Hymn: a song of praise to God. It seems simple, but have you ever read the stories behind the beloved lyrics of your favorite classic hymns?
Each month in 2022 we are sharing the story behind one of our favorite classic hymns. We hope these stories will encourage you and help you worship, just like the hymnist, amid hurt, hope, fear, thanksgiving, joy, or loss.
This month we’re sharing the story behind Take My Life and Let it Be
Frances R. Havergal wrote this hymn on February 4, 1874. About the occasion she wrote, “There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, ‘Lord, give me all in this house.’ And He just did. Before I left the house everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart, one after another till they finished with ‘Ever, only, all for thee.'”
This text became popular within the year, being published in Charles B. Snepps Songs of Grace and Glory (London) and Phillips’ The Gospel Singer (Philadelphia).
The first Southern Baptist collection to include this text was The Baptist Hymnal and Praise Book (Nashville, 1904, No 342).
HENDON was composed by Henri A. C. Malan. This tune is usually dated 1827 and probably received its first printing in one of Malan’s collections of hymns, for which he generally wrote both the words and music. The first American publication of the tune was in Lowell Mason’s Canmina Sacra (1841).
The harmonization that appears in the Baptist Hymnal (1991) was Mason’s work. The first publication of the tune in a Southern Baptist collection was apparently in New Baptist Hymnal (Nashville, 1926, Nos. 129327).
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)
This story was included in Handbook to The Baptist Hymnal.