Favorite Hymns: 1-12

I was going through my hymn files I have saved on my computer, trying to organize them (and avoid printing 400 pages to get a good hymnal), and realized I have 48 favorite hymns. I’m using “hymn” rather loosely here – not just older songs written with 4-part harmony, but even some of the newer music that has solid words. I mentioned this on Facebook and people asked for me to post them. So for 48 days I posted hymn after hymn, often listing my favorite verses and linking to a recording that was somewhere between tolerable and gorgeous.
Here are the first twelve of those for my blog readers!

Hymn #1: A Mighty Fortress
Favorite verses:
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Hymn #2: Abide With Me
{this one is not only a beautiful hymn but also has memories attached to it, especially of Csehy – when Dr. Hsu died – ‘Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness’ and when leaving Csehy unsure of when I can ever be back – ‘O Thou who changest not, abide with me.’}

Favorite verses:
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

{Oh, and it’s got an incredibly fun tenor line. Which is why I didn’t post this second video as the main one, but am posting it here because I like Libera}

Hymn #3: Ah, Holy Jesus
{This hymn first attracted me because of the music, but the words are wonderful, too. It’s probably my favorite passion hymn because the music feels the suffering more than many of the other ones, even O Sacred Head in my opinion, I think because of the tempo and the leaps}

Favorite verse:
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

I couldn’t find a recording I was thrilled with, but here is one, and here is an arrangement of it I did, along with O Sacred Head.

Hymn #4: All That Thrills My Soul is Jesus
{this one I learned at Csehy one year, and has always been either joy or challenge to sing: joy when I really can say “ALL – the only thing – that thrills my soul is Jesus” and challenge when it’s not true, for it to become true. He is wonderful!}

Favorite verses:
Love of Christ so freely given,
Grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea.

Every need His hand supplying,
Every good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying,
He is All in All to me.

Hymn #5: Amazing Grace
{yes, a classic… but the more I sing it the more I realize WHY it’s a classic}

My favorite two verses, which seem to be the least well-known.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

{this recording isn’t vocal, but my favorite way of Amazing Grace: Highland Games massed bands, with the Pipe Majors starting and then everyone joining in. So amazing}

Hymn #6: And Can it Be
Favorite verses:
He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race;
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

{another ‘classic,’ but again for good reason! This is also one we grew up singing a lot because it’s my dad’s favorite. I couldn’t find a good recording for this one}

Hymn #7: Be Still My Soul
{This one brings me to tears just about every time I sing it. It’s probably the hymn that’s most laden with memories: Mr. Hinkson’s death, uncertainties and fears at graduation, sleepless nights early on in Ezra’s and my courtship, reminders to trust when the future is unclear. It was “the hymn” of Csehy 2010. #347, y’all!}

Favorite verses: {okay, so it’s almost the whole thing}
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

And this part of this verse:
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.
{do note that there are 5 verses – we normally sing just 3 of them}

Hymn #8: Be Thou My Vision
Favorite verse:
Be Thou my battle-shield, sword for my fight,
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight.
Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower.
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

{this is the version I grew up with – Michael Card’s. This is Maire Brennan’s, which is in Gaelic but beautiful. She doesn’t start until 1:50. And then I have to put in Gillingham’s band arrangement, because it’s so lovely}

Hymn #9: Before the Throne
{old words, new tune}

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

Hymn #10: Behold Our God
{new words, new music, old truths. this is a favorite because it reminds me so much of Isaiah 40}

Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!

Hymn #11: Come Thou Fount

Favorite verses:
all of them. So go to Cyberhymnal to read them all, even the ones we don’t usually sing.

Hymn #12: Come Ye Sinners

Favorite verse:
Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.



3 thoughts on “Favorite Hymns: 1-12

  1. Christianna H. Sauve says:

    Thanks for sharing! I have never sat down and written out a list but I know I have many “favorites”. Numbers 2, 3, and 8 on your list would rank high on mine! Love those.


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