“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!”
Before Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, or Fanny Crosby were ever born, Thomas Ken became known as “England’s first hymnist,” or England’s first hymn writer. His birthday is unknown (he was born in 1637), but his hymn “Praise God from Whom All Blessing Flow” – also called “the Doxology” – is one of the world’s best-known hymns. Churches throughout America and England sing the Doxology every Sunday.
Ken was born in London. After his parents died, he was raised by his married half-sister. From a young age, Thomas enjoyed both poetry and music. When he entered college, he joined music groups and was given solos in important choirs.
Thomas Ken felt strongly that his fellow students should spend time reading the Bible and praying every day. He felt so strongly about this that he wrote three songs about spending time with God. Until this point in history, there was no such thing as an English hymn. Christians had been taught to sing only the Psalms in church. When Ken introduced his three songs, people began singing hymns. The chorus of one of those songs is what eventually became known as the Doxology:
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Ken was eventually given the job – and honor – of being the chaplain for England’s King Charles II. He tried to point people to God with his life and spent time daily in devotions. He died on March 11, 1711.
In your mind, what does it mean to praise God? Do you praise God daily? Do you have a favorite hymn? Why do you think it is that your favorite hymn ministers to your heart?
Psalm 146:2 – While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.