Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Full Text

1 Great is thy faithfulness, 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 wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]

3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow–
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text emphasizes the immutability of God (st. 1), a constancy to which nature attests (st. 2). But the greatest evidence of God's unfailing love is his forgiveness and "presence to cheer and to guide" us each day of our walk with him (st. 3). The refrain was inspired by the comforting words of Lamentations 3:22-23.


Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Inspired in part by the comforting words of Lamentations 3:22-23, Chisholm wrote this text to express his daily realization of God’s covenant faithfulness, and then asked Runyan to compose a tune for it.


Bert Polman


Great Is Thy Faithfulness


Almighty God, the one who created the world and everything in it,
the one who came to die for you, the one who lives within you,
loves you now and always, will never leave you or forsake you,
and holds you tight as you leave this place.
With a grateful heart, go in peace.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Holy God, we offer ourselves to you:
our hands in prayer, our lips in praise, and our hearts in full devotion.
Take us as we are, and then mold us to your design,
so that we may serve you with joy all the days of our lives.
We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

Almighty God, we thank you for creating the universe,
for making us in your image as the crown of your creation,
for sending us your Son, Jesus, to reveal yourself to us,
and for preparing a place for us to live with you forever.
Thank you, Christ, that you are before us and behind us.
We thank you for giving us a world vast in resources,
for enabling us to explore your world and its cultures,
for making us part of your redemption story,
and for prodding us to reflect to you all the glory of your creation.
Thank you, Christ, that you are beneath us and above us.
We thank you for your mighty power that works salvation:
you called us to a life set apart for you,
you saved us from the corrupting ways of sin,
and you brought us new life through your Son, Jesus, the Messiah.
Thank you, Christ, that you are on our right and on our left.
We thank you that you’ve called us to be servant-leaders in your world,
to be your agents of reconciliation, comfort, and healing,
and to live your gospel in our work, play, and worship
through the power and guidance of your Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Christ, that you are with us when we rest and when we rise.
Lord God, we thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit
that enable us to love each other, to act justly and love mercy,
and to live with joy, kindness, and gentle patience.
May each moment bring you glory.
Thank you, Christ, that you are in our hearts and in our minds.
Thank you for giving us a vision for a renewed heaven and earth,
where tears of pain and terrors of death are no more,
where all sorrow and suffering will cease,
and where the redeemed of the Lord and all creation will praise you forever.
Thank you, Christ, that you are in us and ever with us. Amen!
—based on a prayer attributed to St. Patrick (5th century)
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Tune Information

D Major
Meter refrain



Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Hymn Story/Background

"There is no circumstantial background for 'Great Is Thy Faithfulness,'" writes its author, Thomas O. Chisholm. He goes on to say that it was simply the result of his "morning by morning realization of God's personal faithfulness." Chisholm wrote the text in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1923, and sent it to his friend William M. Runyan, who composed the tune. Set to FAITHFULNESS, the text was published in Runyan's Songs of Salvation and Service (1923). "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is a vibrant testimony to the faithfulness of God, a testimony Chisholm reaffirmed in 1941:
I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that he has given me many wonderful displays of his providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.
The text emphasizes the immutability of God (st. 1), a constancy to which nature attests (st. 2). But the greatest evidence of God's unfailing love is his forgiveness and "presence to cheer and to guide" us each day of our walk with him (st. 3). The refrain was inspired by the comforting words of Lamentations 3:22-23.
Twenty years later, after composing FAITHFULNESS, Runyan wrote:
Mr. Chisholm and I were devoted co-workers, and I wrote harmonies to some 20 or 25 of his poems. This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carryover its message in a worthy way, and the subsequent history of its use indicates that God answers prayer.
"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" became an unofficial school hymn at Moody Bible Institute, and it was featured in the Billy Graham crusades in England in 1954. Thus it obtained popularity on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Although he had little formal education, Thomas O. Chisholm (b. Franklin, KY, 1866; d. Ocean Grove, NJ, 1960) served at various times as a teacher, editor, and pastor. He also wrote more than twelve hundred poems and hymn texts. Chisholm's accomplishments included being associate editor of his hometown newspaper, The Franklin Advocate, and editor of the Pentecostal Herald. He was ordained in the Methodist Church but served only briefly as a pastor in Scottsville, Kentucky, because of poor health. After that he sold life insurance in Winona Lake, Indiana, and Vineland, New Jersey. His devotional poetry and hymn texts were published primarily in religious periodicals.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Showing early musical promise, William Marion Runyan (b. Marion, NY, 1870; d. Pittsburg, KS, 1957) was a substitute church organist by the age of twelve. He became a Methodist minister in 1891 and served several churches in Kansas but turned to evangelism in 1903; he worked for the Central Methodist Conference for the next twenty years. Following that service, Runyan became pastor at the Federated Church at John Brown University, Sulphur Springs, Arkansas. Editor of Christian Workers Magazine, he also served the Moody Bible Institute and was an editor for Hope Publishing Company until his retirement in 1948. Runyan wrote a number of hymn texts, gospel songs, and hymn tunes.
— Bert Polman
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