1 Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.
4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)
|First Line:||Take my life and let it be|
|Title:||Take My Life, and Let It Be|
|Author:||Frances Ridley Havergal (1874)|
|Refrain First Line:||Wash me in the Savior's precious blood|
all st. = Isa. 6:8, Phil. 1:20-21, Rom. 12:1
st. 4 = Luke 21:2-3 (KJV)
Frances R. Havergal (b. Astley, Worcestershire, England, 1836; d. Oystermouth, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1879) originally composed her text in eleven couplets as a hymn of "self-consecration to Christ" on February 4, 1874. She told the following story about writing this hymn:
I went for a little visit of five days [to Areley House, Worcestershire, in December 1873]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. [God] gave me the prayer, "Lord, give me all this house." And He just did! Before I left the house, everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit. . . I was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration, and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart, one after another, till they finished with "Ever, only, all, for Thee."
The text is a "catalog" hymn that lists aspects of our lives and offers them in Christ's service.
"Take My Life and Let It Be" was first published in the 1874 appendix to Charles B. Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory (1872). A twelfth couplet was added at some later point, producing the six stanzas published in the Psalter Hymnal.
Although her formal education was sporadic because of poor health, Havergal learned six foreign languages, including Greek and Hebrew, and was well read in many subjects. She began writing poetry at an early age and was also an accomplished singer and pianist. The daughter of a clergyman, she had a conversion experience at the age of fourteen and was confirmed in the Church of England in 1853. Taking seriously her own words "take my silver and my gold," she sent all her jewelry to the Church Mission Society to be sold. She also supported other charitable organizations. Her more than one hundred hymns were originally published in leaflets and later gathered into seven collections: Ministry of Song (1869), Twelve Sacred Songs for Little Singers (1870), Under the Surface (1874), Loyal Responses (1878), Life Mosaic (1879), Life Chords (1880), and Life Echoes (1883), as well as in one large volume, Poetical Works (1884).
Christian worship that emphasizes dedication, offering, or commitment-for example, after the sermon, as an offertory hymn, for ordination or commissioning, for profession of faith, for the dedication or anniversary of a church or congregation; fits well with many stewardship themes.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Take my life, and let it be. Frances R. Havergal. [Self-Consecration to Christ.] This hymn was written at Areley House, Feb. 4, 1874, in 11 stanzas of 2 lines, and published in her Loyal Responses, 1878; the musical edition of the same, 1881; and in Life Chords, 1880. It has also been printed as a leaflet, in various forms for Confirmation, Self-Consecration, and for enclosing in letters, some being accompanied by her father's tune Patmos. It has been translated into French, German, Swedish, Russian, and other European languages, and into several of those of Africa and Asia. The history of its origin is thus given in the HAV. Manuscript:—
Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the consecration hymn 'Take my life.' I went for a little visit of five days [to Areley House]. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer 'Lord, give me all in this house!' And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c.; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves, and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with 'Ever, Only, ALL for Thee!'"
The music to which Miss Havergal invariably sang this hymn, and with which it was always associated in the publications over which she had any influence, was her father's tune Patmos, and the family's desire is that this course may be followed by others.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Here is how author Frances Havergal describes the events that inspired the writing of this hymn:
“I went for a little visit of five days. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for; some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer: ‘Lord, give me all in this house.’ And He just DID! Before I left the house everyone had got a blessing. The last night of my visit, after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, etc. Then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced. It was nearly midnight. I was too happy to sleep, and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration; and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with ‘ever, only, all for Thee’” (Lutheran Hymnal Handbook, 486).
This hymn is a beautiful prayer that God would both draw us closer to Himself, and use us to bring others to Him. God calls us to a life of discipleship, and our only response should be, “Here am I. Send me.”
Critics have raved over Havergal’s text for almost two centuries. Hymn author Ira Sankey wrote that this was “one of the finest consecration hymns in the world” (Sankey, My Life in Hymns, 81). Albert Bailey wrote, “This hymn has had a career of great usefulness. It has frequently objectified for even young children what practical ways of serving Christ may be theirs in their every-day lives” (Bailey, The Gospel in Hymns, 405).
Each verse offers a different part of ourselves for the purposes of God – our life, our hands, our voice, our money, our wills, and our love. Modern hymnals include a number of different arrangements of the text. For example, the Psalter Hymnal ends verse one with “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in endless praise” and begins the second verse with “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.” The Worshiping Church uses the latter line to end the first verse, and doesn’t include the former line in any verse. Modern hymnals include anywhere from four to six verses.
Originally Havergal’s text was set to the tune PATMOS which was composed by her father, William H. Havergal, in 1847. Frances was apparently quite adamant that this be the only tune her text was sung to, but this was not to be the case. Henri A. Cesar Malan composed the tune HENDON around 1827. It was taken over to North America by Lowell Mason where it quickly became the tune associated with this hymn, and is found in most modern hymnals.
This is a gentle, quiet tune that doesn’t require much accompaniment. Use guitar picking or light piano with a flute or violin providing harmony lines, or a very light organ registration. On the third verse, which reads, “Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King,” consider dropping out instrumentally so only the voices are heard.
Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio have altered the melody a bit and added a chorus that echoes the text of Isa. 6:8, which says, “’Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Tomlin’s chorus reads, “Here am I, all of me, take my life, it’s all for thee.” In this version, keep the verses softer and grow on the chorus, which you can repeat multiple times, getting louder as you repeat. The strength and volume of the chorus makes this a perfect alternative to the original for a large praise band with drums and electric guitar.
This hymn can be sung in any time of worship that emphasizes our dedication of our whole selves to God, or our commitment to serve God. Consider transitioning right into the simple song “Take, o Take Me As I Am” at the end, or pairing the hymn with “Be Thou My Vision.”
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org