The History of “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand”
“God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand” communicates a feeling of patriotism and honors the greatness of God. The hymn’s origins can be traced back to 1876, when the United States was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Daniel C. Roberts wrote the text for the hymn to be used during a small patriotic celebration in Vermont. The lyrics ask God to continue to guide and protect us as He has done in the past.
When the lyrics were written, a different hymn tune was used, but the hymn gained popularity when George W. Warren wrote his own music for it in 1892. The new music was unmistakable in its ability to invoke feelings of patriotism.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Music Director, Mack Wilberg, arranged the presentation seen in the video above; this arrangement is also available on the Choir’s album Spirit of America. As with many of Wilberg’s arrangements, this interpretation breathes new life into the widely known hymn. Below are the lyrics to the hymn with an additional fourth verse not found in the hymnbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
God of our fathers, whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before thy throne arise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past;
In this free land by thee our lot is cast.
Be thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide, and Stay,
Thy word our law, thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be thy strong arm our ever-sure defense.
Thy true religion in our hearts increase.
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace
Refresh thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.