Our God Our Help in Ages Past Lyrics Graphic Template

Lyrics of Our God Our Help in Ages Past, by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

(stanzas 1-3)

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come, our
Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.


Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
Return, ye sons of men:
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.


Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Notes on the Hymn

At the turn of the 18th century, hymn singing by English-speaking Christians was in a dismal state. For example, Congregational singing was limited to translations of the Old Testament Book of Psalms. Though the Psalms are indeed the “hymnbook” of the Bible, English translations of the day were often lacking.

In the preface of his 1719 work on the subject of Psalm singing in worship, Isaac Watts writes as follows.

Isaac Watts on Psalm Singing

“An Enquiry into the Right Way of Fitting the Book of Psalms for Christian Worship. (Though) The Psalms of David are a work of admirable and divine composure. (though) They contain the noblest sentiments of piety and breathe a most exalted spirit of devotion. Yet, when the best of Christians attempts to sing many of them in our common translations, that spirit of devotion vanishes and is lost. The Psalm dies upon their lips, and they feel scarce anything of the holy pleasure.

If this attempt of mine…introduce(s) warm devotion in this part of divine worship, I shall esteem it an honorable service done to the Church of Christ.”

And, what an honorable service it has proven to be. Almost 400 years later, Christians everywhere continue to sing hundreds of Isaac Watts’ hymns and Psalm translations. 

About the Author Larry Frazier

Larry spent 24 years teaching music at the University of West Georgia to over 6,000 students. Ten years ago, Larry and his wife Mary Lynn, received comfort, support and inspiration from traditional Christian hymns while she overcame stage-three colon cancer. Larry is on a mission to help you discover God’s incredible power through the intersection of faith and Christian music in your life.