John Henry Wilcox was an American church organist who died at the relatively young age of 49. He is known in hymn history for one small contribution. He wrote the tune Faben, that is often used with a couple of hymns: Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him, and Lord, with Glowing Heart I’d Praise Thee.
Both of these are hymns of praise to God. And some form of the word “praise” is found over 250 times in our English Bibles. We see it first when Jacob’s wife Leah praises the Lord for the birth of Judah (Gen. 29:35). And in John’s vision of the eternal heavenly city we read of a command that will issue from the throne of God, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him both small and great” (Rev. 19:5).
Over 150 times in the book of Psalms alone we read of praising God. This suggests a dominant theme of the book. David the psalmist declares, “I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Ps. 9:2). Because of the greatness of our God, He is utterly deserving of all the praise we can render to Him. “The Lord…is worthy to be praised” (Ps. 18:2). In the words of Francis Scott Key’s 1819 hymn,
Lord, with glowing heart I’d praise Thee,
For the bliss Thy love bestows,
For the pardoning grace that saves me,
And the peace that from it flows:
Help, O God, my weak endeavour;
This dull soul to rapture raise:
Thou must light the flame, or never
Can my love be warmed to praise.
(2) Gracious Father, Guard Thy Children (Data Missing)
This is a thoughtful hymn expressing a prayer for God’s protection in a time of trial. The author is unknown. You can hear the tune on the Cyber Hymnal.
Gracious Father, guard Thy children
From the foe’s destructive power;
Save, O save them, Lord, from falling
In this dark and trying hour.
Thou wilt surely prove Thy people,
All our graces must be tried;
But Thy Word illumes our pathway,
And in God we still confide.
We are in the time of waiting;
Soon we shall behold our Lord,
Wafted far away from sorrow,
To receive our rich reward.
Keep us, Lord, till Thine appearing,
Pure, unspotted, from the world;
Let Thy Holy Spirit cheer us
Till Thy banner is unfurled.
With what joyful exultation
Shall the saints Thy banner see,
When the Lord for whom we’ve waited
Shall proclaim the jubilee!
Freedom from this world’s pollutions;
Freedom from all sin and pain;
Freedom from the wiles of Satan,
And from death’s destructive reign.