Take my Life
From the book "Lead, Kindly Light" (Reproduced with kind permission of ‘This England’ magazine)
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836 – 1879)
Occasionally, you have the privilege to meet someone who is really too “good” for this tarnished world – someone who is kind, caring and for whom transitory pleasures and the pusuit of material gain mean nothing. Instead, their whole being is suffused by a love of God which illuminates their personality. Frances Ridley Havergal was such a person.
She was born in Worcestershire in 1836, a few months before the accession of Queen Victoria. She was a high-spirited and affectionate child with a mop of golden curls. She revelled in the countryside around her home and developed a deep love and knowledge of nature. Frances proved a bright pupil. By the time she was seven years old, she was writing her own hymns and, having her father’s musical talents, she was soon writing tunes for them as well.
In 1848, Frances’s beloved mother died after a long illness. Shortly before her death she had said to her daughter: “Frances, pray to God to prepare you for all He is preparing for you.” Frances never forgot those words and she later said the message became “a life prayer” for her.
Frances read a great deal, but within the narrow confines dictated by her father’s very puritan tastes. The Bible was the only book he really approved of and as a result Frances virtually knew it by heart. If Frances fretted and rebelled against her rigid upbringing, it is not recorded. Instead, she seems to have been the perfect vicar’s daughter, throwing herself wholeheartedly into philanthropy. She started Sunday School and Bible classes and went around the community helping others wherever possible and regarded herself as “a maid of all work in the household of God.”
Early in 1874 Frances went on a five-day visit to a friend’s house. There were about 10 people there, some of whom were unbelievers and others who were lukewarm Christians. She prayed that everyone in the house would be given the blessing of true faith, and her prayer was granted. On the very last night of her visit she was woken up by the governess of the two daughters of the household. They were very upset and confused, but Frances talked to them and suddenly they, too, became firm believers. Frances was so happy that she could not sleep and the words of a hymn formed themselves in her head until they ended with the words, “Ever, only, all for Thee!”
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
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;
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
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.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be