him, and to share his love.
Words and Music: Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
Here I Am To Worship
In 1999, Tim Hughes was looking to create a musical response to Philippians 2:5, "Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus". This theme was joined with a melody idea and the song was born. The lyrics focus upon humility and the sacrifice Jesus made for all.
Word and Music: Tim Hughes
Here Is Love, Vast As The Ocean
This is hymn was written in the 19th century by Welsh pastor William Rees and set to music by Robert Lowry. Of late it has been given a refreshed treatment by Matt Redman and tells of the connection between God’s love and the gospel.
Words: William Rees; Music: Robert Lowry
He Who Would Valiant Be
Taken from Pilgrim’s Progress, this hymn recalls words from the book of Hebrews. The words were modified by Percy Dearmer for inclusion in the 1906 English Hymnal where it was paired with an English folk tune arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Words: John Bunyan; Tune: English Traditional arr. R. Vaughan Williams
Holy, Holy, Holy
The text of this hymn quotes the Sanctus from the Ordinary of the Mass and speaks of the Holy Trinity. The tune was composed in 1861. It is named “Nicaea” as a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea, which formalised the doctrine of the Trinity in 325.
Words: Reginald Heber; Music: J.B.Dykes
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us
This contemporary hymn by Stuart Townend reminds us of the way in which God showed his love by sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for our salvation.
Words and Music: Stuart Townend
How Great Is Our God
Written in 2004, this triumphant song by Chris Tomlin celebrates the greatness of our heavenly Father. It describes the various wondrous qualities of God and references the Holy Trinity.
Words and Music: Chris Tomlin
How Great Thou Art
It’s thought the inspiration for this hymn came from a walk home from church when the author encountered a violent storm which then subsided into a peaceful calm. It was translated by the English missionary, Stuart Hine, who added two verses of his own and it was made popular during the Billy Graham crusades.
Words: Carl Boberg Tune: Swedish Traditional arr. Stuart K. Hine
In Christ Alone
This contemporary worship song with a distinctive Irish melody, was the first collaboration from Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. Its theme is the life, death and resurrection of Christ.
Words: Stuart Townend; Music: Keith Getty
The inspiration behind this worship song by Laura Story was the beauty of creation and John, Chapter 3 Verse 8. The song was given greater exposure when it was recorded by Chris Tomlin in 2004.
Words and Music: Laura Story
I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say
Horatius Bonar was a 19th Century Scottish priest. In his day, people tended to sing almost exclusively metrical psalms and so Bonar set out to write a number of simpler hymns, particularly aimed at young people. This hymn is his most famous. The tune has been set to various different tunes, but the folk song tune “Kingsfold” has become the most popular.
Words: Horatius Bonar; Tune: English Traditional arr. R. Vaughan Williams
I, The Lord Of Sea And Sky
This very popular hymn, also known as “Here I am, Lord” was written in 1981 by the American catholic composer, Dan Schutte. The words are based on passages from the books of Isaiah and Samuel.
Words and Music: Dan Schutte
I Will Sing The Wondrous Story
This hymn tells of the goodness of God in calling us to himself and in continuing to guide us through life. It is commonly set to the Welsh tune, “Hyfrodol”.
Words: Francis Rawley; Music: Huw Pritchard
I Vow To Thee, My Country
One of England’s most patriotic hymns, the text was written by a diplomat – Sir Cecil Spring-Rice – and it describes how a Christian owes his loyalties to both his homeland and the Kingdom of Heaven. The tune “Thaxted” is an adaptation by Gustav Holst of a part of Jupiter from his Planets suite.
Words: Cecil Spring-Rice Music: Gustav Holst
It Is Well With My Soul
This hymn was written by New York lawyer Horatio Spafford and inspired by a family tragedy, after four of his daughters died in a steamship accident. It is remarkable that as he dealt with his grief, his faith never faltered.
Words and Music: Horatio Gates Spafford
A patriotic hymn known especially from the Last Night of the Proms. The hymn has caused much controversy with its different interpretations. In the most common, Blake implies that a visit by Jesus would create heaven, in contrast to the “dark Satanic Mills”. The tune was famously orchestrated by Sir Edward Elgar.
