8 Hymns to Transport You Back to a Simpler Time

As someone who did not up in the church, hymns have been something of a foreign concept to me. But when my husband and I entered the pastoral ministry, our first church often sung hymns, and it is there I learned some of the most treasured songs in the Church’s history.

In today’s technological age, people desire to go back to a simpler time. Hymns bring people back to their childhoods or previous experiences with churches which makes them feel happy and remind them of the hope they have in Jesus. Ever wished you could go back to a simpler time? Here are eight hymns to help you do that:

It Is Well

Songwriter Horatio Spafford penned the lyrics to this song. Spafford endured some difficult circumstances, first of which was the death of his son at age two and then shortly after losing his possessions in the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Spafford penned these lyrics to comfort others and to remind them that even in the hardest of times, God is with us and therefore, our souls can be well. Think about this simple yet catchy chorus:

It is well

With my Soul

It is well, it is well

With My Soul


Old Rugged Cross

This hymn is one of the most cherished and most performed amongst country music artists. Included on a gospel album performed in 1952, many artists have performed this, including Patsy Cline, Andy Griffith and Johnny Cash. These lyrics remind us that we are storing treasures in heaven and not on earth and that the greatest treasure we will ever hold is our salvation, as made evident in this chorus:

So, I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies at last I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it someday for a crown


Amazing Grace

One of the most recognized and well-known songs in the English- speaking world, this hymn has broken geographical barriers, becoming a favorite among other countries as well. With the clear message that forgiveness and redemption are possible no matter what sin you have committed, even the non-church goer is familiar with these lyrics:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound!

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now I’m found;

Was blind, but now I see.


How Great Thou Art

Voted favorite hymn in the U.K’s album Songs of Praise, How Great Thou Art was also voted second favorite hymn (after Amazing Grace) in an article published in Christianity today in 2001. With a chorus the emphasis God’s sovereignty, the greatness of God shines through this familiar song:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art! How great Thou art!


Great is Thy Faithfulness

This hymn was one of the first I sang in my church. Thomas Chisholm wrote this hymn based on the phrase used in the Lamentations 3:23 with an emphasis on the unchanging grace of God. This song reminds us of the hope we as Christians have in Christ that every day is a new day to start over with Christ’s redemptive grace:

O God my Father

There is no shadow of turning with Thee

Thou changest not

Thy compassions they fail not

As Thou hast been

Thou forever will be


A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Martin Luther penned these meaty lyrics based on Luther’s thoughts on Psalm 46. Otherwise known as “The Battle Hymn of the Reformation,” it is one of the most widely known hymns sung among Lutherans. Sweden also used this song during the thirty Years’ War:

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;

Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;

His craft and pow'r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.


Be Thou My Vision

One of the first times I heard this hymn was listening to Christian pop singer Ginny Owens’ album Without Condition, on which she sings the first verse. Her acapella take on the words having been born blind takes on new meaning as she sings to God asking him to guide her all the days of her life. The original texts are still sung in Old Irish tradition and been translated into modern Irish many times. As you reflect on this song, ask God to be your eyes and ears and lead the way as he guides you throughout your life:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night

Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light


I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

This song is based on an Indian folk song originating in Assam, India. A man, a part of the Garo group wrote this hymn, and it the words are believed to be his last. Although slightly controversial due to its focus on self rather than on God, it is sometimes excluded from hymnals. Regardless of its emphasis, these simple lyrics transport us back to the point in our lives when we chose to repent from our old way of life and enter a new life of freedom with Christ. Try to resist humming the tune to these lyrics:

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back

No turning back


Although some churches don’t sing hymns as often on Sunday morning, may this article remind you that these songs not only live in our hearts but also remind us of a faithful God, without whom we would not experience the joy of giving him his due glory in worship.