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Bless This Land

About the Song

Pike's Peak

If you walk out onto my front porch on a clear day (and creatively filter out the tree branches), this is what you will see. This is Pike’s Peak in Colorado, and it was at the top of this 14,000 foot mountain that Katharine Lee Bates found the inspiration for her poem “Pikes Peak,” later renamed “America the Beautiful.”

America is a beautiful country. It’s also large and wide and diverse and sometimes a bit frightening… but it’s a wonderful place, and I love it. I hope you love your country as well, wherever you may be, and work and pray for the good of your nation and the priceless blessing of peace. This song is a simple prayer for the blessings of God on the lands we love.

The text was written in response to current events which, of course, won’t stay current, so I won’t discuss them here. If you’d like background information on these lyrics, see this blog post.

The music for this song was written by Michael Moody, a talented musician and wonderful friend who has encouraged me in songwriting for many years. (If you want to read more about him, here’s a bio on Wikipedia.) I’ll never forget meeting him on my first visit to the LDS Church music office… feeling very small and young and timid in that hulking tower of a building… and watching in relief as he bounced my 3-year-old son on his knee and sang silly songs to him. I hope you enjoy his beautiful setting.

Sheet Music Downloads
Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by Annabelle Smith:

Accompaniment track:

Lyrics

Bless this land, dear God our Father
Bless this land, thy children pray
Uphold us in our just endeavors
Speed our efforts, light our way

Bless this land, dear God our Father
Heal our wounds and right our wrongs
Defend us with thine arm forever
Teach us faith and make us strong

(Chorus:)
Bless every land and nation under heaven
At thy command let all our conflict cease
Teach us love for all of thy creation
Teach us wisdom
Teach us mercy
Teach us peace

Bless this land, dear God our Father
Bless this land, the home we love
Oh may our hope shine ever brighter
Guide and guard us from above

Make us thine, dear God our Father
For each kingdom is thine own
Unite our hearts until we gather
As one people at thy throne

3 Comments

  1. Pete

    Is there accompaniment score that is different than the downloadable hymn music? I’m a newbie choir director and would like to sing this for Thanksgiving but noticed that the accompaniment sound track is different than the sheet music.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      The piano for the soloist uses the solo version, though some of the melody notes were omitted. I’m not sure if that accompaniment will fit the SATB hymn parts, but it might be worth a try. Let us all know if it works!

      Reply
  2. Salli

    Dear Sister DeFord,

    I wanted to write to tell you about an extraordinary experience we had with one of your songs this week-end. My husband and I are currently serving a mission in Phnom Penh Cambodia. Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of when the church was first recognized here, so we hosted a huge event for 3000 members at a beautiful theatre in Phnom Penh. The program was a three hour multi-media event, featuring cultural dancing, choirs, general authority talks – and it was all wonderful!

    Phirun Amreth, who was over the music chose for a solo selection your beautiful hymn, Bless this Land. He took the liberty to translate it into Khmer so the members could sense the full impact of the words. He told me after the performance that he felt the Lord’s spirit guide him in his efforts as he translated it and was reassured that this piece was the best choice for the program.

    Thang Pytheary, a beautiful young adult female soloist, performed the piece. It was perfect! A young Khmer girl sitting next to me during the practice said with tears standing in her eyes, “My heart has never been so touched by a song before, I don’t ever want to forget this feeling.” I cried, as well, as I read the words on the backdrop behind the soloist as she sang. I don’t know if you know, but the Cambodian people endured a governmental genocide from 1975 to 1979 under the despotic reign of Pol Pot. Every citizen in Cambodia has relatives who were killed during that period. They have every reason to be filled with hatred, suspicion, and bitterness, but they are actually very forgiving and sweet natured. As I read the words, “Bless this land, Dear God our Father, heal our wounds and right our wrongs” I was completely touched by the spirit and felt a deeper love for the Cambodian people than I had ever felt before. I sensed their pain and sorrow, but have also witnessed their forgiveness and their resilience as they have moved forward after the Khmer Rouge. (There is a part of me that feels that their determination to not be filled with negativity is a direct result of why the gospel was able to come here, and why it has flourished in such a short period of time.)

    Having enjoyed the song so much during the practice, I anxiously waited for the performance during the program. I was not at all disappointed! As Theary sang, I looked behind me at the audience. Their attention was fixed and deep emotion was evident in many eyes. I saw tears. After the song, the audience erupted in applause. I could tell everyone was affected by this beautiful song…translated into Khmer!

    I just wanted to let you know that this song, which is so deeply beautiful, was used by the Lord for a very special purpose in Cambodia this week-end. Thank you so much for living your life and developing your talents so that you could be used as the vehicle to bring it to earth. The same, of course, is true for all the pieces you have given to the world. I have been deeply touched, moved, and inspired many times throughout my life by your music. And now I have another memory to bring home with me from Cambodia when our mission is complete!

    Just wanted you to share our special moment.

    Lots of love, Sister Salli Hollenzer

    Reply

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