"BEFORE THY THRONE WE BOW"
"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Ps. 95.6)
INTRO.: A song which encourages us to kneel before the Lord our Maker in both worship and prayer is "Before Thy Throne We Bow." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Newton W. Allphin, who was born on Nov. 25, 1875, near Waco, TX. By the time he was eight, both his mother and father had died, so he lived with relatives until his early teens when he began earning his own way in life by working odd jobs. Following his public schooling, he began attending normal schools in which he became intensely interested in music, and attended his first music school in 1887 with John Kelley as teacher. In 1895 he studied with J. E. Thomas of Ft. Worth, TX, and in 1901 with Franklin L. Eiland of Waco. During these years, Allphin began to produce songs. For many years he was part owner of or associated with various music companies, such as the A and NL Music Co., the Quartet Music Co., New Songs Co., and Churchmen’s Press, all in Texas. Also, he compiled twelve songbooks and assisted with others. In addition, he published a magazine, The Musical Light, for five years in Ft. Worth and authored a music reader.
After teaching singing schools from 1902 to 1932, Allphin went into other religious work, serving as a local minister and holding gospel meetings, but until the late 1950’s continued to direct singing in gospel meetings with 84 different gospel preachers. Through the years, Allphin penned both words and music for 120 songs and provided either words or music for some 1,500 more. His work was not confined to religious music but included piano solos in sheet music and marches for bands, such as "March Militant Matadors" for D. O. Wiley, who was director of the Texas Tech University band. Many of Allphin’s songs were found in older books published by brethren, but only a few can be located in later ones. Perhaps, his best known song is "You Will Reap What You So," written in 1938 with a tune by Virgil O. Stamps, which was used in Ellis Crum’s Sacred Selections and Robert Welch’s Abiding Hymns. A tune that he composed for John Morrison’s "To Us A Child of Hope Is Born" (or "The Prince of Peace") was included in Alton Howard’s Songs of the Church.
In addition, Leland Fleming’s Into Our Hands contains two songs for which Allphin did both words and music, "I’m Clinging to His Hand" and "Unto Thy Cross I’ll Cling" (with an additional stanza by F. L. Eiland). It also carries "O Wonderful Hope in Jesus," for which he provided the harmony for a tune by Tillit S. Teddlie; "His Grace Is Sufficient," for which he provided a text for a tune by H. W. Elliot; and "The Old, Old Story," in which he wrote words for a tune by Ernest Rippetoe. Gene C. Finley’s Our Garden of Song has "I Shall Be Satisfied," with words by Allphin and music by John A. Holley. I have not been able to find a date for "Before Thy Throne We Bow." At age seventy, Allphin became an income-tax accountant with an office in his home, but was forced to cease this at the age of 95 because of failing eyesight. However, he continued to correct music manuscripts as his eyes permitted until his death on Dec. 24, 1972, at the age of 97 in Tahoka, TX, where he had lived for more than forty years. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Before Thy Throne We Bow" appeared in the 1978 Hymns of Praise edited by Reuel Lemmons.
The song asks the Lord to accept our worship and hear our prayer.
I. Stanza 1 asks the Lord to be near us
"Blessed Savior, now, we pray, Be Thou near us all the day;
While before Thy throne we bow, Hear us, Lord, and bless us now."
A. God is our Savior with whom Jesus Christ is our Mediator: 1 Tim. 2.3-5
B. In order for Him to be near us, we must draw near to Him: Jas. 4.8
C. Bowing before His throne is symbolic of coming to God through Him in prayer to find grace to help in time of need: Heb. 4.16
II. Stanza 2 asks the Lord to guide us
"Gracious Father, hear our prayer–May we, now, Thy blessings share;
Guide us safely all the way To that home of endless day."
A. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father in heaven: Matt. 6.9
B. One thing that we seek from the Father is that He will guide us safely in life: Isa. 58.11
C. The place to which He wants to guide us is the home of endless day or everlasting life: Matt. 7.13-14
III. Stanza 3 asks the Lord to help us abide in Him
"May our faith and trust, dear Lord, Ever be in Thy blest word.
Keep us ever near Thy side; Let us in Thy love abide."
A. We need to give our faith and trust to the Lord: Prov. 3.5-6
B. To do this, we must look to His word as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path: Ps. 119.105
C. By doing this, we shall abide in His love: Jn. 15.9-10
CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of our need of the Savior and our dependence on Him.
"Savior, Savior, keep us near Thy blessed side;
Savior, Savior, let us in Thy love abide."
Those who are lost in sin must come before the Lord in obedience to His will that they might find salvation. Those who have become God’s children should come before Him in submissive humility to express their praise to Him and ask of Him those things that they need. Especially when Christians assemble for worship, we should recognize our own weakness and His greatness as we tell Him, "Before Thy Throne We Bow."