Before the Throne of God Above

Kellie Kaufman Before the Throne of God Above
"Before the Throne of God Above" is a Christian hymn written by Charitie Lees Smith (1841-1923) in the late 1800s. Read the lyrics and background story of this popular hymn about assurance in Jesus.

Before the throne of God above

I have a strong, a perfect plea;

A great High Priest, whose Name is Love,

Who ever lives and pleads for me.


My name is graven on His hands,

My name is written on His heart;

I know that while with God He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart.


When Satan tempts me to despair,

And tells me of the guilt within,

Upward I look, and see Him there

Who made an end of all my sin.


Because the sinless Savior died,

My sinful soul is counted free;

For God, the Just, is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me.


Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!

My perfect, spotless Righteousness,

The great unchangeable I AM,

The King of glory and of grace.


One with Himself, I cannot die;

My soul is purchased by His blood;

My life is hid with Christ on high,

With Christ, my Savior and my God.

Songwriters Charitie Lees Smith (lyrics), Vikki Cook (music) Published by "Before the Throne of God Above" Featuring Kristyn Getty. Original Words by Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841-1892) Alternate Words and Music by Vikki Cook. © 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP). Sovereign Grace Music, a division of Sovereign Grace Churches.

The Story Behind Before the Throne of God Above

Charitie Lees Smith wrote the poetic hymn in Ireland back in 1863. Daughter to a reverend in Dublin, she had a natural talent for writing religious poems since childhood. During that same year, the words were originally published in a hymnal under the name "The Advocate." Other collections also published her poem under different names and with different formats.

Once the hymn's popularity died down by the mid-1880s, Charitie had married and divorced Arthur Bancroft, a naval officer, and Edmund Parkinson, a surgeon. Her divorces came after their deaths. She then emigrated to California to join her brother, George, in the U.S. After getting into prison ministry, she opened a home for ex-convicts and married her final husband, Frank DeCheney. They actually divorced in 1915 after separating in 1901.

100 years after its popularity, “Before the Throne of God Above” resurfaced in hymnals in the early 1970s. The words were often sung to other tunes since nobody had written an original melody to go with Charitie’s words. Churches often sang the words along to another hymn called Sweet Hour of Prayer. 

In 1997, Vikki Cook, a composer for Sovereign Grace Music, finally decided to write an original melody to pair with the over 130-year-old hymn. Her pastor had returned from England with the words, and they sang it to Jerusalem by Hubert Parry during the following service. Nobody liked it much, other than Vikki. So she decided she would write a tune to be able to praise God with those words in song. She said, “[She] played it for our worship leader, and the song just kind of “snowballed” from that time since. I’m amazed at how God has used this song in the church at large, especially when I think that I just wrote this new melody so that I could worship God in my quiet times with Him.”

The song was published in hymnals within a few years. Multiple singers recorded covers of the hymn, and Kristyn Getty’s version recorded with Sovereign Grace Music made the song even more well-known. In 2003, Vikki wrote another stanza to add to the lyrics but isn’t widely known. Her additional words are not included in the lyrics above.

Listen to Kristyn Getty sing "Before the Throne of God Above" here:



Before the Throne of God Above
Violin Rendition Of 'Before The Throne Of God Above' From Taryn Harbridge

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