Praise to the Lord, The Almighty

The author of this hymn, Joachim Neander, was born in Bremen, Germany in 1650. In his early years, he lived a lusty, immoral life. Then he and a group of friends decided to attend a service conducted by a visiting preacher, Pastor Under-Eyke, and Neander was quickly converted. In his mid-20s, Neander became director of the Latin School of Dusseldorf, where he served for several years. He experienced considerable opposition there because of his pietism, and was eventually dismissed from that position. He then suffered declining health, and died at age 30. Neander’s life was tragic in the classic sense—a life of great potential cut short by an untimely death. However, he wrote 60 hymns—most during his tenure at the Latin School. Most are hymns of joyful praise, even though they were written at a time when Neander was living under considerable stress. “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” is based on Psalms 103 and 150. It was inspired not only by those psalms but also by the beauty of the hills and rivers that Neander experienced on his walks through the German countryside1. As you can imagine there are lots of versions! Below are some of my favourite.

Praise to the Lord! the Almighty,
The King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him,
For He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to His temple draw near,
Join me in glad adoration!

Praise to the Lord! Who o’er
All things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings,
Yea, so gently sustaineth:
Hast thou not seen,
How thy desires have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord! Who doth prosper
Thy work, and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy
Here daily attend thee;
Ponder anew,
What the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee!

Praise to the Lord! Oh let all that is
In me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath,
Come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen,
Sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him!

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