Tune for Tuesday: O Great God

Tune for Tuesday: O Great God

‘O Great God’ has been a popular song in a number of churches I’ve been part of since it appeared on Sovereign Grace Music’s Valley of Vision album back in 2006. Each of the songs on that album are based on prayers from a fabulous book called The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. In particular, ‘O Great God’ comes from a prayer entitled “Regeneration”. The original prayer begins like this:

Occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist they holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine for ever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul
served with my every act of life.

Reflecting on the way this prayer gives voice to a longing to be transformed by God, songwriter Bob Kauflin has used a simple hymn-like structure to create three verses of rich and heartfelt theology. Verse one begins by asking God to help us love and glorify him more:

O great God of highest heaven
Occupy my lowly heart
Own it all and reign supreme
Conquer every rebel power
Let no vice or sin remain
That resists Your holy war
You have loved and purchased me
Make me Yours forevermore

Verse two then reminds us of the change that has already occurred in the life of the Christian. I love the way it poetically describes the way God regenerates us, giving us a ‘taste for heaven’s joys’ as the Spirit works through God’s word:

I was blinded by my sin
Had no ears to hear Your voice
Did not know Your love within
Had no taste for heaven’s joys
Then Your Spirit gave me life
Opened up Your Word to me
Through the gospel of Your Son
Gave me endless hope and peace

Finally, the final third verse expresses a desire to go on being changed by God. This can be done with a key change, if you can manage that! I’ve found that it’s one of just a few songs that articulates a longing and expectation of a changed life. The second half of the chorus is a joy to sing as we long to praise God with every ‘thought and deed’, through God’s grace:

Help me now to live a life
That’s dependent on Your grace
Keep my heart and guard my soul
From the evils that I face
You are worthy to be praised
With my every thought and deed
O great God of highest heaven
Glorify Your Name through me

As a result, we’ve often found it a really helpful song to go alongside either a time of confession, or as a song of response after a sermon. We’ve recently introduced it at Grace Church Barrow, particularly after stumbling across Matt Boswell’s recent recording of the track to celebrate 30 years of Sovereign Grace Music. You can find chords, full lyrics, and sheet music to download freely here.

If you’re interested in hearing more from Sovereign Grace Music, you can download a free 8 track sampler by signing up to their email subscription list on the homepage here.