Thursday, October 22, 2009

Isaac Watts

Each morning as I do my time with God, I spend a little time entering information into my gratitude journal. One of the headings is: I am Grateful for:

here's what I wrote today: God's Holy Spirit. Just when I get down on myself, the Spirit reassures me of that which I need to acknowledge daily...greater is He that is IN me than he that is in the world, and I can do ALL things through Him who gives strength to the weak and power to the powerless.

Writing that brought to mind a hymn I used to play in church (20 years as a church organist)....O, God, Our Help in Ages Past. The first verse reads:

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

The words are divinely inspired. It is unfortunate that in today's church pastors are inclined to minister to the masses by incorporating rock and roll and secular music to services which are supposed to be held to worship God, lift up His name and give blessings to Him and not to give man what he wants,....rock and roll and a good show.

O, God, our help was written by Isaac Watts, known as the father of English hymnodie. His parents were "dissenters" (not members of the Anglican Church) and therefore faced severe persecution in their day.

What kind of a man was Isaac Watts? To quote from his biography: "We can form some idea from an essay written after a violent thunderstorm in which he wrote the following words: "Happy the soul whose hope in God composes all his passions amid these storms of nature, and renders his whole deportment peaceful and serene amid the frights of weak spirits and unfortified minds.""

Isaac Watts wrote many hymns that bring a smile to this old organist's face; such as:

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Am I Soldier of the Cross
Abide With Me
All for Jesus
All Glory, Laud and Honor
And Can It Be
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing


America the Beautiful
Away in a Manger
Angels We Have Heard on High
Christ the Lord is Risen Today

This is just to name a few, there are many, many more. Isaac wrote over 600 hymns. He has a fabulous history and is one of those people we and our children should be reading about today. His inspirational biography is on line and can be read FREE! HERE.

I believe we are living in days when we will need to be inspired by those who have gone on before us and our children even more so.

Here are the rest of the words to O, God, Our Help in Ages Past.

So, today when you read about all the difficulties that are happening around us, remember Isaac Watts and his method of dealing with the madness: Put all your hope, thoughts, and dreams in the hands of the Lord of Our Righteousness, Jesus Christ.


  1. Nice post. Re. Isaac Watts - yeah!!

    That said, there are quite a number of modern worship songs (by no means all) that I find stir the Holy Spirit in me

    I know it's overplayed, but Hillsong's "Mighty to Save" springs immediately to mind. We are told to test the spirits, but we are also told to sing a new song to the Lord.

  2. I love "Mighty to Save" and "Finally Home" and many, many other current worship songs. Please don't misunderstand. I'm just saying that many churches today are phasing out old hymns like those written by Fannie Crosby and Isaac Watts in favor of worship songs, choruses and (some, like the church I attend) completely secular music which has some sort of theme which might play into the sermon for the day. Where have you been, by the way. I always look forward to your insights and look forward to reading what you have to say.