Praise to the Lord, the Almighty | Joachim Neander (1650-1680)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
O my soul, praise Him, for He is your health and salvation
Come all who hear, now to His temple draw near
Join me in glad adoration
Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning
Shelters thee under His wings and so gently sustaining
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
Sent by His gracious ordaining
Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you
Surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend you
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do
If with His loveHe befriends you
Praise to the Lord, oh let all that is in me adore Him
All that have life and breath come now with praises before Him
Let the amen sound from His people again
Gladly forever adore Him
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.”
“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!”
About the hymn writer:
Joachim Neander’s (1650-1680) Praise to the Lord, the Almighty is considered the foremost German, post-reformation, praise hymn.
Neander was born in Bremen, Germany; his father was a Latin teacher and his grandfather a musician. He would learn from both.
Though his father passed away when he was 16, he went on to study theology locally in Bremen. His heart was not in his studies and he was known as somewhat of a wild student until he heard a sermon by Theodor Undereyk, a leader in the German Pietism movement. It was right then, in 1670, his final year of school, that the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin and changed his heart.
He became a private tutor in Heidelberg the following year, where he met a few young men who helped instill “heart religion” in him, which was in contrast to the coldness of many of the Lutheran Churches of the time.
This same “Herzensreligion” (heart religion) movement also motivated other young men such as Paul Gerhardt (O Sacred Head, Now Wounded) who would also go on to write many great hymns. Four years later he became a teacher at a Latin school in Dusseldorf.
While in Dusseldorf, he enjoyed going to a certain valley by the Dussel River, which inspired him to write many poems and hymns. His hymns were often built around his reflection and amazement at God’s creation. He often gave sermons to those gathering there in the valley. His popularity with the common people caused problems with the local church administration, so he moved back to Bremen in 1679, finally becoming a clergyman.
This beautiful, hymn inspiring valley in Dusseldorf was later renamed The Neandertal in honor of Joachim’s ministry. Ironically, this place used by God to inspire him to write such beautiful words in song about the Creator, would go on to be the excavation site of the evolutionary Neanderthal Man, discovered in 1856.
Neander wrote about 60 hymns in his short life, dying of either the plague or tuberculosis in 1680, just one year into his Bremen pastorate in the German Reformed Church.
Come Ye Sinners Poor And Needy
Joachim Neander’s (1650-1680)
Come ye sinners poor and needy
Weak and wounded sick and sore
Jesus ready stands to save you
Full of pity love and power
I will arise and go to Jesus
He will embrace me in His arms
In the arms of my dear Savior
O there are ten thousand charms
Come ye thirsty come and welcome
God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance
Every grace that brings you nigh
Come ye weary heavy laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry till you’re better
You will never come at all
Lo th’incarnate God ascended
Pleads the merit of His blood
Venture on Him venture wholly
Let no other trust intrude
CCLI Song # 3394478
CCLI License # 275470
Joseph Hart was born in London (1712-1768). His early life is involved in obscurity. His education was fairly good; and from the testimony of his brother-in-law, and successor in the ministry in Jewin Street, the Rev. John Hughes, “his civil calling was” for some time “that of a teacher of the learned languages.” His early life, according to his own Experience which he prefaced to his Hymns, was a curious mixture of loose conduct, serious conviction of sin, and endeavors after amendment of life, and not until Whitsuntide, 1757, did he realize a permanent change, which was brought about mainly through his attending divine service at the Moravian Chapel, in Fetter Lane, London, and hearing a sermon. During the next two years many of his most earnest and impassioned hymns were written.
In 1757, after living a life he described as “carnal and spiritual wickedness, irreligious and profane,” Joseph Hart turned to Christ (Psalter Hymnal Handbook). Two years later, he wrote this famous hymn. Now, having undergone numerous text and tune changes, it still remains a classic hymn of invitation to turn from our sinful ways by the grace of God into the waiting arms of our Savior. The added refrain hearkens back to the story of the prodigal son, who, like Hart, turned from a life of waywardness and folly back to his father’s waiting arms. The hymn is thus an invitation to bring our broken, humbled selves before Christ knowing that he waits for us, and, with the refrain, a response to that call, a declaration that by the grace of God, we will rise up and go to Jesus.