Placeholder canvas


Musician, Worship leader, Song writer

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Praise to the Lord,
the Almighty, the King of creation.
O my soul, praise him,
for he is your health and salvation!
Voices arise!
Come let his praise fill the skies;
praise him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord,
who has governed creation all-purely,
raises you up
on the wings of the eagle securely.
Have you not seen?
All you have needed has been
met by his favour so surely.

Praise to the Lord,
who inhabits each breath that he lends us:
fearfully, wondrously made,
yet in love he befriends us.
In good or ill,
changeless, each promise fulfil;
wings of his mercy extends us.

Praise to the Lord,
who gives honour and blessing increasing;
lavishes rivers of love
from the heavens unceasing.
Ponder anew
all the Almighty can do,
freely his pardon releasing.

Praise to the Lord,
O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath,
come now with praises before him.
Angels on high,
mountain and ocean and sky
shout the Amen! We adore him.

We adore. We adore.

Joachim Neander, tr. Roo Stewart
Public Domain

Story behind the song

In the early 2000s, I was looking through an old German hymn book and came across “Lobe den Herren”. I’ve only got a very small knowledge of the German language but I recognised it straight away as the source text for the hymn “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty”, which usually appears in English hymn books as translated by Catherine Winkworth, but I had seen other translations too and was interested to know how much they diverged from the original German text.

These were the days before Google Translate, when you can see a word-for-word translation of a lengthy text in an instant. Instead, I went to my German–English dictionary, and spent time trying to understand the intentions of the original text for myself. It was clear that there were many things about Joachim Neander’s poetry that were missing from the translations in my hymn books.

Despite my best efforts to create a completely fresh, modern translation, there were some of Catherine Winkworth’s translation that I chose not to render in a different way:

All that has life and breath,
come now with praises before him.

Catherine Winkworth, 1863

It alludes to Psalm 150, ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’. I tried various ways of writing this, but the charm of the familiar hymn translation was something I felt was worth retaining. In verse 3, I refer more to some words in the New Testament:

[God] is the one who gives people life, breath, and everything else they need. He does not need any help from them.

Acts 17:25 (ERV)

I wanted to end the hymn reflecting that all of creation, even the things without ‘life and breath’, joins in the worship of God. Isaiah 55 includes a wonderful image of the mountains and the hills singing before God, and the trees clapping their hands. Similarly, the Psalms also talk of how the seas and hills can worship:

Let the sea roar and all that fills it,
    the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
    let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 98:7-9 (NRSVA)
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram