This is the second installment of what I'm calling Vintage Worship (here is the first one). It starts with researching an old hymn, looking into the life of the composer, the inspiration and story behind the hymn. Then, in worship I present my discovery to the church. We sing the hymn (usually a contemporary version) and pair it with newer songs of similar themes. The idea is to give worshipers a sense of connectedness to the rich history of the church.

I've shared in a previous post the prelude to Frances Havergal's Book of poetry called The Ministry Of Song. I love her poetry and have looked high and low for a copy of this book. (Big prize for anyone who finds it for me.) She is probably best known for her hymn "Take My Life." Havergal wrote the song on February 4, 1874. Here is the story of the hymn in her own words:

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."

In years following, Frances pondered the words, "Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King." She felt she should give up her secular concerts, despite the demand of her beautiful voice, having frequently sung with the Philharmonic. But from that moment, her lips were exclusively devoted to the songs of the Lord.

Her prayer, “Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold,” was lived out, as Havergal explains in a letter to a friend in August 1878.

The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. “Take my silver and my gold” now means shipping off all my ornaments to the church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me... Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure!

The music traditionally used for the hymn was written by Cesar Malan years prior in 1823. The version I use in worship is a modified version of the one arranged by Passion. Here is the poem in its entirety:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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