288. Take My Life and Let It Be

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.

Text Information
First Line: Take my life and let it be
Title: Take My Life and Let It Be
Author: Frances R. Havergal (1874)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 77 77 with repeat
Scripture: Isaiah 6:8; Luke 21:2; Romans 12:1; Philippians 1:20-21; Romans 12; Philippians 3:16; Philippians 1:21
Topic: Commitment & Dedication; Love: God's Love to Us; Dedication and Offering
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: HENDON
Composer: H. A. César Malan (1827)
Meter: 77 77 with repeat
Key: F Major


Text Information:

Scripture References:
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).

Liturgical Use:
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

Tune Information:

HENDON was composed by Henri A. Cesar Malan (b. Geneva, Switzerland, 1787; d. Vandoeuvres, Switzerland, 1864) and included in a series of his own hymn texts and tunes that he began to publish in France in 1823, and which ultimately became his great hymnal Chants de Sion (1841). HENDON is thought to date from 1827. Lowell Mason (PHH 96) brought the tune to North America and published it in his Carmina Sacra (1841); that version is the one published in the Psalter Hymnal. Hendon is a village in Middlesex, England.

Because HENDON has five phrases, the text has to repeat its fourth line in each stanza to fit the music. Try singing in two units, grouping the first two phrases together and then the last three. Articulate the repeated tones clearly on the organ. Malan's harmonization is a good one for part singing by the entire congregation. Antiphonal performance may be best when singing the entire six stanzas; stanza 3 is a perfect candidate for unaccompanied singing.

Educated at the College of Geneva, Malan intended to become a businessman but instead was led to a ministerial career. In 1810 he was ordained in the National Reformed Church of Switzerland. A popular preacher at the Chapelle du Temoignage in Geneva, he attacked the formalism and liberalism of the national church and urged both a return to strict Calvinism and the need for conversion. When the church forbade him access to its pulpits, Malan had a church built in his garden and continued to preach to a large congregation. In his later years he devoted much of his energy to revival preaching. He traveled in Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, and Scotland, where he conducted six revival tours and preached to a large following. A writer of several books and countless tracts, many of them translated into English, Malan also wrote the texts and tunes of over a thousand hymns, many of which became popular in the French Protestant churches.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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