Posted by: rcottrill | August 5, 2011

Take My Life and Let It Be

Words: Frances Ridley Havergal (b. Dec. 14, 1836; d. June 3, 1879)
Music: Hendon, by Henri Abraham Cesar Malan (b. July 7, 1787; d. May 18, 1864)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The division of Miss Havergal’s lines into hymn stanzas has been done in various ways, depending on what tune is used. Her original was set out in two-line couplets. This fits the tune Patmos, written for the hymn by the author’s father, William Henry Havergal. The Cyber Hymnal has the song as three eight-line stanzas. But those who use the tune Hendon, arrange the words in six four-line stanzas, with a repeat of the last line in each case. The variations all work, since each couplet forms a separate aspect of our dedication.

Our dedication to the Lord, as Christians, is an important matter. In the Word of God we read, “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). To “present” is to offer up, to make an offering of something, to surrender it to the Lord, putting it entirely at His disposal.

The verb tense in this verse is critical to our understanding of what we’re to do. In the Greek language in which Paul wrote, it describes a once-for-all action. So, the meaning is, “Make a decisive dedication of your bodies, once and for all to God. Commit yourselves to Him totally and forever.”

We hear of people “rededicating” their lives to the Lord. I think I know what they mean, but it’s actually a misnomer. In God’s sight there’s to be only one dedication. It’s not a case of, “Today I’ll do this. And tomorrow…well, we’ll see!” No. It’s to be what a marriage is supposed to be, a commitment for life. Everything we do after that either fulfils our pledge, or breaks it. So, if we backslide, and begin to live in disobedience and unbelief, what’s called for is a confession of our sin, and a return to our original commitment. Any “rededication” is actually a return and affirmation of the one that came before.

One more thing. Why does the text speak of dedicating our bodies? We’d perhaps have expected it to say “your souls,” or “your lives.” However, the body is the home of the soul, and the physical instrument through which our lives are lived out. In a sense, we don’t possess our whole lives. They include an unknown future that’s still out of our reach. We can’t dedicate what we don’t have. But we can turn over our bodies to God. If we do that, once and for all, then everything else is included.

It’s that “everything else” that’s so beautifully identified, point by point in Frances Havergal’s wonderful hymn.

CH-1. “Take may life….my moments and my days,” all of the time You give me. “Take my hands….take my feet,” reigning as Lord over what I do, and where I go.

CH-2. “Take my voice….take my lips,” that I may speak and sing for You. “Take my silver and my gold,” including all my material possessions. And “take my intellect,” that I may use my mind for You.

CH-3. “Take my will and make it Thine,” and may my heart be “Thy royal throne.” This is the offering of love and devotion to the Lord, and finishing with an all-inclusive act of dedication that sums everything up: “Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.” Ever, only, and all. There’s nothing beyond that!

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

1) What are some of the obstacles that keep us from this kind of complete dedication?

2) Romans 12:1 begins, “I beseech you [plead with you] therefore.” That word “therefore” points back to the motivating reasons for our dedication Paul discussed earlier. What are they?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Great review of such a great hymn. Thank you.


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