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Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The best-loved expressions of praise for God’s care-taking work of his children comes from the familiar words of Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1, Question and Answer 1: “My only comfort in life and death [is] that I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil...Because I belong to him, Christ by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes we wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.”
 

This great truth is explained more completely by Belgic Confession, Article 20. God has given his Son to die for us “…by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him, we might have immortality and eternal life.” And in Article 21, “…He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.” For this redemptive work we give praise and adoration.

Additional Prayers

Creator of all, you formed us in your image and filled us with life-giving breath.
We bless you: even your name is holy.
Redeemer of all, you have ransomed and healed us, restored and forgiven us.
We remember your blessings with thankful praise.
Sustainer of all, tune the very fiber of our being to resonate with the songs of angels.
We join the hymn of all creation, praising you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—one God forever. Amen.

Tune Information

Name
LAUDA ANIMA
Key
D Major
Meter
8.7.8.7.8.7

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

One of two hymn texts that Henry F. Lyte based on Psalm 103, this text was published in Lyte's Spirit of the Psalms (1834) in five stanzas.
 
John Goss composed LAUDA ANIMA (Latin for the opening words of Psalm 103) for this text in 1868. Along with his original harmonizations, intended to interpret the different stanzas, the tune was also included in the appendix to Robert Brown—Borthwick's Supplemental Hymn and Tune Book (1869). LAUDA ANIMA is one of the finest tunes that arose out of the Victorian era. A reviewer in The Musical Times, June 1869, said, "It is at once the most beautiful and dignified hymn tune which has lately come under our notice."
 
Singers and accompanists will want to emphasize the melodic contours and not the marching rhythms emphasized by the bar lines. Organists, take advantage of Goss's interpretation of the various stanzas by playing the first stanza with solid and firm foundation stops, the second (if accompanied) with quieter sound, and the third with a very legato gentle sound on strings. Then open all the stops for a majestic conclusion on the fifth stanza.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Henry Francis Lyte (b. Ednam, near Kelso, Rosburghshire, Scotland, 1793; d. Nice, France, 1847) was orphaned at an early age. He decided to pursue a medical career, although he also had an early interest in poetry. At Trinity College, Dublin, Scotland, he was awarded a prize for his poems on three different occasions. While at Trinity, he decided to become a minister and in 1815 was ordained in the Church of England. He served a number of parishes, including Lower Brixham, a small fishing village in Devonshire (1823-1847). Lyte wrote a considerable body of poetry, hymns, and psalm paraphrases, which were published in Tales on the Lord's Prayer in Verse (1826), Poems, Chiefly Religious. (1833, 1845, slightly enlarged posthumously as Miscellaneous Poems, 1868), and The Spirit of the Psalms (1834, 1836). Because of ill health Lyte made winter visits to the French Riviera from 1844 until his death there in 1847.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

As a boy, John Goss (b. Fareham, Hampshire, England, 1800; d. London, England, 1880) was a chorister at the Chapel Royal and later sang in the opera chorus of the Covent Garden Theater. He was a professor of music at the Royal Academy of Music (1827-1874) and organist of St. Paul Cathedral, London (1838-1872); in both positions he exerted significant influence on the reform of British cathedral music. Goss published Parochial Psalmody (1826) and Chants, Ancient and Modern (1841); he edited William Mercer's Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1854). With James Turle he published a two-volume collection of anthems and Anglican service music (1854).
— Bert Polman

Song Notes

In the mid-nineteenth century, the pressure was on hymn writers to keep their versifications of psalms as close to the Scriptural text as possible. Henry F. Lyte would have none of this however, and boldly published a book of psalm paraphrases entitled, Spirit of the Psalms. Lyte decided he could maintain the spirit of these beautiful texts while still using his own words, probably with the intention of making the reader see the psalms in a new light. One such paraphrase is “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.” Lyte’s text speaks to the love of God and our dependence on him in a clear and imaginative way. Think of what might happen if we woke up every day with these words on our lips: “Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore his praises sing.” How would our life change if we walked through our days singing “Alleluia!” or through our times of sorrow declaring that we rest in the gentle hand of God? This is a text with beautiful imagery and thoughtful prose that, like Psalm 103, gives us words to praise our God with heart, mind, and soul.
— Bert Polman