Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve

Representative Text

1 Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve,
and press with vigor on;
A heavenly race demands your zeal,
and an immortal crown,
and an immortal crown.

2 A cloud of witnesses around
holds you in full survey;
Forget the steps already trod,
and onward urge your way
and onward urge your way.

3 For God's all-animating voice
still calls us to the race;
And God's own hand still gives the prize
with never-ending grace,
with never-ending grace.

4 O Savior, shown the way by you,
I have my race begun;
And, crowned with victory, at your feet
I'll lay my honors down,
I'll lay my honors down.

Source: The New Century Hymnal #491

Author: Philip Doddridge

Philip Doddridge (b. London, England, 1702; d. Lisbon, Portugal, 1751) belonged to the Non-conformist Church (not associated with the Church of England). Its members were frequently the focus of discrimination. Offered an education by a rich patron to prepare him for ordination in the Church of England, Doddridge chose instead to remain in the Non-conformist Church. For twenty years he pastored a poor parish in Northampton, where he opened an academy for training Non-conformist ministers and taught most of the subjects himself. Doddridge suffered from tuberculosis, and when Lady Huntington, one of his patrons, offered to finance a trip to Lisbon for his health, he is reputed to have said, "I can as well go to heaven from Lisbon as from Nort… Go to person page >


Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve. P. Doddridge. [Confirmation.] This hymn is not given in the "D. MSS." It was first published by J. Orton in his edition of Doddridge's Hymns, &c, 1755, No. 296, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "Pressing on in the Christian Race." It was repeated in all subsequent editions of the Hymns, and also in Doddridge's Scripture Hymns, edited by J. Doddridge Humphreys, 1839. One of the earliest collections in which it is found is Ash and Evans's Bristol Collection, 1769, No. 281, with the omission of st. iv. ”That prize," &c. From that date it came into general use, sometimes in 4 stanzas, and again in 5 stanzas until it became widely known both in Great Britain and America. In modern collections it is held in greater favour by those of the Church of England than those of Nonconformists. Full original text in the New Congregational Hymn Book, No. 617, and the 4 stanza form unaltered, in Hymnal Companion, No. 452. In the latter collection the editor suggests that in Confirmation it be sung after the benedictory prayer, “Defend, O Lord, this Thy servant," &c. This 4 stanza arrangement has been rendered into Latin:—"Sursum, mens mea! Strenué," by the Rev. R. Bingham, and given in his Hymnologia Christina Latina, 1871, pp. 101-103. A slightly altered form of the hymn, as “Awake, our souls, awake from sloth" is given in a few hymnals, including Walker's Cheltenham Collection, 1855 and 1881.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The tune is based on the the beginning of the soprano aria "Non vi piacque ingiusti dei" from the opera "Siroe"

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Instances (1 - 8 of 8)

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #500


Hymnal 1982 #546

Hymnal #609


Rejoice in the Lord #474

The Baptist Hymnal #416


The Cyber Hymnal #316

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The New Century Hymnal #491

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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #576

Include 983 pre-1979 instances
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