So far in 2023, 13 million people from 200-plus countries around the world have benefitted from the Hymnary website! Thank you to all who use and all who support it with gifts of time, talent and treasure. If you feel moved to support our work today with a gift of any amount and a word of encouragement, we would be grateful. You can donate online at our secure giving site. Or, if you'd like to make a gift by check, please send it to:, Calvin University, 3201 Burton Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. May the hope, love, joy and peace of Advent be yours this day and always.

Your donation:

O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Representative Text

1 O God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
our Shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal Home.

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

3 Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting Thou art God,
to endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in Thy sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

5 Time, like an ever-rolling stream
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op’ning day.

6 O God, our Help in ages past,
our Hope for years to come,
be Thou our Guard while life shall last,
and our eternal Home!

Source: Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #90

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Our God, our help in ages past
Title: O God, Our Help in Ages Past
Author: Isaac Watts (1719)
Language: English
Notes: Spanish translation: See "Nuestra esperanza y protección" by Federico J. Pagura; Swahili translations: See "Mungu ndiye mwamba wetu", "Ewe Mungu ngome yetu"
Copyright: Public Domain


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 90:1
st. 2 = Ps. 90:1
st. 3 = Ps. 90:2
st. 4 = Ps. 90:4
st. 5 = Ps. 90:5
st. 6 = Ps. 90:1

Considered one of the finest paraphrases written by Isaac Watts (PHH 155), "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" expresses a strong note of assurance, promise, and hope in the LORD as recorded in the first part of Psalm 90, even though the entire psalm has a recurring theme of lament. Watts wrote the paraphrase in nine stanzas around 1714 and first published the text in his Psalms of David (1719). The Psalter Hymnal includes the most well-known stanzas. The first line, originally "Our God, our help … ," was changed to "O God, our help… “by John Wesley in his Collection of Psalms and Hymns. (1738). For further commentary on this psalm see PHH 90.

Liturgical Use:
Because it has great stature in the British Commonwealth and virtually serves as a second national anthem, "O God, Our Help in Ages Past" is suitable for various civic occasions in addition to its more common. See also PHH 90.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Our God, our help in ages past. I. Watts. [Ps. xc.] this is the first part of his C.M. rendering of Ps. xc, in 9 stanzas of 4 lines, which appeared in his Psalms of David, &c., 1719, p. 229, and entitled “Man Frail, and God Eternal.” This version of Ps. xc. Has come down to modern collections in the following forms:--
(1) The original, in a few instances in full, but oftener in an abbreviated form of stanzas i., ii., iii., v., vii., and ix.
(2) The altered text by J. Wesley, first published in his Collection of Psalms & Hymns, 1737, where it begins, “O God, our help,” &c. In this text alterations are introduced in stanzas i., ii., vi., and vii. This arrangement in 7 stanzas was included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780, No. 39, and has been retained in all subsequent editions of that collection. A collation of any hymnal with the original and these changes by J. Wesley, will shew that in nearly every case the stanzas taken are i., ii., iii., v., vii., ix., and the alterations, if any, are by J. Wesley. In Bigg’s Annotated Hymns Ancient &Modern, 1867, a rendering into Latin by C. S. Calverley, 1866, “Auxilium quondam, nunc spes,” is given of the Hymns Ancient & Modern text, which is the original, with J. Wesley’s “O God” for “Our God.”
(3) A curious arrangement of Watts with Tate & Brady was given by Toplady in his Psalms & Hymns, 1776, No. 308, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines. This cento is unknown to modern collections.
(4) In Stowell’s Manchester Collection, 1831, Ps. xc. is composed of stanzas i., ii., from this version by Watts; and iii.-v. by another hand. It is repeated in the 1877 edition by his son. It is a most unequal cento, with a grand opening and a most feeble finish.

Of Watts’s original it would be difficult to write too highly. It is undoubtedly one of his finest compostions, and his best paraphrase. In the commonly accepted form of six stanzas it is seen to the fullest advantage, the omitted portions being unequal to the rest, and impede the otherwise grandly sustained flow of thought. It has been rendered into many languages, and its use is universal. Original text in modern editions of Watts.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Though no firm documentation exists, ST. ANNE was probably composed by William Croft (PHH 149), possibly when he was organist from 1700-1711 at St. Anne's Church in Soho, London, England. (According to tradition, St. Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary.) The tune was first published in A Suppleme…

Go to tune page >



You have access to this FlexScore.
Are parts of this score outside of your desired range? Try transposing this FlexScore.
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Contacting server...
Contacting server...
Questions? Check out the FAQ

A separate copy of this score must be purchased for each choir member. If this score will be projected or included in a bulletin, usage must be reported to a licensing agent (e.g. CCLI, OneLicense, etc).

