“I WILL PRAISE HIM”
“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise Him among the multitude” (Ps. 109:30)
INTRO.: A hymn which expresses praise to the Lord is “I Will Praise Him.” The text was written and the tune was composed both by Mrs. Margaret Jenkins Harris, who was born on July 31, 1865, at Rushville, IL. A member of the Iowa Holiness Association, she and her husband John Harris, also a song writer, were active in holiness revivals and camp meetings. “I Will Praise Him” was copyrighted in 1898 and owned by the Nazarene Publishing House. The Harrises served as music directors for the 1901 General Holiness Convention in Chicago, IL. In 1910 Margaret edited the Glorious Gospel in Song for the Christian Witness Publishing Co. of Chicago. Another of her hymns, “He Took My Sins Away” of 1903 (sometimes inaccurately given as her birth date) has been fairly popular, and she also prudced “I’ve Pitched My Tent in Beulah” of 1908. Her death occurred on Jan. 13, 1919, in Miami, FL.
“I Will Praise Him” has been used in many denominational and inter-denominational hymnbooks, such as the All American Church Hymnal and The American Service Hymnal both published by the John T. Benson Publishing Company of Nashville, TN; Favorite Hymns of Praise published by the Tabernacle Publishing Company of Wheaton, IL; the Praise and Worship Hymnal, the Worship in Song Hymnal, and the Sing to the Lord Hymnal all both published by the Lillenas Publishing Company of Kansas City, MO; Hymns of the Spirit (chorus only) published by Pathway Press of Cleveland, TN; Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns published by the Sword of the Lord Publishers of Murfreesboro, TN; Inspiring Hymns and Great Hymns of the Faith both published by Singspiration Music of Grand Rapids, MI; Living Hymns published by Encore Publications of Montrose, PA; The New Church Hymnal published by Lexicon Music; Hymns for the Family of God published by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing; Worship His Majesty published by the Gaither Music Co. of Alexandria, IN; Songs and Hymns of Revival published by North Valley Publications of Santa Clara, CA; Majesty Hymns published by Majesty Music of Greenville, SC; Worship the Lord Hymnal published by Warner Press of Anderson, IN; The Celebration Hymnal published by Word Music and Integrity Music; The Rejoice Hymnal published by Tempo Music Publications of Leawood, KS; The Christian Life Hymnal published by Hendrickson Publishers of Peabody, MA; and Healing Waters published by Oral Roberts Healing Campaigns, Tulsa, OK. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for us in churches of Christ, this hymn, so far as I can tell, has not appeared in any of the historic ones, but today it may be found in the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise as arranged by editor by Alton H. Howard; the chorus may be found as arranged by Darrell Bledsoe in the 2010 Praise Hymnal Newly Revised and Expanded, and as arranged by Alton Howard in the 2010 Songs for Worship and Praise both edited by Robert J. Taylor, Jr. It is not to be confused with a hymn of the same title by George Beverly Shea found in the 1977 Special Sacred Selections edited by Ellis J. Crum.
The song gives several reasons for praising the Lord.
I. Stanza 1 says that He cleanses our sins
“When I saw the cleansing fountain Open wide for all my sin,
I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing, When He said, ‘Wilt thou be clean?'”
A. It was prophesied that a fountain would be opened for cleansing sin: Zech. 13:1
B. In order to receive the salvation that is offered by this fountain, we must obey the Spirit’s wooing as revealed in the written word which He inspired: Heb. 5:8-9
C. When we do this, we can be cleansed or washed in the blood of Christ: Rev. 1:5-6
II. Stanza 2 says that He guides us in the strait and narrow way
“Though the way seems strait and narrow, All I claimed was swept away;
My ambitions, plans, and wishes, At my feet in ashes lay.”
A. The way of Christ is strait and narrow: Matt. 7:13-14
B. However, for those who choose to travel that way, their own claims are swept away as they count all things but loss for Christ: Phil. 3:4-9
C. And we can look to Him for continued guidance in taking up the cross and following Him: Matt. 16:24
III. Stanza 3 says that He sets our hearts aflame
“Then God’s fire upon the altar Of my heart was set aflame;
I shall never cease to praise Him. Glory, glory to His name!”
A. The altar represents the sacrifices that we must make in order to follow Christ: Phil. 2:17
B. Yet, just as the animals were burned with fire on the altar in the Old Testament, so when we make the spiritual sacrifices required by the New Testament, our hearts are set aflame as Christ comes to dwell in them: Eph. 3:17
C. Therefore, the faithful Christian will never cease to praise the Lord: Isa. 12:1
IV. Stanza 4 says that He takes us in
“Blessed be the name of Jesus! I’m so glad He took me in.
He’s forgiven my transgressions; He has cleansed my heart from sin.”
A. It is the name of Jesus by which we can be saved: Acts 4:12
B. When we come to Him on His terms, He has promised to take us in: Jn. 6:37
C. To those who thus come to Him, He offers forgiveness for their transgressions: Eph. 1:7
V. Stanza 5 says that He is worthy of our glory
“Glory, glory to the Father! Glory, glory to the Son!
Glory, glory to the Spirit! Glory to the Three in One.”
A. The Lord Jehovah is worthy of glory: Ps. 29:2
B. The Son, who is also the Lamb, is worthy of glory: Rev. 5:12
C. The Holy Spirit, who revealed the word of the testimony by which we can overcome through the blood of the Lamb, is worthy of glory: Rev. 12:11
CONCL.: The chorus concludes with the giving of praise and glory to the Lord for His salvation.
“I will praise Him! I will praise Him! Praise the Lamb for sinners slain;
Give Him glory, all ye people, For His blood can wash away each stain.”
So far as I can tell, the entire song has appeared in only one book used among churches of Christ, and that a fairly recent one. However, I can recall when I first saw it in various denominational books years ago being impressed with its joyful exuberance in extending glory to God. Certainly in thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for me, it should be my intent that “I Will Praise Him.”