Words: William Blake; Tune: Sir Hubert Parry
Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
This Easter hymn was originally written in the 14th century and entitled “Surrexit Christus Hodie”. It was translated into English in 1708 and the verses were revised in 1749, Charles Wesley adding a verse. The tune is known as “Easter Hymn” and was composed for this text.
Words and Music: Lyra Davidica
Just As I Am
This hymn was written in 1835 by Charlotte Elliot as an expression of her own faith in God, despite many worldly anxieties. The hymn has been set to a number of different tunes, but Arthur Brown’s 1890 composition “Saffron Walden” has become the tune of choice for most people.
Words: Charlotte Elliot Music: A.H.Brown
King Of Kings Majesty
This modern worship song was written by Jarrod Cooper who leads the multi-site Revive Church, across Hull and East Yorkshire. It focuses on Jesus as our “closest friend” and someone to respect, worship and praise. It describes reverence for the Lord and a celebration of his eternal love.
Words and Music: Jarrod Cooper
This spiritual song asking God to help people in need is often sung around campfires and by folk groups. It means “Come By Here” and was first recorded in the 1920s.
Words and Music: Traditional Folk Song
Let All The World In Every Corner Sing
The text comes from the poet and cleric, George Herbert’s collection, “The Temple”. The text has been set by many fine composers, most notably, Ralph Vaughan Williams, but the hymn is best known to the tune “Luckington” by Dr. Basil Harwood, one time organist of Ely Cathedral.
Words: George Herbert; Tune: Basil Harwood
Lord For The Years
Written in 1967 for a service to celebrate the centenary of the Scripture Union by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith, it was originally intended to be sung to the tune of Sibelius’s “Finlandia”. In 1969 it was included in Youth Praise together with this tune by Michael Baughan.
Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith; Tune: Michael Baughan
Lord Of The Dance
This ever popular hymn was written in 1963 by Sydney Carter, who also arranged the American Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts”, that it is sung to. The hymn tells the gospel story in the first person voice of Jesus, portraying his life and mission as a dance.
Words: Sydney Carter; Tune: Shaker Tune arr. Sydney Carter
Lord Of All Hopefulness
This hymn was written by the English writer, Jan Struther and first published in the 1931 publication of Songs of Praise. It has become popular as a hymn to be used at both wedding and funeral services, asking God to be with us throughout the day.
Words: Jan Struther; Tune: Irish Traditional
Lord I Lift Your Name On High
This popular Christian worship song was written by Rick Founds in 1989. The song is based on gratitude and the cycle of redemption. There have been various cover versions of this song since its initial release.
Words and Music: Rick Founds
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
One of Charles Wesley’s most widely sung hymns. It first appeared in 1747 and is based on a theme of Christian perfection. The hymn has been paired with different tunes, but today it is most commonly sung, either in four line stanzas, to John Stainer’s tune, “Love Divine” or to the glorious eight line Welsh tune, “Blaenwern”.
Words: Charles Wesley; Tunes: Love Divine – John Stainer; Blaenwern – William Rowlands
Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace
This widely known Christian prayer for peace, with its broadly inclusive language, has been very frequently set to music. The most well-known hymn version is this one, written in 1967 by the South African songwriter, Sebastian Temple. It has become an anthem for the Royal British Legion and is regularly sung on State and National occasions.
Words: St Francis of Assisi, adapted by Sebastian Temple; Music: Sebastian Temple
Mighty To Save
This ever-popular Australian contemporary worship song first appeared in 2006 on a best-selling album of the same name. The lyrics tell of the might of Jesus and of God conquering the grave.
Words and Music: Ben Fielding and Reuben Morgan
Morning Has Broken
This hymn was written by the English poet and children’s author, Eleanor Farjeon, and set to the traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, “Bunessan”. It was made particularly popular by a recording of it, sung by Cat Stevens, that made no.1 in the charts.
