Every song has a story, and "How Great Thou Art" is no different. In 1885, Carl Boberg, a Swedish minister, wrote a poem called "O Store Gud" (O Mighty God). His poem was set to a Swedish melody, but was not widely known.
When I the world consider
Which Thou has made by Thine almighty Word
And how the webb of life Thou wisdom guideth
And all creaion feedeth at Thy board
Then doth my soul burst forth in song of praise
Oh, great God, Oh, great God
Hearing this hymn in Russia, English missionary Stuart Hine was so moved he modified and expanded the words and made his own arrangement of the Swedish melody. He later said his first three verses were inspired, line upon line, by Russia's rugged Carpathian Mountains. The final verse was written after Dr. Hine returned to Great Britain.
Some time later, Dr. J. Edwin Orr heard "How Great Thou Art" being sung by Naga people in Assam, India, and decided to bring it back to America. During the 1954 Billy Graham Crusade in Harringay Area, George Beverly Shea was given a leaflet containing this hymn. Then in the New York Crusade of 1957, it was sung by George Beverly Shea ninety-nine times, with the choir joining the majestic chorus:
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art! How great Thou art!