Posted by: rcottrill | June 4, 2012

Showers of Blessing

Words: Daniel Webster Whittle (b. Nov. 22, 1840; d. Mar. 4, 1901)
Music: James McGranahan (b. July 4, 1840; July 9, 1907)

Wordwise Hymns (Daniel Whittle born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This song is sometimes given the longer title There Shall Be Showers of Blessing. For some reason, many hymn books fail to include the fifth stanza of the song. It is significant, as it makes a practical and personal application. You might consider including it in the church bulletin, if you hymnal doesn’t have it. Or projecting it for all to see, when the time comes to sing the song.

The partnership of “Major” Whittle (his rank in the Civil War) and James McGranahan was a rich and productive one for eleven years. But it began at a scene of terrible tragedy. When hymn writer Philip Bliss and his wife were killed in a train accident in 1876, Mr. McGranahan hurried to the scene. There he met Daniel Whittle, the evangelist with whom Bliss had been working. Beside the wreck, the two men formed a friendship that was to be fruitful in evangelistic ministry and the creation of gospel music later. Among many other songs, this team gave us:

Beloved, Now Are We the Sons of God
Christ Liveth in Me
I Know Whom I Have Believed
Showers of Blessing
The Banner of the Cross
The Crowning Day Is Coming

The actual phrase, “showers of blessing,” occurs only once in the Scriptures, in Ezekiel 34:26. There it describes the time of millennial blessing in store for the nation of Israel, under the coming reign of their Messiah King. However, the words also provide an apt description of the times of spiritual blessing poured out from the Lord upon the body of Christ, or upon individual Christians.

CH-1) There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Saviour above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

Words such as revive and revival are found a number of times in the Bible. Often they refer to a physical revival, the restoration of physical life (cf. I Kgs. 17:22). But there can also be a spiritual reviving, a restoration of spiritual vitality and fruitfulness in the people of God. Though some use the term almost as a synonym for a person’s soul salvation, it does not refer to that. The one who is dead in sins needs the new birth, not revival. Spiritual revival is needed by believers who have grown cold, or who have backslidden and need to repent and return to the Lord.

Some teach that if we simply pray hard enough, the Lord will bring widespread revival to Christendom. But that teaching isn’t found in the Bible–certainly not on this side of the cross. Widespread revival does happen occasionally, and the prayers of God’s people are certainly involved. But many times God’s people pray earnestly for revival fires and they don’t come. Revival seems to be a sovereign work of God that cannot be programmed for or prayed down.

What we can and should do is be sensitive when there’s a need for personal and individual revival in our own hearts, and call upon the Lord to restore our own souls. As the concluding stanza of the gospel song indicates, this can only happen as we confess our sins and return to a path of consistent faith and obedience toward God.

When we are revived according to the Word of God (Ps. 119:25), and brought back to following the ways of God (vs. 37, 40), the effects of this can spread, and others will be drawn closer to the Lord. This kind of personal revival is what Daniel Whittle’s song focuses on particularly.

Thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isa. 57:15).

CH-3) There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honour Thy Word.

CH-5) There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

1) What are the indications in an individual’s life that revival is needed?

2) How does individual revival sometimes affect others around?

Wordwise Hymns (Daniel Whittle born, died)
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. I appreciate this blog. And your love for hymns. I find myself drawn back to the proven truths expressed in those great songs.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Drop by any time. 🙂

  2. When I was growing up, whenever it rained on Sunday evening, we sang this hymn in our evening service.

    • Interesting. I was reminiscing on Sunday about another custom I recall as a small child. This past week-end our Queen celebrated the diamond jubilee of her reign, so I decided to open the service with a couple of stanzas of God Save the Queen.

      I told the folks that in the church I attended as a small child we began every worship service with the singing of God Save the Queen, and O Canada. Personally, I can’t think now of a way to defend that on biblical, spiritual, or practical grounds, but we did it. It was just after the war. Maybe that made a difference. But I’d much rather hear O Worship the King, or Come, Thou Almighty King exalting the Almighty. A place for everything, and everything in its place!

  3. It is a rainy Sunday here in South Texas. Any day it rains in San Antonio is a blessing. So I was looking up references to rain in my Bible and Ezekial 34: 26 was the verse suggested. In my Bible I have the hymns from the Baptist Hymnal on the page where the Biblical reference is found. lNaturally, Showers of Blessings was there. I found your site on google and was surprised to learn that verse 5 is not included in hymnals. I have several other denominations hymnals and none of them has the 5th verse. Having grown up in the church I was in awe that you included it. Thanks.

    • Thanks for your encouragement. As to the fifth verse of Showers of Blessing, it really is the most important of all, since it makes a personal application, and shows how we can enjoy the blessing of God. The hymnal Living Hymns (a fine hymn book) does include it. God bless.

  4. Reblogged this on Lutheran Ladies Connection and commented:
    I think this song and especially the comments in the post about revival are significant for me and for my church at this time. I’m hoping other readers will find it meaningful as well. It is certainly a beautiful and uplifting hymn.

    • Thanks for the reblog, and for your comments. I think the first step to a time of spiritual refreshing is often that sense of need–a need for closer fellowship with the Lord and for His tender mercy and grace in our lives (Heb. 4:15-16). God bless.

      • Maybe you would like to check out the Lutheran Ladies Connection. We often post about Christian hymns or songs that are important to us in our Christian walk, although not in the historical detail you have supplied. Your information and thoughts are much appreciated.


%d bloggers like this: