547. Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God

1 Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God,
in every part with praise,
that my whole being may proclaim
thy being and thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
nor e'en the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
of praise in every part.

2 Praise in the common words I speak,
life's common looks and tones,
in fellowship enjoyed at home
with my beloved ones,
enduring wrong, reproach, or loss
with sweet and steadfast will,
forgiving freely those who hate,
returning good for ill.

3 So shall each fear, each fret, each care
be turned into a song,
and every winding of the way
the echo shall prolong.
So shall no part of day or night
from sacredness be free,
but all my life, in every step,
be fellowship with thee.

Text Information
First Line: Fill thou my life, O Lord my God
Title: Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God
Author: Horatius Bonar (1863, alt.)
Meter: CMD
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Family; Praise & Adoration (3 more...)
Tune Information
Meter: CMD
Key: A♭ Major
Source: Gesangbuch, Wittenberg, 1784

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Ps. 34:1, Ps. 71:8

Horatius Bonar (PHH 260), famous Scottish evangelical preacher and poet, wrote this text in twelve, four-line stanzas. Entitled "Life's Praise," the text was published in the third series of Bonar's Hymns of Faith and Hope (1866). Like most other hymnals the Psalter Hymnal includes only half of the original text with minor alterations (the most obvious being the change from "intercourse" to "fellowship" in st. 2, which is more in accord today with Bonar's meaning).

The text's theme is the consecration of all life as a doxology to God–the equivalent in hymn form of the neo-Calvinist concept that all of life is religion. Echoing an emphasis of the Old Testament prophets (see Ps. 50 or Isa. 1), this text affirms that "lip service" or an orthodox heart is not enough; we must live our Christianity in every aspect of our lives each day. That sanctity of life includes the intimate setting of family life and, by extension, the entire family of God, the church (st. 2). Such a holy lifestyle is possible only in communion with God, in "fellowship with thee."

Liturgical Use:
Because the whole of Christian life should be a true doxology to the Lord, many occasions of worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

For a discussion of ELLACOMBE see PHH 378. Bright organ stops and brass instruments will immensely enhance the conviction expressed in this text. Some hymnals still provide four-line stanzas for this text and offer RICHMOND (335) as the tune.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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