I’m a little late this morning in adding to my ongoing series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth, but better late than never (and it’s only a few hours). This week’s hymn features words by Frances Ridley Havergal in February 1874. Havergal was born December 14, 1836 in Astley, Worcestershire, England and died on June 3, 1879 in Caswall Bay, near Swansea, Wales. She is buried in Astley, Worcestershire, England, where on her tombstone was the Scripture verse she claimed for herself: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. — 1 John 1:7”
The daughter of a minister, William Havergal, she was baptized by hymnist John Cawood.
[She] mastered Greek and Hebrew to read the scriptures in their original languages. Having grown up in England, she traveled in Europe and enjoyed skiing in the Swiss Alps –– an unusual recreation in the nineteenth century. She was also an accomplished singer who sometimes sang with the Philharmonic.
Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. With all her education, however, Frances Havergal maintained a simple faith and confidence in the Lord. She never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it.
Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poetry.
Of the composition of this particular hymn, Havergal wrote,
I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). 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 every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c.; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. 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!” [source]
As usual for these hymns, I knew nothing of its story or that of its author until the present time… its representation in my youth was strictly based on the lyrics and the tune as we sang it in the church where I grew up. I believe many hymnals include only four verses, but I suspect that different ones of the six below will have the most meaning for different individuals who know the hymn. For me, the standout one is moments, days, and intellect. For all, though, the final line will probably ring: “Ever, only, all for thee.”
Take My Life and Let it Be
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
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;
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r 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.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.