Monday, September 1, 2014

Hymns That Have Special Meaning to Me

Music is powerful.  It can touch hearts and spirits and enlighten minds.  D&C 25:12 says, "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads."

There are a few LDS Hymns and Primary songs that hold special meaning for me.

1. Be Still My Soul
When Hubby and I started dating, he was my first boyfriend. More than that, he had become my best friend. One afternoon, after dating for about 4 months, he unexpectedly broke up with me. He said he had been praying and felt that we needed to break up.

I went to my room and cried and prayed. I was crushed and confused. I could not imagine what it was going to be like without him being an important part of my life. After having a good cry, I picked myself up and drove to the church so I could practice the organ. I wanted to be completely alone so I could think (and cry and pray some more) and also I wanted to do something that could maybe take my mind off of the situation.

After practicing the various things that I wanted to master, I went over to the piano. I opened up the Hymn book and began playing random hymns. One that I found myself singing along to was, "Be Still, My Soul."

As I sang through the verses, I felt the Holy Ghost wash over me. I felt so strongly like I was being enveloped in the arms of my loving Heavenly Father. In that moment, I felt the reassurance that everything would be ok. This hymn was speaking directly to me. The words were written specifically for me.  Life is tough. And I know that my Father in Heaven is aware of my struggles. He loves me, and is with me.

2. High on the Mountain Top
When I was in labor with Primus, I didn't have an epidural or anything.  Especially near the end when I was in transition and exhausted from being on my feet literally all night, I needed something to think about to focus on instead of being overwhelmed by the pain.  So I started singing church songs in my head.  For most of the time the song I kept getting stuck on or coming back to was High on the Mountain Top.

3. Where Can I Turn For Peace?
When I was in Young Women (maybe 16 years old), our leaders wanted to put together a small group to sing this for Sacrament Meeting.  I think we ended up performing it on two separate occasions.  I was selected to be one of the sopranos.  The highest note was hard for us to hit but I was able to get it.  I don't think I'm the best singer, but my leaders praised me and told me how good I was several times. I really appreciated the confidence and self esteem boost!

4. Master the Tempest is Raging
I think this was one of my piano teacher's favorite songs.  When she started teaching me to play the hymns, this was definitely high on her list of ones that she wanted me to learn.  She passed on to me her passion for the way the music builds to a frenzy and then ends serenely.

This song details one of the coolest stories from the New Testament.   Christ literally has power to make the winds and waves obey him!  At times in my life I have felt like I might perish from the storms of trials beating upon me.  But when I am in the depths of that panic that the Savior's disciples were feeling, all I have to do is cry out to my God in faith.  He can deliver me, calm my storms, and give me peace.

5. I Love to See the Temple
This is my kids' favorite Primary song right now and has been for a while.  A recording of them singing it serves as my ringtone.  And no matter how many times we sing it, we still can't seem to be able to keep the two verses straight! :)

It's a nice tune with a great message.  I truly do love to see the temple!  When I hear this song, I am reminded of when Hubby and I were married (or "sealed") for time and all eternity in the temple (meaning for this life and the next).  I am so grateful for the Priesthood power in the temple that makes it possible for our marriage and relationship with our children to be permanent.  It's not "till death do us part." 

6. Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel
In our first ward after being married, the chorister was a wonderful man who liked to direct the congregation as if it were a choir instead of a group of mostly untalented average people who preferred to keep their eyes on their hymnal.  We quickly learned, though, that we had to keep our eyes on Bob.

I was called to be a regular substitute accompanist. Typically, congregational hymns are accompanied by an organ.  I had learned to play organ but was not very confident.  That was just fine in Bob's opinion!  He preferred the piano anyway because it was easier to get more expression out of it.  He wanted us to crescendo, decrescendo, rest, hold, speed up, and retard in various places so we could really feel the spirit and meaning of the song.

One song in particular that I cannot hear now without missing Bob is Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel.  At the chorus he would slow us way down and then slowly build the speed and volume as we went, to give us the feeling of pushing a handcart to get it going from a dead stop.

7. Scripture Power
I remember learning this song in Primary when I was a child.  One time, a couple years after we had learned it, we must have had a new pianist that didn't have a copy of the sheet music (since it's not in the regular songbook.)  Several of us kids asked if we could sing that song when we were told to choose our favorite to sing.  We were very disappointed when we were told that this one wasn't an option.

Many years later Hubby and I were called as Primary teachers in our first ward.  Scripture Power was one of the new songs that was taught that year.  When I heard it after forgetting about it's existence for so long, it was like meeting an old friend again.

Above all, it's such a fun song with a simple message, "Scripture Power keeps me safe from the power to win...everyday I need the power that I get each time I read."

What's your favorite religious hymn?


  1. Child's Prayer, and Count Your Blessings.

    1. I loved singing the two verses of Child's Prayer on top of each other in Primary.