Count Your Blessings -Johnson Oatman, Jr.

 This gospel hymn has been a favorite in Sunday schools and evangelistic services for many years. The words were written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., born in New Jersey in 1856. Growing up, Johnson became familiar with many hymns. He always sat by his father in church to hear him sing with his rich and powerful voice. He hoped to become a singer like his father someday. 

As a young adult, Oatman became a partner in the family business and was later ordained in the Methodist Church. He never served one church in full-time ministry, but he traveled to various churches and served as a fill-in pastor. After his father’s death, he left the family business and became an administrator for an insurance company. At this point in his life, Oatman wanted to do more in ministry and prayerfully sought God’s will for his life.

In 1892, at the age of 36, Oatman discovered he had a talent for writing hymns. He wrote almost daily, writing an average of 200 songs a year. Although Oatman never became a famous preacher or singer, he wrote the words for more than 5,000 hymns, including other well-known gospel songs such as “Higher Ground,” “The Last Mile of The Way,” and “No, Not One,” which was his favorite. He only accepted up to one dollar per hymn.

The music for “Count Your Blessings” was composed by Edwin O.   Excell, a famous evangelistic singer and publisher. It first appeared in Songs for Young People, which was compiled and published by Excell in 1897. The song is loved worldwide. One writer wrote, “Like a beam of sunlight, it has brightened up the dark places of the earth.” It has been said that no American gospel song was ever received with such enthusiasm in England. When Evangelist Gypsy Smith asked the people to sing “Count Your Blessings,” he commented, “Down in South London, the men sing it, the boys whistle it, and the women rock their babies to sleep to the tune.” During the revival in Wales, it was one of the hymns sung at every service. Through his hymns, Johnson Oatman, Jr. was able to preach the gospel around the world.

“Count Your Blessings” is often chosen to sing at Thanksgiving time, thanking the Lord for all that He has done. However, it can also be sung any day of the year to remind the believer of God’s many blessings, even during trials.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


  When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you, what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, Name them one by one,
Count your blessings, See what God hath done,
Count your blessings, Name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold,
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.


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1 comment

Counting mine. VERY blessed! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


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