LDS Daily happened to feature the history of this hymn on their site as well this week:
“Many Christian faiths, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enjoy singing the hymn “Prayer of Thanksgiving” as a way to celebrate the season of gratitude. It is more widely known as “We Gather Together.” But did you know the story behind this hymn? If not, it will definitely inspire you.
The hymn was originally written by Adrianus Valerius, a Dutch poet and composer. Written in 1597, the hymn celebrated the Battle of Turnhout and the Dutch victory over Spain. The Dutch people were just one of seventeen provinces fighting for independence from Spain during the Eighty Years’ War. Under Spanish rule, Dutch Protestants were not permitted to worship together.
Thus, the line, “We gather together…” held special significance for the Dutch people. The hymn represented their determination to come together and worship God according to their faith. It also speaks of the very real liberation from political tyranny.
The English text was written by Theodore Baker in 1894 and is still used today. The hymn first appeared in America in 1903 and has been popular ever since. It especially became relevant as America fought two World Wars, due to the themes of escaping oppression and tribulation found in the lyrics.”
Congregation Choir Arrangements
Congregation Choir Arrangements are beautiful, simple and versatile. They can – quite simply – adapt to whatever musical circumstance you find yourself in at home or at church.
Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful, alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate accompaniment could be used with the SATB as a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or for a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING with organ, alternate piano and vocal countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING with organ, alternate piano and instrumental countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.
Reading the history of a hymn like this makes me realize again just how blessed we are to live in a free country, where we can gather together as often as we like, openly worshipping our God in the manner that we choose. Sometimes it might feel like we’re always at the church, but how preferable that is to not being able to gather together at all! We can teach our children about the gospel in our homes and in our churches. We can share the gospel with others in public places, free from oppression. May we all appreciate this blessing more, use it more and protect it more, that it might be ours forever.
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