735

I Love You, LORD, For You Have Heard My Voice

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This Psalm of personal thanksgiving and praise is part of the eight “Hallelujah” psalms (111-118). Likely written after healing from a deathly illness, it is rich in Passover imagery such as the “cup of salvation.”
 
Bert Polman

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The Canons of Dort V, 13 explain that our assurance of eternal security and perseverance cannot “produce immorality or lack of concern for godliness in those put back on their feet after a fall, but it produces a much greater concern to observe carefully the way which the Lord prepared in advance” and it is “an incentive to a serious and continuous practice of thanksgiving and good works...” (Canons of Dort V, 12) Therefore, this sub-section contains songs which express both the desire and the commitment of the believer to walk in obedience for holy living. Woven throughout these songs are expressions of fervent desire for holy living, a dedication to follow God’s will, a surrender of one’s will, and prayers for the Holy Spirit to continue his sanctifying work.

Confession

The psalmist declares:
I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
We gather as a community in need of a Savior.
We offer our honest confession,
in faith and trust in our covenant God,
knowing that God hears our voice.
—based on Psalm 116:1-2, NRSV
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Compassionate God,
you protect us from unseen danger
and catch us when we stumble and fall.
You answer when we call to you in prayer.
Help our worship of you to be sacrificial and our vows to you to be sincere,
serving and rejoicing because of you as long as we live. Amen.

A Prayer of Thanks for the Grace of God
O God, savior of the simple-hearted, you have heard us cry to you.  You have preserved our lives so that we have breath enough to praise you.  You have preserved our wits so that we have mind enough to thank you.  You have preserved our hearts so that we have ardor enough to love you—all because of your grace, O God.  All because of your grace in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Tune Information

Name
GENEVAN 116
Key
F Major or modal
Meter
10.11.11.10

Hymn Story/Background

This Psalm of personal thanksgiving and praise is part of the eight “Hallelujah” psalms (111-118). Likely written after healing from a deathly illness, it is rich in Passover imagery such as the “cup of salvation.” Otte prepared the strikingly unrhymed versification for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal, while Swets made the harmonization of this much-loved Genevan tune for the 1959 Psalter Hymnal.
 
GENEVAN 116 was first published in the 1562 edition of the Genevan Psalter, in which it was also the setting for Psalm 74. Seymour Swets harmonized the tune in 1954. This Mixolydian tune is one of the simplest, finest, and most loved of the Genevan repertoire. It is suitable for unison or part singing; sing in a majestic manner.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Helen Ann (Brink) Otte Walter (b. Grand Rapids, MI, 1931) versified this psalm in 1982 for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. She received her education at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has worked as a teacher, proofreader, and librarian. She was a member of the Poets' Workshop that worked with the revision committee to prepare psalm versifications for the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. After her first husband died and she remarried, she remained active as a freelance writer, especially of children's stories and dramas, some of which have been published in Reformed Worship under the name Helen Walter.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

The Genevan Psalter is the major gift of the Reformed branch of the Reformation to the song of the church. John Calvin (1509-1564) first experienced congregational singing of the psalms in Strasbourg when serving as a pastor of French exiles there, and when returning to Geneva in 1541 he finally persuaded the city council to permit congregational singing, which they had banned entirely under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli. Just two months after returning to Geneva, Calvin wrote in his Ecclesiastical Ordinances: "It will be good to introduce ecclesiastical songs, the better to incite the people to pray to and praise God. For a beginning the little children are to be taught; then with time all the church will be able to follow." Calvin set about overseeing the development of several metrical psalms with melodies, rather than the hymns, or chorales, of the Lutheran tradition, and also in contrast to the published psalters with texts only that followed in England and Scotland. The emerging Genevan Psalter was published in instalments until completed in 1562, including the 150 psalms, the Ten Commandments and the Song of Simeon. He employed the best French poets and composers to prepare metrical settings rather than continuing to chant the psalms, since poetry in meter was the popular form of the day—and also the choice for the Lutheran chorale.
 
The publication event was the largest in publishing history until then; twenty-four printers in Geneva alone, plus presses in Paris, Lyons, and elsewhere produced more than 27,000 copies in the first two years; more than 100,000 copies were available in over thirty editions. The Genevan Psalter was extremely popular, and almost immediately translated into Dutch, Hungarian, and German. Due to the intense persecution of the French Huguenots in the 16th century, the center of activity of the Reformed branch of the Reformation moved away from France and especially to the Netherlands, and from there to Indonesia, South Africa, and North America. The most recent translation (2004) of the entire psalter is into Japanese. The most recent English translation of the entire Genevan Psalter is available with melodies from the Canadian Reformed Book of Praise, available at http://www.canrc.org/?page=23 .
Calvin’s goal was to provide a distinct tune for every psalm, so that each psalm would have its own identity. Every tune would then bring to mind a particular psalm. The psalter didn’t quite reach this goal: it contains 125 different tunes. Today, only a few of those Genevan tunes are in wide use, among them the psalm tune most widely known around the world, often identified as OLD HUNDRETH, or simply, “The Doxology.” 
— Emily Brink

A 1922 graduate of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a major in history, Seymour Swets (b. South Holland, IL, 1900; d. Grand Rapids, MI, 1982) received his M.A. from the University of Michigan in 1923. Later that year he was appointed to the Calvin College faculty to teach speech and to establish a music program. He taught at Calvin College until 1967 and was largely responsible for the remarkable growth of its music department. A chronicle of that era appears in his book, Fifty Years of Music at Calvin College (1973). Swets served on the committees that prepared the 1934 and the 1959 editions of the Psalter Hymnal and contributed harmonizations to both books.
— Bert Polman
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.