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Hymn History: “Take My Life and Let It Be”

2 min

Laughter filled the London home! Eleven young adults were visiting with each other for five days in 1874. One guest, thirty-eight-year-old Frances Havergal, although enjoying this time of fellowship with her friends, found herself especially burdened to pray for them. Kneeling in the guest bedroom, the Christian woman boldly prayed, “Lord, give me all in this house!” Some were Christians but immature believers, while the remainder were unsaved. Fervently, she prayed for her ten friends.

God immediately began answering her prayer. When only one day of the visit remained, eight friends had either affirmed their commitment to Christ or been saved! After Miss Havergal had gone to bed on their final evening together, she heard a knock at her door. The two daughters who lived in the home asked if they might speak with her at that late hour. Miss Havergal eagerly made herself available, hoping her prayers for these last two might be answered with their decisions to accept Christ as Savior. Soon they were weeping in anguish over their wretched spiritual condition. With great joy, Miss Havergal led them to Christ!

Afterward, Miss Havergal was too excited to sleep. Wide awake, she praised God for His answers to her prayer. Later, recalling the events of that night, she noted joyfully: “These little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with, ‘Ever, only, ALL for thee’ [emphasis hers],” and that is how the words of this treasured hymn came to be written.

Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days; let them flow
in ceaseless praise . . . .

Miss Havergal had a beautiful voice. She often performed at concerts, including at performances by the London Philharmonic. Initially, she sang this hymn only during her personal devotions. One day, however, the following verse led to a new conviction:

Take my voice and let me sing always only, for my King.

Take my lips and let them be filled with messages
from Thee . . . .

After carefully pondering those lines, Miss Havergal believed she should stop performing at secular concerts. From that moment on, “her lips were exclusively devoted to the songs of the Lord.”¹

Availability is “making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I am serving.” Do you make your schedule and your priorities secondary to the will of God and your parents? Often, we want to make our personal desires our priority. Yet, as we willingly become genuinely available to God, we can joyfully make this declaration:

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.

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