Words: Eleanor Farjeon; Tune: Scottish Gaelic Traditional
My Jesus, My Saviour (Shout To The Lord)
This hymn was written by Australian singer, songwriter and worship leader Darlene Zschech who was involved in Hillsong Church, Sydney. It is said to have been written at a difficult time in the composer’s life, with the line ‘shout to the lord’ being a depiction of her holding onto her faith as a source of support.
Words and Music Darlene Zschech
Open The Eyes Of My Heart
The inspiration for this popular worship song by American writer Paul Baloche is said to have come during a church service when the minister began prayers with the request, “Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord, that we may see you.”
Words and Music: Paul Baloche
Our God Is Greater
This worship song is a celebration of God’s awesome power and strength. The ending of the song refers to the Bible's Romans 8:31, which says, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" The clause "if God is for us" gave the idea for Chris Tomlin's album's title.
Words and Music: Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves and Jonas Myrin
O Praise The Name (Anastasis)
Hillsong set out to write a timeless and inspirational hymn about the redemption story, which was set out thematically across multiple verses. It remained incomplete for some time but was revisited as Easter approached and took on a new meaning. It has been described as “a simple response of praise to the gravity of Christ’s defining moment on Earth”.
Words and Music: Hillsong Worship
O God Our Help In Ages Past
This hymn by Isaac Watts paraphrases Psalm 90, telling how our God is everlasting and will be our help through all of our years. The tune, “St Anne’ is attributed to the composer, William Croft, and may have been written around the early 19th century when he was organist of St Anne’s Church in Soho. The hymn is very often used on National and State occasions – particularly at Remembrance time.
Words: Isaac Watts; Tune: William Croft
O Happy Day
Written by Gospel legend Edwin Hawkins, this hymn later became a crossover hit for artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, and Glen Campbell.
Words and Music: Edwin Hawkins
O Jesus, I Have Promised
This hymn challenges us to commit ourselves to Jesus and to ask for strength to follow his values. It was written in 1869 by the priest, John Ernest Bode. It is most usually sung today to the tune “Wolvercote” by W.H.Feguson, but it enjoyed some popularity in the 1960’s when set to the contemporary tune’ “Hatherop Castle” by Geoffrey Beaumont.
Words: J.E.Bode; Tune: W.H.Ferguson
O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
George Matheson was a Scottish priest who wrote this hymn in 1882. He became blind at a fairly early age and this caused him much hardship and suffering. The hymn has become a particular favourite of those whose lives are touched by tragedy and loss, but who understand that they are held in the arms of a loving God. The hymn is paired to the tune “Saint Margaret”.
Words: George Matheson; Tune: Albert Peace
Over All The Earth (Lord Reign In Me)
This worship song was written in 1998 when Brenton Brown was part of the Vineyard church movement in Oxford. It speaks of God’s kingdom being present here on earth and includes a call for God to reign in all of us.
Words and Music: Brenton Brown
Praise Is Rising
A collaboration by two contemporary hymn writers inspired by Matthew 21, the description of Jesus’s triumphant ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the worship he inspired in those who saw him.
Words and Music: Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche
Praise My Soul, The King Of Heaven
This ever-popular hymn, written by the cleric, Henry Francis Lyte, draws its inspiration and themes from Psalm 103. It is set to music by sometime organist of St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir John Goss. It is used regularly on National and State occasions.
Words: H.F.Lyte; Tune: Sir John Goss
Praise To The Holiest In The Height
This hymn was written in 1865 by Cardinal John Henry Newman and comes from his “Dream of Gerontius”. Most famously used by Edward Elgar in his oratorio of the same name as the soul of the old man, Gerontius, crosses the threshold of death into purgatory.
The hymn is still used today paired with a number of different tunes. As well as “Somervell” and “Gerontius”, it is often sung to “Richmond” and “Billings”.
Words: J.H.Newman; Tunes: Somervell – Arthur Somervell; Gerontius – J.B.Dykes
Praise To The Lord, The Almighty
This great hymn of praise was originally written in 1680 and later translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in 1863. The tune “Lobe den Herren” is most likely based on a German folk tune and is most famous for being used by J.S.Bach in his great cantata of the same name.
