Out Of the Depths I Cry to You on High

Full Text

1 Out of the depths I cry to you on high;
Lord, hear my call.
Bend down your ear and listen to my sigh,
forgiving all.
If you should mark our sins, who then could stand?
But grace and mercy dwell at your right hand.

2 I wait for God, I trust his holy word;
he hears my sighs.
My soul still waits and looks unto the Lord;
my prayers arise.
I look for him to drive away my night–
yes, more than those who watch for morning light.

3 Hope in the Lord: unfailing is his love;
in him confide.
Mercy and full redemption from above
he does provide.
From sin and evil, mighty though they seem,
his arm almighty will his saints redeem.

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Psalm 130, from which this hymn derives, is one of the traditional penitential psalms. The versification (altered) is from the 1912 Psalter


Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The gospel calls sinners to forsake their sin and turn to Jesus Christ in repentance that they may be forgiven. Our Song of Hope, stanza 16 says, “The Holy Spirit sends the church to call sinners to repentance, to proclaim the good news that Jesus is personal Savior and Lord.” The Canons of Dort, III-IV, 8 assures: “All who are called by the gospel are called earnestly. For urgently and most genuinely God makes known in the Word what is pleasuring to him: that those who are called should come to God.”


Out Of the Depths I Cry to You on High


Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
—Psalm 130:7-8, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

When we realize the depth of our sin, O God, we are driven into dark despair.
It is only when we realize the height of your mercy
and the breadth of your forgiveness,
that we begin to see the dawning of new life in Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to you, O Lord our Redeemer. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

Out Of the Depths I Cry to You on High

Tune Information

F Major



Out Of the Depths I Cry to You on High

Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 130, from which this hymn derives, is one of the traditional penitential psalms. The versification (altered) is from the 1912 Psalter.
One of the fifteen "Songs of Ascents" (Psalms 120-134) the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem, Psalm 130 may have been composed for worshipers who came to the temple to pray when suffering affliction (the "depths" referred to in v. 1). These suffering worshipers acknowledge that their deepest need is for God's forgive­ness, but that is also their hope and assurance, for the LORD forgives the sins of the people (st. 1). In that confidence, they eagerly "wait for the LORD" to be gracious and to deliver them from their trouble. And to all God's people they say, "Hope in the LORD, for . . . with him is full redemption" (v. 7; st. 2). In early Christian liturgy Psalm 130 was designated as one of the seven penitential psalms (the others are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, and 143).
Charles H. Purday composed SANDON for John Henry Newman's text "Lead, Kindly Light, amid the Encircling Gloom." Other hymnals use the tune for John D. S. Campbell's paraphrase of Psalm 121, "Unto the Hills Around Do I Lift Up," a setting much loved in Canada.
Respected and loved by many, SANDON is a bar-form tune (AABC) with a fine sense of climax in its fourth line. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

The 1912 Psalter was the first ecumenical psalter published in the United States and the most widely used metrical psalter of the twentieth century in North America.  The United Presbyterian Church invited all other Reformed and Presbyterian denominations to join them in the effort to provide a new versifications of the psalms; six Presbyterian denominations, as well as the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America joined in the effort in revising the 1887 Psalter (whose texts actually dated back to the 1871 Book of Psalms; the 1887 edition had added music to the texts.).  The 1912 Psalter included all the psalms in 413 settings, eight doxologies, and the three Lukan canticles (Song of Mary, Song of Zechariah, and Song of Simeon).
— Bert Polman and Jack Reiffer

Composer Information

A publisher, composer, lecturer, and writer, Charles H. Purday (b. Folkestone, Kent, England, 1799; d. Kensington, London, England, 1885) had a special interest in church music. He published Crown Court Psalmody (1854), Church and Home Metrical Psalter and Hymnal (1860), which included SANDON, and, with Frances Havergal, Songs of Peace and Joy (1879). A precentor in the Scottish Church in Crown Court, London, Purday sang at the coronation of Queen Victoria. In the publishing field he is known as a strong proponent of better copyright laws to protect the works of authors and publishers.
— Bert Polman
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