Hymn History: “Lord, Speak to Me”

2 min

The young girl sat quietly beside her mother’s bed. She waited silently for her mother, who was deathly ill, to speak. Softly her mother said, “Fanny dear, pray God to prepare you for all He is preparing for you.” Her mother’s dying words became Frances Havergal’s lifelong prayer. Only eleven years old when her mother died, Miss Havergal turned to her Savior through a disciplined prayer life. Concentrated time with Jesus enabled Miss Havergal to know her Savior and His grace for living a life of discretion. 

Miss Havergal began reading at age three and writing poetry when she was seven. Her writing opened the door to a special friend in her life when she was older. That friend was Fanny Crosby, who also enjoyed a close relationship with her Heavenly Father while writing poems and hymns for His glory. Although the two women never met in person, Miss Havergal admired Fanny Crosby and her joy in the Lord. Despite the two ladies living on opposite sides of a vast ocean, their friendship was filled with mutual encouragement and enjoyment through their letters and poems. Miss Havergal showed discretion in choosing a friend who shared her desire to grow spiritually and to write that which would glorify God.

Besides the sorrow of losing her mother when she was young, Miss Havergal experienced the difficulty of a long illness when she was older. However, instead of giving in to the temptation to feel sorry for herself during nine years of poor health, she chose to focus on studying God’s Word and spending time with Him in prayer. Those particular years resulted in her writing more poetry and hymns. Miss Havergal once shared: “Writing hymns is like praying, for I never seem to write even a verse by myself. I feel like a child writing. . . . A child will look up at every sentence and ask, ‘What shall I say next?’ That is what I do. Every line and word and rhyme comes from God.”

Isn’t that what discretion is: Before speaking or acting, asking God, “What shall I say or do next?” Miss Havergal’s relationship with God guided her words, actions, and attitudes. Her hymn “Lord, Speak to Me” is a prayer, asking God to grant the same words and actions that He spoken and done.

Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thine erring children lost and lone.

This hymn tells how we, too, can have discretion. In whatever we do, we need to allow God to direct us. As we seek to bring God glory, may we ask Him to enable us to recognize and wisely avoid those words, actions, and attitudes that could bring
undesirable consequences.

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