They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.@Isaiah 40:31

John A. Dall­es, 1984.

Ich Halte Treu­liche Still at­trib­ut­ed to Jo­hann S. Bach, 1736 (🔊 pdf nwc).

portrait
Johann S. Bach (1685–1750)

God, Bless Your Church with Strength was writ­ten in South Bend, for the 150th an­ni­ver­sa­ry of the First Pres­by­ter­i­an Church of South Bend, Ind­i­a­na, which I was serv­ing as as­so­ci­ate pas­tor at the time (1984). The con­gre­ga­tion held a big an­ni­ver­sa­ry din­ner and wor­ship at the South Bend Con­ven­tion Cen­ter—the hymn was sung there and has been sung by that church often as their theme hymn.

First PC South Bend is my wife Ju­dy’s home con­gre­ga­tion—she was bap­tized and con­firmed there, and we met there on Sept. 13, 1982, at my first dea­con’s meet­ing as the church’s as­so­ci­ate pas­tor. We were mar­ried there in May of 1984. It was my 6th hymn.

God, bless Your church with strength!
Wherever we may be,
Upbuild Your servants as we work
In common ministry.
Urge us from fledgling faith
To venture and to soar
Through open skies, to sing the praise
Of Christ whom we adore.

God, bless Your church with life!
May all our branches thrive,
Unblemished, wholesome, bearing fruit,
Abundantly alive.
From You, one holy vine,
In freedom may we grow;
Sustain us in our mission, Lord,
Your love and peace to show.

God, bless Your church with hope!
Despite chaotic days,
May we in chaos shine to light
A pathway through life’s maze.
May justice be our aim,
And kindness ours to share,
In humbleness O may we walk,
Assured our God is there!