From the Music Ministry . . .

Hymns that Mark the Day

For my daily devotion I use the Morning Prayer Service outlined in the Book of Common Worship. The Book of Common Worship is a product of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and it has its roots in the Church of Scotland. Growing up in the Baptist free-church tradition, I was not familiar with the Book of Common Worship. However, since I began using it a few years ago, I have found it meaningful for my personal devotions because it contains ancient and modern elements of Christian worship outside my Baptist-based worship repertoire. For me It is similar to eating at a restaurant based on a different culture than your own. You love your Mama’s cooking, it is familiar and comforting, but you find you also enjoy chicken cooked Indian tandoori style as well as the way your Mama always cooked chicken.

The Morning Prayer Service is actually one of four daily times of prayer outlined in the Book of Common Prayer. The first service of prayer outlined is the Evening Prayer Service. This reflects the ancient way of marking time; the new day begins at sundown. Thus, the first service of prayer is the Evening Prayer Service, followed by the Night Prayer Service, the Morning Prayer Service, and the Midday Prayer Service. I haven’t made time to include all four services of prayer in my typical day. I feel sanctimonious when I get in a Morning Prayer Service and a night time prayer and/or hymn!

With this emphasis on the time of day in the services of prayer, hymns related to time are recommended for use. For example, for the Morning Prayer Service, hymns recommended include Morning Has Broken, When Morning Gilds the Sky, and Give Me Jesus. Hymns recommended for the Night Prayer Service include Abide with Me, Now Thank We All Our God, and All Praise to Thee, My God this Night.

That brings me to the real purpose of this article, to share with you two hymns, new to me, that I have found especially meaningful. One hymn, Golden Breaks the Dawn, is a morning hymn, and the other hymn, All Praise to Thee, My God this Night, is a nighttime hymn. I encourage you to look at these hymns and see if you find they enrich your spiritual journey.

Golden Breaks the Dawn

Words, Zhao Zichen / Music, Te-ngai Hu

© 1977 Chinese Christian Literature Council Ltd

Golden breaks the dawn, comes the eastern sun;

like a rider strong, set the course to run.

Birds above me fly, flowers bloom below;

through the earth and sky God’s great mercies flow.

Holy, living God, keep me safe today;

though I weary plod, make me kind, I pray.

Let me guide our youth, honor weak and old;

let me serve with truth, and God’s love unfold.

Give me daily bread, while I do my part;

bright skies overhead, gladness in my heart.

Simple wants provide, evil let me shun;

Jesus at my side, till the day is done.

To hear this hymn performed, I recommend the presentation by the St. Olaf Cantorei of St. Olaf College at

All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night

Words, Thomas Ken / Music, Thomas Tallis

All praise to You, my God, this night, For all the blessings of the light.

Keep me, O keep me, King of kings, Beneath the shelter of Your wings.

Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray, The wrong that I have done this day.

May peace with God and neighbor be, Before I sleep restored to me.

Lord, may I be at rest in You And sweetly sleep the whole night thro’.

Refresh my strength, for Your own sake, So I may serve You when I wake.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

To hear this hymn performed, I recommend the performance by the Cambridge Singers of Kings College at

Do you have a hymn or hymns you find especially meaningful when you begin your day or end your day? If you do, let me know what they are.