I enjoy learning about the hymn writers of my favorite hymns because it makes them more meaningful and puts a face and a life to the words. It’s easy just to sing the words of a familiar song and forget that someone wrote them because of a particular event in their life or because of the way the Lord had been dealing in their life at the time.
Take my life and let it be–Consecrated, Lord, to thee. Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Several months ago I heard a pastor speak about the life of Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) before we sang, “Like a River Glorious.” Intrigued, I began to read more about her, as well as listen to more of her hymns and read some of her poetry. I was impressed in both the way she lived and the way she died. In this post, I will discuss how she lived, and I’ll have a follow up post on how she died.
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.
Born at the rectory in Astley, Worcestershire (England) where her father was the rector, Havergal accomplished much in her short life. From the time she was a young child, she always sought to serve and lift up Jesus. She was writing poetry at the age of seven and had verses published while still a teen in “Good Words.”
Take my voice and let me sing,–Always, only for my King, Take my lips and let them be–Filled with messages for Thee.
Receiving her education at both English and German boarding schools, she proved herself a natural linguist learning Latin, German, Italian, French, Hebrew, and Greek. She also played the piano and was said to be a beautiful singer.
Take my silver and my gold; Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect and use–Every power as Thou shalt choose.
Four years after writing the words: “take my silver and my gold,” she packed up and shipped a box of valuable jewelry to a church missionary house. Of the few pieces she kept: “I retain only a brooch or two for daily wear, which are memorials of my dear parents; also a locket with the only portrait I have of my niece, who is in heaven. But these I redeem that the whole value goes to the Church Missionary Society.”
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.
Havergal told the story behind the writing of the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” in Memorials of Frances Ridley Havergal. “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 the 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. Then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced. It was 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.”
Take my love, my Lord, I pour–At thy feet its treasure store.Take myself, and I will be–Ever, only, all for Thee.