Words: J.Neander; Tune: German
See What A Morning
A worship song by two contemporary hymn writers for Easter Day, the most important day in the Christian calendar.
Words and Music : Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
Shine, Jesus, Shine
This Christian praise song was written in 1987 by the singer/songwriter, Graham Kendrick. It is an uplifting song asking for the Lord’s presence to be a source of warmth, comfort and strength.
Words and Music: Graham Kendrick
Soon And Very Soon
This hymn was written by American gospel singer, songwriter and pastor Andraé Crouch. It describes the promise of living again on the other side as a result of the sacrifice Jesus made to wash away sins. It is a popular hymn with various references to scripture and a hopeful message that resonates with Christians across the world.
Words and Music by: Andraé Crouch
Soul Of My Saviour
This hymn became very popular in the last part of the 19th century in British Roman Catholic churches, where it was used for evening benediction services. The text is based on the original Latin text, Anima Christi, the prayer frequently said after Holy Communion. It is possibly attributed to Pope John XXII. The tune was written by the Jesuit priest, William J.Mather.
Words: Pope John XXII; Music: William Mather
Spirit Of God, Unseen As The Wind
This simple hymn speaks of the union between the work of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. It is set to the traditional Scottish folk song, “Skye Boat Song” which makes it easy to sing.
Words: Margaret Old; Tune: Traditional Scottish
Strength Will Rise (Everlasting God)
Brenton Brown wrote the words of this worship song after being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. After praying and reflecting on Isaiah 40, verses 28 to 31, he found courage and felt God’s support and that message is echoed in his text.
Words and Music: Brenton Brown and Ken Riley
Take My Life And Let It Be
This hymn was written in 1874 by the religious poet and hymn writer, Frances Havergal. Although always in frail health, Havergal led a very active spiritual life and encouraged many people to turn to Jesus through her own strong faith. The tune, “Consecration” to which this hymn is often sung, was written by Frances’ father, Rev William Henry Havergal, who was himself a prominent composer and hymn writer.
Words: Frances Havergal; Tune: W.H.Havergal
Tell Out My Soul
Written in 1962 by Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith, this hymn is a paraphrase of Mary’s Song, “The Magnificat”. It is set to the tune “Woodlands” by Walter Greatorex, written earlier in 1916.
Tell Out My Soul brought Dudley-Smith’s hymn writing to national prominence.
Words: Timothy Dudley-Smith; Tune: Walter Greatorex
The Church’s One Foundation
This hymn was written as a response to a crisis in the Church of South Africa, when the first Bishop of Natal denounced much of the Bible as being fictitious. This inspired Samuel Stone to write a set of hymns based on the Apostle’s Creed, of which this hymn is one. It is typically set to the tune, “Aurelia” by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Words: S.J. Stone; Tune: S.S. Wesley
The Day Thou Gavest Lord, Is Ended
Written in 1870 by Cheshire vicar, John Ellerton, the theme of the hymn is the worldwide fellowship of the Christian church and its unceasing offering of prayer and praise to God. The tune “St Clement” was published in Sir Arthur Sullivan’s hymnal, Church Hymns with Tunes. Although credited to Rev. Clement Scholefield, it is believed that Sullivan may have taken more than an editorial role.
Words: J. Ellerton; Tune: C.C. Scholefield
The King Of Love My Shepherd Is
This paraphrase of Psalm 23 was written in 1868 by the Baronet hymn writer, Sir Henry Baker and has remained a firm favourite ever since. It is normally sung to the tune “Dominus Regit Me” by J.B. Dykes, but it is also often paired with the Irish folk tune, “St Columba”.
Words: H.W. Baker; Tune: J.B. Dykes
The Lion And The Lamb
This song of adoration and praise describes God as both a powerful lion fighting our battles and as a lamb slain for the sins of the world.
Words and Music: Leeland Mooring, Brenton Brown, Brian Johnson
The Lord’s My Shepherd (Townend)
A popular contemporary setting of Psalm 23, Stuart Townend says he wrote it in about 10 minutes! He highlights a lot of “Movement” imagery (walking, leading, following) which speaks to him of an active response of faith to what the psalmist is saying.
