It is amazing to me how many times—especially in life’s most difficult situations—the words of great hymns come to mind to guide my thoughts and emotions.
…though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet…Jesus who died shall be satisfied, And earth and heaven be one.—This is My Father’s World
…The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him—His rage we can endure, For lo his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him.—A Mighty Fortress
…Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love: Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.—Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
…Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.—God Moves in a Mysterious Way
Great hymns are those that communicate the excellencies of the triune God and sound doctrine, encourage a right heart response, and do so in an appealing and enduring musical form. From childhood, these hymns were graven in my mind and, after Christ brought me to saving faith, these hymns became graven in my heart. Will this be true for our children, too? Here are a few helpful suggestions for how to incorporate hymns into your family devotional time or a Sunday school setting:
- Tell the children about the composer and circumstances surrounding the writing of the hymn. (Hymns for a Kid’s Heart is a wonderful resource for this.)
- Explain difficult words or concepts—a little bit each week.
- Try introducing one new hymn every month, or aim to learn four to six hymns over the course of a Sunday school year.
- Develop simple hand/body motions to help younger children focus.
(Suggestions adapted from a seminar titled “Leading Children in God-Centered Worship” by Pam Grano)