Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above - Johann J. Schütz

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above - Johann J. Schütz 


The Reformation that had taken place throughout much of Europe had lost much of its zeal towards the end of the seventeenth century. The established church had become a place of shallow dead orthodoxy and rigid formality. Phillip J. Spencer, a Lutheran pastor in Frankfurt, Germany, wanted to give new life to the church by preaching the whole Bible, calling for repentance, and emphasizing a personal relationship with Christ. Under his preaching, people came to Christ and many lives were changed. Interest in such preaching spread throughout Germany, and it became known as the Pietistic Movement. 


Johann J. Schütz, the author of “Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above,” was a prominent lawyer in Frankfurt who helped Spencer establish prayer meetings and Bible-study groups in homes. In 1675 Schütz wrote this hymn because of the revival in the churches.  His desire was to have the song proclaim the greatness of the Lord while emphasizing the nearness of a personal God. In the middle of the hymn, the 5th stanza says that “the Lord is never far away” but is always available to help, bless and guide. The song offers praise to God for creation, salvation, healing, mercy, and His power. The 7th stanza explains that Christians should joyfully sing aloud His praises so that people will hear what God has done. 

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. 

(Psalm 40:3) Each stanza ends with a brief refrain: “To God all praise and glory!” 


German Oxford scholar, Frances E. Cox, translated the text into English in 1864, almost 200 years after Schutz first wrote the words. The tune “Mit Freuden Zart,” (meaning “with tender joy”) came from the Bohemian Brethren Hymn Book dating back to 1566. The hymn has appeared in many hymnals but unfortunately, is not frequently sung. The stately, uplifting tune is beautifully matched to the words, bringing a sense of joy to those who sing it today, as it did over 300 years ago. Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. (Deuteronomy 32:3) 


Sing praise to God Who reigns above,  
The God of all creation,  
The God of pow’r, the God of love,  
The God of our salvation; 
With healing balm my soul he fills, 
And ev’ry faithless murmur stills;  
To God all praise and glory!  
The angel host, O King of kings, 
Thy praise for ever telling, 
In earth and sky all living things 
Beneath thy shadow dwelling, 
Adore the wisdom which could span, 
And pow’r which formed creation's plan; 
To God all praise and glory! 
What God’s Almighty pow’r hath made  
His gracious mercy keepeth;  
By morning glow or evening shade,  
His watchful eye ne’er sleepeth:  
Within the kingdom of his might,  
Lo! all is just, and all is right:  
To God all praise and glory! 
I cried to God in my distress- 
In mercy hear my calling- 
My Saviour saw my helplessness, 
And kept my feet from falling; 
For this, Lord, thanks and praise to thee! 
Praise God, I say, praise God with me! 
To God all praise and glory! 
The Lord is never far away, 
Throughout all grief distressing 
An ever-present help and stay,  
Our peace, and joy, and blessing.  
As with a mother’s tender hand, 
He leads his own, his chosen band;  
To God all praise and glory! 
When ev’ry earthly hope has flown 
From sorrow’s sons and daughters, 
Our Father from his heav’nly throne 
Beholds the troubled waters; 
And at his word the storm is stayed 
Which made his children’s hearts afraid; 
To God all praise and glory! 
Then all my gladsome way along, 
I sing aloud thy praises, 
That men may hear the grateful song 
My voice unwearied raises: 
Be joyful in the Lord, my heart! 
Both soul and body bear your part! 
To God all praise and glory! 
O ye who name Christ’s holy name,  
Give God all praise and glory! 
 All ye who own his pow’r, proclaim  
Aloud the wondrous story!  
Cast each false idol from his throne,  
The Lord is God, and he alone; 
To God all praise and glory!  


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1 comment

Wow. I never heard of this hymn before. It is powerful! Thank you for sharing it. It’s a keeper!


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