Words and Music: Stuart Townend
The Lord’s My Shepherd (Crimond)
Perhaps the most famous and widely used of all the paraphrases of Psalm 23, this hymn, known as Crimond, is constantly being used at both weddings and funerals and tells of God being with us wherever we are. The tune “Crimond” was written by Jessie Seymour Irvine who was the daughter of a priest who served for a time at Crimond-the-Town.
Words: Psalm 23; Tune: Jessie Irvine
The Servant King
One of Graham Kendrick’s most enduring songs, The Servant King speaks of how Jesus lived his life as a “Servant King” and calls us to follow his example of humility and service.
Words and Music: Graham Kendrick
There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy
Frederick William Faber was an Anglican priest from Yorkshire who, converted to Catholicism in 1845. The hymn speaks of God’s “plentiful redemption” and “grace for thousands”. The words ally closely to John Wesley’s insistence that God’s grace is universally available to every human being. It is often sung to John Stainer’s tune, “Cross of Jesus”.
Words: F.W. Faber; Tune: Cross of Jesus – John Stainer; Corvedale – Maurice Bevan
There Is A Redeemer
This worship song was written by the American Christian, Melody Green. It was made popular by her husband, gospel singer Keith Green. Sadly he and two of their two children subsequently perished in a plane crash. Keith had written the third verse – unaware of the tragic end he would suffer.
Words and Music: Melody Green
Thine Be The Glory
This famous Easter hymn was written by the Swiss writer, Edmond Budry and translated into English by Richard Hoyle in 1923. It is set to the melody of a chorus from Handel’s oratorio, Judas Maccabaeus, “See, the Conquering hero comes”. The hymn is based on the Resurrection of Jesus and captures the joys of Easter Day.
Words: E.L. Budry; Tune: G.F. Handel
This Is Amazing Grace
A very contemporary song, it was the lead track on singer Phil Wickham’s studio album, “The Ascension” (2013). It was co-written by Wickham, Josh Farro and Jeremy Riddle. It became no 1 on the Christian Airplay Songs chart for 2014. The text of the song reminds us that because of Jesus, none of us are ever lost because God is with us always.
Words and Music: Phil Wickham/Josh Farro/Jeremy Riddle
To God Be The Glory
The text is unique from Fanny Crosby’s other hymns because, rather than focus on our experience of God, the words are wholly about God and his perfect glory. The hymn has been made particularly popular recently by the singer, Lou Fellingham.
Words: Fanny Crosby; Tune: William Howard Doane
We Cannot Measure How You Heal
This work written by Rev. John Bell of the Iona Community tells of God’s healing power – that healing can occur at any time – healing hands that “hold, heal and warn”. He also talks of healing through love. The words are set to the well-known Scottish folk tune “Ye Bank and Braes”.
Words: John Bell; Music: Scottish Traditional
What A Beautiful Name
This popular worship song has been performed and recorded by a number of different artists. It tells of how the mysteries and glories of God have been revealed through Jesus. It also tells of the love of God who sent his son to earth.
Words: Brooke Ligertwood; Tune: Ben Fielding
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
This hymn was written in 1855 by the Irish preacher, Joseph Scriven. It is believed he wrote it to comfort his mother who lived in Ireland, whilst he had moved to Canada. Scriven suffered a lot of hardships and ill-health in his life and turned to God for support and salvation.
Words: Joseph Scriven; Tune: Charles Converse
When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
This hymn was written in 1707 by Isaac Watts and was one of the first hymns to move away from simply paraphrasing biblical texts. Over the years it has been paired by various different tunes, but is best-known set to the tune “Rockingham” which was arranged by Edward Miller.
Words: Isaac Watts; Tune: E.Miller
Will You Come and Follow Me?
Known also as “The Summons”, this worship song was written in 1987 by the Rev. John Bell of the Iona Community. The hymn contains thirteen questions asked by Jesus in the first person. It is based on a passage from St Mark’s Gospel about Jesus calling his disciples to follow him. The words are set to a Scottish folk tune known as “Kelvingrove”.
Words: John Bell; Music: Scottish Traditional