George Atkins, 19th Century

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.
I Chronicles 16:31

The apostle Paul's favorite name for fellow believers was "brethren". He used this term at least sixty times throughout his various epistles. Paul's concept of the local church was a worshipping family--the family of God. Of course, we need to worship God daily in our individual devotional lives. But every believer also needs the enriching experience of worshipping and serving God with other family members on a weekly basis. Only a church of faithful, worshipping members is adequately prepared to do its work and fulfill its witness in the world.

Our worship of God, both personally and corporately, should share with the young prophet these five elements depicted in Isaiah six:

* Recognition - "I saw the LORD..." (v.1)
* Praise - "Holy, Holy, Holy..." (v.3)
* Confession - "Woe is me..." (v.5)
* Assurance of Pardon - "...forgiven" (v.7)
* Dedication - "Here am I..." (v.8)

This interesting hymn has been a favorite, especially in the southern United States, since it first appeared in 1825. Nothing is known of George Atkins, the author of this beloved text.

Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around!

Brethren, see poor sinners round you
Slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving,
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers
And our children sinking down?
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around!

Sisters, will you join and help us?
Mosesí sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners
Who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior,
Tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around!

Is there yet a trembling jailer,
Seeking grace, and filled with tears?
Is there here a weeping Mary,
Pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them;
Sisters, let your prayers abound;
Pray, Oh pray that holy manna
May be scattered all around!

Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners
Till our God makes all things new.
Then Heíll call us home to Heaven,
At His table weíll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us
With sweet manna all around!

*For Today*: Psalm 96:4 & 9, 107:32; Isaiah 6:1-9; John 4:24; Hebrews 10:25

Prayerfully make a list of the various activities that you think might improve your church worship service. Share these ideas with your pastor. Reflect on the purpose of group worship as you sing this hymn.

Music Courtesy of The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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