Hymnary Friends,

Please pardon this brief interruption, and please consider a gift today to support the work of Hymnary.org. Here's why.

Each month half a million people visit this website for free access to the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet. But this project does not come without a cost, and we have limited sources of revenue. Twice a year we hold a fund drive, and these drives are critical to our future.

So if you benefit from Hymnary.org, would you consider a donation today? Even small amounts help, and they also let us know you're behind us and support what we do.

Click the Donate button below to be taken to a secure giving site. Or you can make your tax-deductible contribution by sending a check to Hymnary.org at 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

On behalf of the entire Hymnary.org team, our thanks.
Harry Plantinga

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 - 25 of 25)

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #305

Hymns and Psalms #777


Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #88

TextPage Scan

Sing Joyfully #152


Small Church Music #7027

The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #44

Page Scan

Trinity Psalter Hymnal #395


Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #237


Voices United #202

The Covenant Hymnal #599

TextPage Scan

The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #291

TextPage Scan

The Worshiping Church #299

TextPage Scan

Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #341

TextScoreAudioPage Scan

Worship and Rejoice #328

Church Family Worship #464


Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #595


Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #476

Complete Mission Praise #488

Hymns Old and New #356

Singing the Faith #391

TextPage Scan

Chalice Hymnal #250


The Cyber Hymnal #4704


The United Methodist Hymnal #543


Together in Song #409


Worship and Song #3146

Include 13 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us