This is a preview of your FlexScore.
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #74
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
The Cyber Hymnal #4892
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #170
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
Timeless Truths #118
  • O_God_Our_Help_in_Ages_Past.pdf (PDF)
  • O_God_Our_Help_in_Ages_Past.xml (XML)
The United Methodist Hymnal #117
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
Worship and Rejoice #84
With Heart and Voice: songs for all God's children #18
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)


Instances (1 - 100 of 125)

A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #205

A Teaching Hymnal #164

TextPage Scan

African American Heritage Hymnal #170

TextPage Scan

African Methodist Episcopal Church Hymnal #61

Ambassador Hymnal #50


Ancient and Modern #746

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #547

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #74

Baptist Hymnal 2008 #122


Breaking Bread (Vol. 39) #443


Catholic Book of Worship III #644

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #566

TextPage Scan

Chalice Hymnal #67


Christian Worship (1993) #441


Christian Worship #820

TextPage Scan

Christian Worship #90D

Church Family Worship #50

Church Gospel Songs and Hymns #281

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #537

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #604

TextPage Scan

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #161

Page Scan

Common Praise (1998) #528

TextPage Scan

Common Praise #537

Community of Christ Sings #16

TextPage Scan

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #494

Page Scan

Complete Mission Praise #498

TextPage Scan

CPWI Hymnal #234

TextPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #160

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Worship #632

Gather (3rd ed.) #688

TextPage Scan

Gather Comprehensive #614

Page Scan

Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #588

TextPage Scan

Glory and Praise (3rd. ed.) #612

Text InfoTextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Glory to God #687

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #136

Hymnal #328

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #99

Hymns and Psalms #358

TextPage Scan

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #1

TextPage Scan

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #37

Hymns for Worship #20

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Faith #48

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #161

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Promise #3

Hymns of the Christian Life #13

TextPage Scan

Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints #31

Hymns of the Saints #200

Text Info

Hymns of the Saints #200b

Hymns of Truth & Light #80

Hymns Old and New #366

TextPage Scan

Hymns to the Living God #303


Journeysongs (2nd ed.) #705

TextPage Scan

Journeysongs (3rd ed.) #672

TextPage Scan

Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #560

TextFlexScoreAudioPage Scan

Lift Up Your Hearts #405

TextPage Scan

Lutheran Service Book #733

TextPage Scan

Lutheran Worship #180

TextPage Scan

Moravian Book of Worship #461


One in Faith #766

TextPage Scan

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism #228

Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #577

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #470

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #471

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #32

TextPage Scan

Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #90

Psalms for All Seasons #90B

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs #20

Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs #21

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #170

Redeeming Love #120

TextPage Scan

Redemption Hymnal #104

Rejoice Hymns #24

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #1

TextPage Scan

RitualSong (2nd ed.) #804

TextPage Scan

RitualSong #735

Santo, Santo, Santo #41

TextPage Scan

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #103

Sing Glory #542

TextPage Scan

Sing Joyfully #67

Singing the Faith #132

TextPage Scan

Singing the Living Tradition #281


Small Church Music #222

Page Scan

Soul-stirring Songs and Hymns (Rev. ed.) #122

Spurgeon's Own Hymn Book #90

TextPage Scan

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #81

The Baptist Hymnal #66

The Book of Hymns (A fresh anthology of favourite hymns) #208

TextPage Scan

The Book of Praise #330


The Celebration Hymnal #686

The Christian Life Hymnal #28

Page Scan

The Covenant Hymnal #422

The Covenant Hymnal #824


The Cyber Hymnal #4892

The Dulcimer Hymn Book #63

The Greenwood Harmony (2nd ed.) #11


The Hymnal 1982 #680

TextPage Scan

The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #52

TextPage Scan

The New Century Hymnal #25

TextPage Scan

The New English Hymnal #417

TextPage Scan

The New National Baptist Hymnal (21st Century Edition) #46


Include 1104 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us