In God We Trust – Day Six

In 1832, while translating some German songs into English, Samuel Francis Smith came across a Lutheran hymn named ”God Bless Our Native Land”, which was set to the English tune of ”God Save the King/Queen.” Smith, a seminary student at Andover Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, was so inspired by that song that he quickly sat down and wrote the words to “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” using the same tune but different lyrics. Smith’s motivation in writing this song was “to create a national hymn that would allow the American people to offer praise to God for our wonderful land.” The first three verses contain thanks and tributes for our country. The last verse is a prayer to God, thanking Him for America, and asking for His continued guidance.

“My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King!”

“The Star Spangled Banner,” written in 1814, did not become our official national hymn until 1932. Previous to that time, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” was extremely popular and considered by many as our unofficial national hymn. After graduating from seminary, Smith went on to pastor several Baptist churches, as well as composing some 150 hymns.

We are all extremely concerned about America’s current political and social climate, and the very important election coming up on November 3. As we journey thru these 40 days of prayer and fasting for the elect, may the story and words of this song encourage you to offer prayers of thanks for our country as well as praying for her to return to God.

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
“I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high” (Psalms 7:17).
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).