Favorite Comforting Hymns

Singing hymns at bedside can provide spiritual respite or a meaningful excursion on Memory Lane. Sample the selections below, suited for challenging situations where a hymn may offer comfort and support.


Backyard well in autumn, Tennessee.

1.   ABIDE WITH ME  “O Thou who changest not, abide with me”  (sung by Antrim Mennonite Choir)

2.  AMAZING GRACE “’Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home” (sung by The A CAPPELLA Academy’s Academy Choir)

3.  ANGEL BAND  “Oh bear me away on your snow white wings to my immortal home”  (sung by Emmylou Harris)

4.  ANGELS WATCHIN’ OVER ME  “All night, all day, angels watching over me”  (sung by Shaina Noll)

5.  BE STILL MY SOUL (to the tune of “Finlandia”) “Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side”  (sung by Libra, an acapella boy’s choir) 

6.  DEEP RIVER  “I want to cross over into campground”  (sung by Mahalia Jackson)

7.  DOWN BY THE RIVER TO PRAY  “Oh, sister, let’s go down, down by the river to pray”  (sung by Alison Krauss)

8.  DO, LORD, REMEMBER ME  “When I’m in trouble, Lord, remember me; when I’m dyin’, Lord, remember me” (sung by Mississippi John Hurt)

9.  FARTHER ALONG (BY AND BY)  “Farther along we’ll understand why … we’ll understand it all by and by”  (sung by Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstat, and Emmylou Harris)

10. GLORY, GLORY, HALLELUJAH   “I feel better, so much better, since I laid my burden down”  (sung by Shiloh Worship Group)

11. HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS   “He’s got the wind and the rain in His hands … the little bitty baby … you and me … in His hands”  (sung by Nina Simone)

12. HOW GREAT THOU ART   “O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made” (sung by Carrie Underwood)

13.  I GOT SHOES   “When I get to heaven gonna put on my shoes I’m gonna walk all over God’s heaven”  (sung by the Hymn Choir of Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church, Rock Hill, SC)

14.  I’LL FLY AWAY   “Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away”  (sung by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, from the soundtrack ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou’)

15.  IN THE GARDEN   “He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own”  (sung by The Statler Brothers)

16.  IT IS WELL  “When sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul’ ”  (sung by Chris Rice)

17.  JUST A CLOSER WALK WITH THEE  “Daily walking close with Thee; let it be, dear Lord, let it be”  (sung by Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson)

18.  LEAD ME LORD  “It is Thou Lord, Thou Lord only, that makes me dwell in safety”  (sung by the Parish Choir of the Church of the Redeemer)

19.  LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS  “Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarm … leaning on the everlasting arms”  (sung by Mahalia Jackson)

20.  LORD, I’M COMING HOME  “Open wide thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home”  (sung by Marty Stuart)

21.  MORNING HAS BROKEN  “Morning has broken like the first morning, blackbird has spoken like the first bird”  (sung by Cat Stevens)

22. OPEN MY EYES  “Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth Thou hast for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free”  (sung by Katie Bennett)

23. OUR GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST  “A thousand ages in Your sight are like an evening gone”  (sung by the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute Singers

24. PRECIOUS MEMORIES  “Precious memories, how they linger; how they ever flood my soul” (sung Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys Quartet)

25. PRECIOUS LORD, TAKE MY HAND “I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light”  (sung by Elvis Presley)

26.  SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER   “Shall we gather at the river, where bright angel feet have trod?”  (sung by Anonymous 4)

27.  SOFTLY AND TENDERLY   “Come home, come home, you who are weary: come home”  (sung by Altar of Praise Chorale)

28.  SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT  “A band of angels coming after me, comin’ for to carry me home”  (sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1909—earliest known recording of Swing Low)

29.  THE LORD’S PRAYER  “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”  (sung by Charlotte Church)

30.  THERE IS A BALM IN GILEAD  “There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole”  (sung by Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman)


NOTES

1.  For more about singing at the beside as life’s end nears, see the website of Threshold Choir.

2.  Hymn lyrics are easily found online. See www.hymnlyrics.org and http://cyberhymnal.org, and the community singing book Rise Up Singing!: The Group Singing Songbook, ed. Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, intro by Pete Seeger (A Sing Out Publication, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1988 and 1992).

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