O Breath of Life

Representative Text

1 O Breath of life, come sweeping through us,
revive your church with life and power.
O Breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us;
and fit your church to meet this hour.

2 O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
till humbly we confess our need.
Then in your tenderness remake us;
revive, restore, for this we plead.

3 O Breath of love, come breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart.
Come, love of Christ, afresh to win us;
Revive your church in every part.

Source: Worship and Song #3146

Author: Bessie Porter Head

[Elizabeth Ann Porter Head] Head, Elizabeth Ann (`Bessie'; née Porter) b. Belfast: 1850 d. Wimbledon, Surrey: 28 June 1936 She was the youngest daughter of Tobias Porter, manager of John Alexander's flour mill in Belfast. Of her early life nothing is known; but in 1894 she became secretary of the YWCA in Swansea. She then served with the South Africa General Mission from 1897-1907, mostly in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg, helping to found several branches of the YWCA. With the chairman of the Mission and a fellow missionary she toured North America in 1906-7; her intended return to South Africa in November 1907 was cancelled in favour of marriage, on 17 December, to the chairman, Albert Alfred Head (1844-192… Go to person page >



The name SPIRITUS VITAE derives from the Latin translation of Bessie P. Head's text "O Breath of Life, " for which Mary Jane Hammond (b. England, 1878; d. St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, 1964) composed the tune around 1914. That text and SPIRITUS VITAE were first published in Heavenly Places and…

Go to tune page >





The Cyber Hymnal #4704
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Worship and Rejoice #328


Instances (1 - 24 of 24)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Chalice Hymnal #250TextPage Scan
Church Family Worship #464
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #305
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #595Text
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #476Text
Complete Mission Praise #488
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #777
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #237Text
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #356
Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #88Audio
Sing Joyfully #152TextPage Scan
Singing the Faith #391
Small Church Music #7027Audio
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #599
The Cyber Hymnal #4704TextScoreAudio
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #291TextPage Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal #543TextAudio
The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #44
The Worshiping Church #299TextPage Scan
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #409Text
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #341TextPage Scan
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #202Text
Worship and Rejoice #328TextScoreAudioPage Scan
Worship and Song #3146Text
Include 13 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us