Posted by: rcottrill | October 6, 2014

Thank You, Lord

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Words: Seth Sykes (b. _____, 1892; d. _____, 1950) and Bessie Sykes (b. _____, 1905; d. _____, 1982)
Music: Seth and Bessie Sykes

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Seth Sykes)

Note: Many know this song from 1940 simply as a little chorus (“Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul…”), though it is actually a gospel song with three stanzas, as well as the refrain. Along the way, someone–not the Sykes, as far as I know–added a useful second part to the chorus:

Thank You, Lord, for answering prayer;
Thank You, Lord, for lifting my care;
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Faith and assurance, and victory.

Some form of the word “thank” or “praise” is found in our English Bibles 400 times. In a similar vein an old gospel song says, “Count your blessings; name them one by one.” That’s a healthy exercise. Taking the time to ponder some of the ways the Lord has blessed us, and to praise Him, is uplifting and encouraging, as well as honouring to Him. As the people of God, we should abound in thanksgiving, and be vigilant to saturate our prayers with it–something that will be part of our lives for all eternity (Rev. 7:12).

“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7). “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thess. 5:18).

And if we were to think of prioritizing the things for which we’re grateful to God, certainly His great salvation, provided by our Saviour, should rank at or near the top. With the psalmist we say:

“My soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in His salvation” (Ps. 35:9). “Let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘The LORD be magnified!’” (Ps. 40:16).

A couple of God’s servants who praised Him for that, and preached the good news of it to others, were Scottish evangelists Seth and Bessie Sykes. Mr. Sykes began his working life with Glasgow Corporation Tramways, where he was a conductor and motorman. He was also Secretary of the Tramway Christian Association, and received permission from the department’s chairman to hand out Christian literature and Bibles.

In 1929 Sykes left his job to become a full-time evangelist. He traveled around Britain and abroad with his wife Bessie, preaching and telling stories from the Bible. The latter were illustrated with lantern slides (a novelty in those days). Old-timers from Glasgow and from the Channel Islands speak of how they, or their parents, were saved under the ministry of the Sykes.

Bessie is reported to have been a warm Christian woman, with a powerful singing voice. She also played a small portable reed organ (erroneously called a barrel organ in some of the literature). The Sykes made at least one recording–which includes the song “Thank You, Lord.” (If you know where I can get a copy of the recording, please let me know.)

That song describes our salvation as first and greatest among many things to be thankful for.

1) Some thank the Lord for friends and home,
For mercies sure and sweet;
But I would praise Him for His grace–
In prayer I would repeat:

Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank You, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

Another gospel song from the pen of Seth Sykes, in 1926, is Love, Wonderful Love. Once again, though it has three stanzas, the refrain has been used by itself as well. The third line, containing the phrase “wide, wide as the ocean,” may perhaps have contributed to the mistaken idea that the Sykes also wrote the chorus by that name. But Wide, Wide as the Ocean was written by Austin Miles. The refrain of Mr. Sykes song says:

Love, wonderful love, the love of Christ to me,
Love, wonderful love, so rich, so full, so free;
Wide, wide as the ocean, deep, deep as the sea,
High, high as the heav’ns above, His love to me.

1) What are some reasons to thank the Lord for His great salvation?

2) What are some other things for which you can thank the Lord, today?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal (Seth Sykes)


  1. I’m a new subscriber to your blog and really enjoy it. My two favorite Hymns are “Be Not Afraid” and “On Eagles Wing” but I didn’t see them in your directory. Will you be doing either of those at any time? If so please let me know, I would love to read them and share them with my husband.
    Thank you, and God Bless.
    Katie Bonzer

    • Thanks for getting in touch Katie. Over the last few years I’ve written on well over a thousand hymns, and still counting, but haven’t got to the ones you mentioned yet. My goal is to cover all of the ones published in the standard non-denominational hymnals over the last sixty-five years or so. I do depart from that occasionally, but that’s my main focus. Since I also write a weekly newspaper column on the subject, and am filling in at a church that is without a pastor, it keeps me going. God bless.

      • Wow you know how to keep busy. Good for you! Well no matter what you write i look forward to reading along. Thanks so much.


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