Hymns & Songs

What it means to ‘present ourselves as a living sacrifice’

Jul 2011    

Take my life and let it be

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them fl ow in ceaseless praise.
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
fi lled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as You choose.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it ine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is ine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

HERE IS AN OLD HYMN, written in 1873 by Frances R. Havergal, and set to a contemporary tune by Chris Tomlin. Chris Tomlin adds a chorus. “Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for thee.” is line punctuates the function of the hymn as a prayer of commitment.

It will be interesting to sing this hymn with the tunes alternating. that is, the youth sing the Chris Tomlin tune for the first stanza; the older generation sing the hymn version on the second stanza; then everybody sings the chorus. The worship leaders will have to work this out creatively bearing in mind that both generations should be engaged.

This idea may not appeal to everyone. But I am just wondering how we can make this work. I do believe that it will be a beautiful experience to see the body of Christ appreciating the gifts of God expressed in singing.

As we sing “Here am I, all of me. Take my life, it’s all for thee,” we present our bodies, offer them to God as we are His. is chorus summarises the stanzas where we tell God: “Take my life, moments, hands, feet, voice, lips, silver, intellect, will, heart, love, and self.” Is this not a prayer of complete surrender to God? It is a call to action. But how far can we actually go?

What does it mean to sing “Here I am … it’s all for thee?” What did the author of the text have in mind when she wrote this hymn?

“In December 1873, I went for a little visit of five days to Areley House, Worcestershire. ere were ten persons in the house; some were unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. [God] 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  was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in renewal of my consecration, and those little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another till they finished with “ever only, ALL FOR THEE!”

It must have been a joyful experience for Ms Frances Havergel to bless the people in the house. It must have been overwhelming that she had to pen her thoughts. What a tremendous way of strengthening one’s relationship with the Lord! I can imagine how she has impacted the lives of those she touched and those she continues to touch with this hymn.

But what does this mean to us today?

The world of Frances was totally different from ours, yet the God whom she loved is the same God we love. When we listen to the youth sing Chris Tomlin’s version and the adults sing the hymn version we can note some observations on the tempo, the volume, the passion, the musicians involved and all the musical qualities we can think of. But is the call of action different?

I want to go back to the story of Mary. When Angel Gabriel visited her, she was shocked to learn why of all people she was chosen to bear the Son of God. She had questions. She had doubts. But she responded in great humility. She was not sure about the implications of her response to the call but she gave her all in order that the scriptures will be fulfilled.

The world of Mary was different from Frances Havergel’s. The worlds of Mary and Frances are totally different from ours. Ours is “super busy and a harsh one”. Before we can say yes, we had better know what we are getting into or in the end find ourselves under stress.

The call to surrender “all of me” brings us to self-examination and reflection on what it means to “present ourselves as a living sacrifice”. What does this mean in the light of missions? In light of working with the youth or being a cell group leader? ere is nothing better than focusing on Christ’s life and ministry.

By His example, we are led to seek conformity to His ways and teachings.

We probably want to take a little more time to think about this. As I am writing, I too am struggling. I can sing switching tune from Chris Tomlin to the hymn version repeatedly for as long as I want but at this point I need to pause and think through the implications of what it means to sing an “action song”. It takes time, willingness to commit and intentionality on our part. As we think through, we pray for God to grant us grace and wisdom to understand what it means to collaborate with Him so that we can, with all our heart, mind and soul, say “Here I am, all of me, take my life, all of me.”

Judith Mosomos is a Lecturer in Church Music at the Methodist School of Music.


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