Hymn Favorites – The Doxology

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Write 31 days: Prompt: praise

This morning I rose to see that today’s praise is PRAISE. The word alone brought joy to my heart. My first thoughts went to the Doxology. A song we sang every week at the United Methodist Church I grew up in.

Today in the YouVersion Bible app the Verse of the day was about praise as well. It was King David’s prayer as the people brought their offerings as they collected for building the temple. It’s a beautiful prayer found in 1 Chronicles 29. Go read the entire prayer. I’ll give you a piece of it here.

David’s Prayer

“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever!11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.

Hymn: The Doxology

The word doxology comes from two Greek words, doxa, which means glory, and logos, which means word.  So a doxology is literally “a word of glory.”  We sing doxologies to give glory or praise to God.

Author: Thomas Ken

This doxology was written by Thomas Ken, an Anglican clergyman.  Ken was born in 1637 and was orphaned at an early age.  He then went to live with his half-sister, Anne, and her husband Izaak Walton.  You might recognize Izaak Walton’s name because he was the author of The Compleat Angler, a book on fishing that quickly established itself as a standard work and ultimately became a classic.  It was first published in 1653, and you can still buy a copy of it on Amazon.com today.

When Ken was fourteen years old, he entered Winchester College, and four years later began studies at Oxford.  He later returned to Winchester College as the chaplain to the bishop.  While there, he wrote his Manual of Prayers for the use of the Scholars of Winchester College, which he first published in 1674.  It was a book of prayers for all occasions, and included (among many others) a Morning Prayer, an Evening Prayer, a prayer to use after committing a sin, a prayer for use when tempted, a prayer entitled “Acts of Shame” and another entitled “Acts of Abhorrence.”

His Hymn Writing

Ken also wrote hymns for the students to use to mark the passages of their days, including Morning Hymn, Evening Hymn, and Midnight Hymn.  Both the Morning Hymn and Evening Hymn end with the doxology that begins, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  That was the origin of this doxology.

  {He directed the students to include the doxology in their morning prayers every day. That sounds like good advice to me.}

Ken established an excellent reputation at Winchester and was eventually appointed the chaplain to King Charles II.  When the king decided to visit Winchester, he sent word to Ken that Nell Gwynne, the king’s mistress, was to be lodged at Ken’s house.  Ken not only mounted loud objections but also hired workmen to remove the roof to his house so that the king could not enforce Nell’s lodgment there.    In that time and place, an act of rebellion against the king could cost a person his head, but King Charles was impressed with Ken’s courage.  Not only did he allow Ken to live, but he even appointed him sometime later to be the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Some years later, Ken was one of seven bishops who refused to sign King James’ Declaration of Indulgence.  For this act of rebellion, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London—but he was later tried and acquitted.  He died of natural causes in 1711.

Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan

Hymn Lyrics

There are three or four different doxologies used around the world. The doxology under consideration here is only four lines:

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.

But these four lines just might be sung more frequently than any other Christian music.

Here is a contemporary rendition of The Doxology you may enjoy by the groups Anthem & Selah


What praise song do you start the day with? Share in teh comments.

About Mandy Farmer

Pastor's Wife (retired) &  Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.

View all posts by Mandy Farmer

4 Comments on “Hymn Favorites – The Doxology”

  1. Back in the 70s my public school bandcamp was held at a YMCA camp, and we began every meal by singing the Doxology, 3x a day. A little different than what we would be acceptable in today’s public school setting. Bandcamp was very hard for this clumsy marcher! But that brief moment before every meal, watching those hard hearts that would never be caught anywhere else singing to God lifting their voices, gave me just the boost from God to keep going!! Love this!

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