Behind the Hymn Sunday: Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Adelaide A. Pollard

Adelaide A. Pollard

Have Thine Own Way, Lord was written by Adelaide A. Pollard. Born in 1862 Iowa, she had a gift for writing prose, poetry, hymns and even articles. Her birth name was Sarah, but she strongly disliked the name and changed it to Adelaide. She spent her life in ministry, teaching at schools, working with evangelist and serving in missions overseas. She had a strong interest in foreign missions.

In 1902, she was hoping to go to Africa as a missionary. She was unable to raise the funds, had to cancel things at the last moment and was greatly discouraged.  At prayer service an elderly woman said “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your own way with our lives.” Pollard thought on this and thought about the story of the potter in Jeremiah 18:3, “So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.”

Upon returning home that evening she wrote all four stanzas of her hymn.
George C. Stebbins wrote the music for this hymn. The song was first published in Northfield Hymnal with Alexander’s Supplement in 1907. Later that year the song appeared in two of Ira Sankey’s

George C. Stebbins

George C. Stebbins

hymnals.

Years later Pollard would serve for a time in Africa. She also spent the years of World War I ministering in England. She continued to speak publically the rest of her life. She died on December 20, 1934 in New York City. She was at the train station, waiting to travel to a speaking engagement when she was struck with a seizure and made her trip into glory. She wrote over one hundred hymns during her lifetime. She wanted no recognition for her hymns and signed most of them AAP. Have Thine Own Way Lord is her only hymn still known to be in use today.