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Real Answers™
Copyright: © 2008 Jan White
500 words


By: Jan White

If there were a game show called “Name That Hymn,” I could make it to the final round and probably win the game. 

Growing up in church and having a mother who plays the piano and organ created a musical memory bank in my brain.  Off the top of my head, I would guess I could name most hymns in less than five notes. 

Hearing a particular hymn can take me down memory lane.  For instance, every time I hear “Blessed Assurance,” I picture an elderly lady, seated at the end of a pew, who always stood up from the first verse to the last chorus as the congregation sang this hymn, whether or not anyone else stood.  She rejoiced so in the words, praising her Lord for the comfort of knowing she belonged to Him.

I could answers questions about hymnology – the history of hymns and their composers.  Fanny Crosby, who wrote “Blessed Assurance,” and thousands of other hymns, said, “I think that life is not too long and therefore I determine, That many people read a song who will never read a sermon.”  Studying the history of a hymn makes it even more meaningful.  Crosby, a small frail woman who was also blind, could still write hymns of praise to God.

As I sat in a rocking chair in the middle of the night hoping our infant daughter would go back to sleep, I would often sing her a comforting hymn         over and over.  Two years later, while I was driving and thinking about a troubling situation, God must have known I needed to hear that comforting hymn.  Out of the silence of the car, my preschooler suddenly began singing, “Peace, peace, wonderful peace, coming down from the Father above.”  My troubled thoughts were calmed.

Bible scholar A.W. Tozer once wrote, “Sometimes our hearts are strangely stubborn and will not soften or grow tender no matter how much praying we do.  At such times, it is often found that the reading or singing of a good hymn will melt the ice jam and start the inward affections flowing.”


I’ve heard it said, “He who sings, prays twice.”  After all, the Apostle Paul teaches us to speak to “one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).  Even if you can’t carry a tune, anyone can “make a joyful noise to the Lord.” (Psalm 100).

Charles Allen has said, “There are two types of unfamiliar hymns.  One is the hymn that we have never heard or sung before.  However, another hymn that is unfamiliar is the one we have sung so many times that we sing it and never think about it.”

The next time you sing a hymn remember the words of Elizabeth Landon who said, “Music is God’s best gift to man.  The only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven.”


"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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