Behind the Hymn: Take my life and let it be

Francis Havergal grew up the youngest child of a Church of England minister and hymn writer. She was born around Christmas 1836.

She led an active life, even while dealing with fragile health.

Francis Ridley Havergal

From a young age she would memorize vast portions of the Bible.

She is described as a brilliant pianists and said to have such a lovely voice, that she was often in demand as a soloists. She was also a master of studying languages, including French, Greek, German and Hebrew.

“But she considered all her talents to be only loans from the Lord, to be used in His service. She would not even sing, except sacred music, and for the purpose of winning souls.”

She was a great encourager to help many turn to Christ or seek a deeper spiritual walk. She is said to never write a line of poetry without praying over it.

She wrote Take My Life and Let It Be on February 4, 1874.

She wrote the following account: “I went for a little visit for five days. There 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 I 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!”

The hymn first appeared in the 1876 Songs of Grace and Glory under the heading “2 Sam. 19:30. ‘Yes, let Him take all.'”

for I am the Lord Your God

Four years after writing the hymn, she wrote to a friend “he 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.”

One account recalled, “Sometimes the earnest worker would conduct consecration meetings, and there is an account of one such meeting in particular, at the close of which she gave each person present a card bearing the words of the hymn, and asked them to take the cards home, pray over them, and then, if they could make them their own, sign them on their knees.”

Francis Havergal died at the age of forty-three on June 3, 1879.


Four years after writing Take My Life, the author was still learning lessons from her hymn #songstory Click To Tweet


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