“TO GOD BE THE GLORY”

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and your glory above all the earth.  Psalm 108:5

 As Christians, we go to church and during the service we stand and sing hymns, and most of us never give any thought to who wrote the hymns or how they came to be so well-known.   Behind each hymn, there is a story of how the words came to be written and how they came to be inspired.  I am thankful that the hymn writers were able to put into words what I am sometimes feeling.  Many of these hymns have been around for a very long time and have blessed us, comforted us, convicted us, and inspired us.  Fannie Crosby, who was blind since childhood, wrote many of our most beloved hymns.  She wrote one our favorites, “To God Be the Glory”.

In 1954, Billy Graham was holding a crusade in London.  Things were not going very well.  Funds were short and staff had to take a pay cut to help fund the crusade.  There was a lot of opposition to the crusade.  Even in Parliament, some were accusing Graham of interfering in British politics under the guise of religion.  The British press was critical of Graham’s efforts and predicted Graham would fail and return to America with “his tail tucked between his legs.”  Friends in high places were advising Graham to cancel or postpone the meetings.  A shaken Billy Graham fell to his knees repeatedly, asking God for help and guidance.

Cliff Barrows was compiling hymns for the Greater London Crusade Songbook to be used during the crusades.  A prolific British preacher at Norwich Cathedral, who was a great lover of hymns, approached Barrows and gave him a copy of “Praise for Redemption”.  This hymn was written by Fannie Crosby and had first appeared in a songbook published in 1875, but had never been widely recognized.  Though unfamiliar with the hymn, Barrows decided to use it anyway.

As it turned out, the crusade meetings were packed out for three months, and the crusades sparked a sense of revival across Great Britain.  “To God Be the Glory” seemed a fitting theme for the crusades, and this wonderful old hymn with its words of praise was sung almost every night.  It became known as “To God Be the Glory” and has become one of Christianity’s favorite hymns.

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, his greatness no one can fathom.  Psalm 145:3

Praise the Lord.  How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him.  Psalm 147:1

Praise the Lord.  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.  Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.  Psalm 150