Please give today to support during one of only two fund drives we run each year. Each month, Hymnary serves more than 1 million users from around the globe, thanks to the generous support of people like you, and we are so grateful. 

Tax-deductible donations can be made securely online using this link.

Alternatively, you may write a check to CCEL and mail it to:
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

Representative text cannot be shown for this hymn due to copyright.
See page scan previews below.

Paraphraser: Karen Lafferty

(no biographical information available about Karen Lafferty.) Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Seek ye first the kingdom of God And His righteousness
Title: Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Paraphraser: Karen Lafferty (1972)
Meter: Irregular
Language: English; Spanish
Notes: French translation: See Cherchez d'abord le royaume de Dieu"; German translation: "Suchet zuerst Gottes Reich in dieser Welt"; Spanish translation: See "Buscad primero el reino de Dios"
Copyright: © 1972, Maranatha! Music (admin by Capital CMG Publishing)
Article: "Seek Ye First" by Eileen M. Johnson (from The Hymn)


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 6:33
st. 2 = Matt. 7:7
st. 3 = Matt. 4:4

Karen Lafferty (b. Alamogordo, NM, 1948) wrote this song one night after attending a Bible study on Matthew 6:33 in 1971 at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California. Struggling with financial difficulties after recently starting a full-time music ministry, she returned home that night with new encouragement. Others appreciated its beauty and simplicity, and the song soon gained popularity, eventually providing the support that permitted her to continue and develop her ministry.

Other stanzas, also based on well-known quotations of Jesus, were written anonymously. Stanza 2 is based on Matthew 7:7, and stanza 3 on Matthew 4:4 (quoting Deut. 8:3). The first two quotations are from the Sermon on the Mount, and the third is Jesus' response to his first temptation in the desert. The addition of anonymous stanzas is a phenomenon related to the oral tradition in which many Scripture songs have developed. The three stanzas together persistently and fervently direct our attention to the things of God in the context of living praise ("alleluia"), indicating that such a manner of life is necessary before God. Maranatha! Music published the composite and recorded it on their initial Praise album (1972).

A musical missionary, Lafferty has been based in Amsterdam since 1981, when she became founder and director of Musicians for Missions, an international ministry of Youth with a Mission. She received a degree in music education at Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, New Mexico. From 1971 to 1981 she was a member of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, where she served as a worship leader and became part of a fellowship of musicians, Maranatha! Music (which later became a Christian music company). Lafferty has recorded several solo albums and a music video. Her musical style is reminiscent of the folk music of such singers and groups as Joni Mitchell, the Kingston Trio, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. She and Musicians for Missions travel worldwide with their music ministry.

Liturgical Use:
Before the reading of Scripture; appropriate in many kinds of services and at various points in the liturgy.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Named after its composer, LAFFERTY is a "simple is beautiful" tune consisting of one repeated musical line accompanied by a descant that encourages even the smallest congregation to sing in two-part harmony. A popular Scripture chorus published in many informal collections, it was one of the first t…

Go to tune page >



Instances (1 - 70 of 70)

Ancient and Modern #775

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #652

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #478

Baptist Hymnal 2008 #524

Breaking Bread (Vol. 39) #435

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #436

Chalice Hymnal #354

Christian Science Hymnal #572

Church Family Worship #168

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #596

Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #641

Common Praise (1998) #458

Community of Christ Sings #599

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #590

Complete Mission Praise #590

CPWI Hymnal #851

Fiesta Jubilosa #86

Gather (3rd ed.) #658

Gather Comprehensive #615

Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #600

Glory and Praise (3rd. ed.) #613

Text InfoAudio

Glory to God #175

Hymnal #324

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #370

Hymns of Faith #447

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise #641

Hymns of Promise #65

Hymns Old and New #442

Journeysongs (2nd ed.) #720

Journeysongs (3rd ed.) #685


Lift Up Your Hearts #899

Lutheran Service Book #712

Moravian Book of Worship #605

One and All Rejoice #274

One in Faith #754

Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #576

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #883

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #438

Text InfoTune InfoAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #209

Rejoice Hymns #411

RitualSong (2nd ed.) #800

RitualSong #728

Santo, Santo, Santo #126

Sing 'N' Praise Hymnal Vol. 2 #30

Sing and Rejoice! #98

Sing Joyfully #615

Singing the Faith #254

Songs for Life #155

Songs of Faith and Praise #555

The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #237

The Book of Praise #625

The Celebration Hymnal #713

The Hymnal 1982 #711

The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #42

The Irish Presbyterian Hymnbook #568

The Presbyterian Hymnal #333


The United Methodist Hymnal #405

The Worshiping Church #447

This Far By Faith #149

Together in Song #745

Voices Together #417

Voices United #356


With Heart and Voice #35

With One Voice #783

Worship (3rd ed.) #580

Worship (4th ed.) #663

Worship and Rejoice #349

Worship His Majesty #544

Worship in Song #100

찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship #136

Include 6 pre-1979 instances
Suggestions or corrections? Contact us