A Prayer of Praise to Our Creator and Redeemer

Updated: Jun 20


Photo by Yulia Gadalina on Unsplash

A new translation by Barry Wilkins from the original Swedish, penned in 1885 by Carl Gustav Boberg


This song was written originally as a prayer, in poetic nineteenth-century Swedish, by a Baptist pastor. He had been caught in a thunderstorm and watched as the sky cleared and saw a rainbow (‘arc of promise’ in v.3, alluding to Genesis 9) over the Baltic Sea. He wrote it as a nine-verse poem, not intending it to be sung necessarily, but by chance he heard it being sung to a Swedish folk-tune. The poem has been paraphrased, in part, in English, on two occasions in the twentieth century with novel material. One of these is still sung, possibly to that original tune. Here is a complete near-literal translation of the original, which no longer has rhyme or metre, but retains the intended meaning.


1. O great God, When I see all that you created with your mighty word, How in wisdom you sustain the complex web of life, and gather everything at your table, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God! 2. When I see the heavens in their vastness, golden sunbeams in azure skies, And the sun and moon keeping watch upon the changing seasons, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God! 3. When I hear the voice of thunder in the storm, and streaks of lightning; When the cool rain falls and fresh breeze surrounds me, and I see the gleaming of your ‘arc of promise’ in the sky, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God! 4. When west winds swoop over the fields, when fragrant flowers dance about the sea shore, When thrushes trill in the green canopy, at the edge of quiet woods, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God! 5. When I behold all that your Word declares, that you made men free ever since Adam’s time; how gracious you have always been, rescuing from sin and strife, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God!

6. When I hear fools, so proud in their minds, denying and reviling you, mocking your words and Name, may they look even now, and perceive your mercy, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God!

7. And when I see your Son, your image, come to earth, And goodness and mercy everywhere abound; Although I see Satan triumph and death tremble at my door, Yet you Lord have spoken in the shape of a cross, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God!

8. When pressed by all my burdens I fall down at the throne of mercy, and pray for grace and peace, you lead my soul upon the right road, saving me from sin and guilt, Then sings my soul in sounds of praise: O great God! O great God! 9. When the final moment comes, when worldly ills are vanquished, And in my faith, eternity watches over me and saves until my Sabbath rest. Then sings my soul in sounds of praise Thank you God! Thank you God!

©2019 by Croydon Hills & Wonga Park Anglican Church.

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