Serene Sunday

Serene Sunday

Serene Sunday

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Serene SundayIt Means Something to Me

Songs have a way of touching our hearts. Some songs have a way of expressing our thoughts and feelings. Songs are a gift to us. Music is a gift to us. Many songs we are familiar with have a beautiful story behind their conception.

I recently came across a book I’ve owned for quite some time. I must have lent it to my daughter. I was cleaning out the wardrobe in her room and found it there.

Stepping Heavenward, One Woman’s Journey to Godliness by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss.

Elizabeth Prentiss was the author of a song, “More Love to Thee O Christ”.

It has been written that Elizabeth wrote this song after suffering the tragic loss of her newborn then of her four year-old son. In ‘Stepping Heavenward’, it says of Elizabeth and this song, ‘Of her religious character the keynote is struck in her own hymn, “More Love to Thee, O Christ”. That was her ruling passion in life and death. Writing to a young friend from Dorset, in 1873, she says: ‘To love Christ more–this is the deepest need, the constant cry of my soul. Down in the bowling alley, and out in the woods, and on my bed, and out driving, when I am happy and busy, and when I am sad and idle, the whisper keeps going up for more love, more love, more love!” 

After years of service to God and to others, Elizabeth died at the young age of 59. After her death her husband had published ‘The Life and Letters of Elizabeth Prentiss’. In this book he included a preface, a quote from Elizabeth, “Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls.” Additionally, it was told that for weeks, Elizabeth was inconsolable, and in her diary she wrote, “Empty hands, a worn-out, exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has so many sharp experiences.” From this experience and from her broken heart Elizabeth penned this touching poem:

One child and two green graves are mine,

This is God’s gift to me;

A bleeding, fainting, broken heart,

This is my gift to Thee.

She did not share this poem for some time, even to her husband. During her time of grief, Elizabeth studied the life of Jacob and how ‘God met him in a very special way in his moments of sorrow and deepest need’. Elizabeth sought God in prayer to have the same love and devotion through her own experiences. It was in this time she wrote the song that later became part of a great revival of that time.

It was said of her that she was a vibrant, thoughtful, noble woman who loved people and loved God. “More Love to Thee O Christ”, is a noble prayer for one’s heart…one of my favorite songs. It means something to me. Another song that is dear to my heart is ‘Be Thou My Vision O Lord of My Heart’. It means a great deal to me. These songs come out of experience, deep thought and passion from the writer’s mind and hand. They reach into our own hearts answering a call, a similar need we have of our own. To live each day with purpose in every thing we do is the whole of the meaning of our existence. More Love, more vision….more Christ.

More Love to Thee O Christ

More love to Thee, oh Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea
More love, oh Christ, to Thee
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest
Now Thee alone I seek, give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be
More love, oh Christ to Thee
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath whisper Thy praise
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise
Still all my prayer shall be
More love, oh Christ to Thee
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!
More love to Thee, more love to Thee!

Be Thou My Vision O LORD of My Heart

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
be thou my soul’s shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, thou heaven’s bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won;
great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

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