Higher Than I #2: Praise To The Lord The Almighty

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Praise to the Lord The Almighty is the first track on the Clayton Church worship album Higher Than I. It is the second song in this blog series because the first article (Wonderful Cross) was aligned to the preview video shared and released in the lead up to the official album launch.

Album Tracks/Index

  1. Praise to the Lord Almighty (this article)
  2. Higher Than I
  3. Blessed Assurance
  4. Great is Your Love
  5. You Are 
  6. How Majestic
  7. I Desire
  8. Breathe on Me
  9. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  10. Wonderful Cross
  11. Summary / One Month Review

Official Links

Song Background

The English version of this hymn originates from the same mid to late 19th century – 1863 although the original German written by Joachin Neander was from 1680 some 200 years earlier. The hymn paraphrases Psalm 103 and Psalm 150 but also is inspired by the beauty of the hills and rivers that Neander experienced on his walks through the German countryside. In the Neander original, first the singer called himself (my beloved soul) to praise God, before calling for a larger group to join the praise with musical instruments as well as song. As a German hymn, it gained prominence after a 1800 performance before King Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia, who also considered it one of this favourite hymns.

The following English lyrics are based on the the English translation provided by Catherine Winkworth (1829-78):

Verse 1
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O, my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near,
Joining in glad adoration.

Verse 2
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shieldeth thee gently from harm, or when fainting sustaineth,
Hast thou not seen,
How thy heart’s wishes have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?

Verse 3
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend thee;
Ponder anew
What the Almighty can do,
If with his love he befriend thee.

Verse 4
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and berth, come now with praises before him!
Let the Amen
Sound from his people again:
Glad for aye we adore him.

This version of the hymn is extracted from my high school hymn book, and is reflective of the traditional translation, complete with old style English; where use of “thy” and “thou” indicate the singular and plural forms of “your”, plus the common suffix of “th/eth” which later became modernised as “s/es”. In modern English, Verse 2 above would read:

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigns,
Shield you gently from harm, or when fainting is sustained,
Have you not seen,
How your heart’s wishes have been
Granted in what he ordained?

2015 Production

The final version that the team developed set the tune to a fast pop/rock beat, and introduced a chorus/bridge segment:

Chorus
Praise Him!
Let the redeemed be the ones who will stand up to
Praise Him, Praise Him in glad adoration.

Bridge
Praise to the lord, almighty, almighty
Sing to the Lord, forever, forever

Both chorus and bridge are up-beat in melody and the chord progression allows for singing each repeatedly and with great gusto. A full harmony rendition of the entire song also helps to bring out the thunderous praise of a congregation singing praises to God, forever and ever. Praise to the Lord would go on to become the opening number of Worship Night 2015. The way we enhanced the hymn made it a great opening number because it combined an element of familiarity in the verses.

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