Psalm 89

89A: I Will Sing of the Mercies of the LORD

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 89:1
st. 2 = Ps. 89:5, 8, 1

Composed by James Fillmore around the turn of the century, this song became popular during the 1960s and, later, in the movement to sing the Scriptures in simple chorus settings. Stanza 1 is identical to the King James Version for Psalm 89:1. Marie J. Post added a second stanza based partially on 89:5, 8 in 1983. The biblical text versified in this song expresses the praise due to God from all creatures–both earthly and angelic–for his covenant faithfulness and mercy.

Liturgical Use:
Beginning of worship and other points of praise in worship; baptisms (especially easy for children to learn); after confession of sin and reassurance of forgiveness, when worshipers will want to praise God for his mercy.

Tune Information:

James Henry Fillmore (b. Cincinnati, OH, 1849; d. Cincinnati, 1936) began his musical career by teaching music classes in a singing school and by selling music books (mainly those published by his father). The success of these early sales enabled him to establish, with his brother Frank, the Fillmore Brothers Music House of Cincinnati (sold to Carl Fischer in 1951). The company became very successful, especially in the publishing of Sunday school music, gospel songs, temperance and prohibition songs, and general sheet music. Fillmore issued a monthly periodical, The Musical Messenger, in which he initially published his hymns before issuing them in hymnals such as Songs of Glory (1874), New Christian Hymn and Tune-Book (1882), and The Praise Hymnal (1912).

FILLMORE is one of the most popular Scripture songs of the later twentieth century. The diatonic tune and simple harmonization is effective-if not overused. Accompany with guitar and/or keyboard. Organ accompaniment should be rhythmically crisp over a legato pedal.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • View and listen to this song in a worship service from Calvin College's Worship Symposium.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: st. 1 James H. Fillmore (1849-1936); st. 2 Marie J. Post, 1983, © 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Music (FILLMORE): James H. Fillmore (1849-1936), P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • Music: The Music is in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint it.

89B: Psalm 89:1-4, 15-37 A Responsorial Setting

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: © 1969, 1981, 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation
  • Music: Marty Haugen (b. 1950) © 1988, 1994 GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information:

89C: A Prayer of Remembrance and Hope

Performance Notes:

  • For notes on this prayer, see page 1085 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • Buy a recording of this song from Princeton Theological Seminary's Touring Choir, on their CD "Sing Praise to the Lord!".

Copyright Information:

89D: Forever We Will Sing

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1085 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • Buy a recording of this song from Princeton Theological Seminary's Touring Choir, on their CD "Sing Praise to the Lord!".

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Michael Morgan and Martin Tel © 2011 Michael Morgan and Martin Tel, admin. Faith Alive Christian  Resources
  • Music (GENEVAN 89 |12.12.13.13.13.13): Genevan Psalter, 1562; harm. Alfred V. Fedak (b. 1953) © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information:

89E: My Song Forever Shall Record

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 89:1
st. 2 = Ps. 89:2
st. 3 = Ps. 89:14
st. 4 = Ps. 89:15
st. 5 = Ps. 89:17-18

Originally published in the 1912 Psalter; this text is a paraphrase of select verses from Psalm 89. That psalm unites a great hymn of praise for God's faithfulness, particularly to David and his dynasty, and a prayerful lament for the downfall of Israel.

This paraphrase is taken from the psalm's first section, its hymn of praise. Stanzas 1 and 2 extol God's mercy and faithfulness, which he displays to his people at all times and in all places. Stanza 3 and 4 witness to the biblical cosmology in which God's justice and love are to be the model for the lifestyle of his people. The final stanza is a doxology.

Liturgical Use:
As a general hymn of praise at any time in the worship service; especially for occasions of worship that emphasize God's mercy, justice, and faithfulness as examples of how we as Christians should live and act in this world.

Tune Information:

The original version of WINCHESTER NEW appeared in Musikalisches Handbuch der geistlichen Melodien, published in Hamburg, Germany, in 1690 by Georg Wittwe. It was set to the text “Wer nur den lieben Gott” (see 446). An expanded version of the tune was a setting for "Dir, dir Jehova" (see 203) in Johann Freylinghausen's Geistreiches Gesangbuch (1704). The melody was also used by John and Charles Wesley for their texts and was reworked by William J. Havergal as a long-meter tune in his Old Church Psalmody (1864). Havergal's version closely resembled its original 1690 form. Named for the ancient English city in Hampshire noted for its cathedral, the tune gained much popularity because of its extended use. It is called WINCHESTER NEW (also called CRASSELIUS) to distinguish it from WINCHESTER OLD (see 215 and 628).

Sing this dignified psalm tune in unison on the outer stanzas and in parts on the middle ones. Use solid organ tone and phrase in two long lines.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, WINCHESTER NEW

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Archer, Malcolm. After the Last Verse. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 502 6 [1995]
  • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ. bk. 1 Ludwig O-05 [1975]
  • Mawby, Colin.  Hymns for Occasions. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0-86209-568-9 [1994]
  • Noble, T. Tertius. Free Organ Accompaniments to One Hundred Well-Known Hymn Tunes. J. Fischer 8175 [1946]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. 200 Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 189 6 [1991]
  • Shaw, Geoffrey. The Descant Hymn-Tune Book bk 1. Novello 15207
  • Wilkinson, John T. One Hundred and Four Descants for “The Hymn Book”. enThusia [1980]
  • Wyton, Alec. New Shoots from Old Roots. SMP KK 279 [1983]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalter, 1912, alt., P.D.
  • Music (WINCHESTER NEW 8.8.8.8): Musikalisches Hand-buch, Hamburg, 1690, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.