Frances Ridley Havergal, “the consecration poet,” was born on December 14, 1836, in Astley, Worcestershire, England. An extraordinarily bright child, Frances began reading and memorizing the Bible by the age of four. At the age of seven she began writing poetry with the encouragement of her father, an Anglican clergyman.
Although Miss Havergal was in frail health throughout her life, she invested much time in studying, writing, and composing. She learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, as well as several modern languages. She also memorized the Psalms, the entire book of Isaiah, and most of the New Testament.
Frances Havergal had a beautiful singing voice and was a talented classical pianist. After experiencing a genuine salvation experience as a teenager, she dedicated her talents to singing and working for her Saviour. She related the following story about her writing of the hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” in 1874:
I went for a little visit of five days (to Areley House). There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted, but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer,Lord, give me all in this house!And He just did. Before I left the house every one had got a blessing. The last night of my visit after I had retired, the governess asked me to go to the two daughters. They were crying, &c.; then and there both of them trusted and rejoiced; it was nearly midnight. 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 withEver, Only, ALL for Thee!
H. A. Cesar Malan, composer of the tune for “Take My Life and Let It Be,” was born July 7, 1787, in Geneva, Switzerland. As a young man, Malan went to Marseilles, France, intending to learn business. Instead, however, he entered the Academy of Geneva to prepare for the ministry. He was ordained as a pastor in the State Reformed Church in 1810. Later he made several evangelistic tours of France, Belgium and Great Britain.
Malan was one of the originators of the hymn movement in the French Reformed Church. Although he wrote over one thousand hymn texts and tunes, he is most remembered for this tune, “Hendon.” The tune was first published in one of Lowell Mason’s hymnals in 1841.
Note: The original text below is arranged differently when sung to the tune “Hendon.”
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow 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 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.
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.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.