Higher Than I #4: Blessed Assurance

Higher Than I

Blessed Assurance is the third track of the Clayton Church worship album, Higher Than I, which was officially launched on Sunday 1 May.

Album Tracks/Index

  1. Praise to the Lord Almighty
  2. Higher Than I
  3. Blessed Assurance (This article)
  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 original hymn lyrics were written by Frances J Crosby in 1873 who was blind since the age of six weeks, whilst the music composition was developed by Phoebe P Knapp. Frances was visited by Phoebe who played a melody to her friend and invited her to help develop the song lyrics. Crosby’s response we know today as the entire first stanza of the first verse:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!

With her Bible in hand, and after prayer, the words began to flow from Frances’ heart. Whilst Phoebe had originally named the tune Assuance, Frances helped to complete it as Blessed Assurance.

Phoebe was one of the first tune writers to work with Frances and ended up composing over 500+ gospel hymns and tunes. This hymn was one of the minority where the lyrics was inspired by a preexisting tune. Whilst it was first published in 1873 and today is part of the United Methodist Hymnal, the song gained prominence when it was sung extensively by Moddy and Sankey revivals in the UK and US during the 1880s, a decade after it was first penned. The poetic flow of the lyrics demonstrates Crosby’s understanding and Wesleyan doctrine of Christian perfection: O what a foretaste of glory divine!”. The focus of the hymn is on heaven, a place of “perfect submission” and “perfect delight”. Our worldly existence is reflected in the “watching and waiting, looking above”. We are reborn in Christ’s image when we submit ourselves to Christ and are “filled with His goodness” and are “lost in his love”; part of journey of faith in growing and moving towards the perfection of Christ.

We can truly appreciate the sensual richness of the hymn given Frances’ blindness when we sing “visions of rapture, burst on my sight” and then hear the “echos of mercy, whispers of love”. The choral refrain challenges us to praise our “Saviour, all the day long”, which reminds us of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing”. The following is the complete original set of lyrics:

Verse 1
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.


This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.


Verse 2
Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.


Verse 3
Perfect submission, all is at rest!
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in His love.

2015 Production

Fast forward to 2015 and our worship team modernisation effort, to help us appreciate the hymn, we sang it through complete with the repeated refrain/chorus. In our effort to preserve the original melody, our focus was simple in enhancing the existing song with an instrumental/bridge with the lyric echoing the refrain “My story, my song,  my saviour, all day long”. Initially we tried to make it a proper echo where these lyrics were sung in echo to the chorus itself:

This is my story (my story), this is my song (my song)
Praising my Saviour (my Saviour), all the day long (all day long)

After experimenting and singing this over and over, we tried singing it acapella as an introduction, where one singer sang the tag line as a solo, and we slowly added harmonies in, repeating the tag line so that by the time we had a full four-part harmony, we could then launch into the verse. This arrangement was performed before the group but in the months leading up to the Worship Night finalisation of song arrangements, this changed to the simple instrumental/tag addition sung at the end of the regular arrangement of verse – chorus/refrain – verse.