Keep My Life: A Prayer of Full Devotion

“Take my life!” [“and let it be consecrated, Lord, for Thee”]. We have said it or sung it before the Lord, it may be many times; but if it were only once wispered in His ear with full purpose of heart, should we not believe that He heard it?…

An offered gift must be either accepted or refused. Can He have refused it when He has said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”?[John 6:37] If not, then it must have been accepted. It is just the same process as when we came to Him first of all, with the intolerable burden of our sins. There was no help for it but to come with them to Him, and take His word for it that He would not and did not cast us out. And so coming, so believing, we found rest to our souls; we found that His word was true, and that His taking away our sins was a reality.[Matt 11:30; 1 Pet. 2:24]

Some give their lives to Him then and there, and go forth to live henceforth not at all unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them.[2 Cor. 5:15] This is as it should be, for conversion and consecration ought to be simultaneous. But practically it is not very often so, except with those in whom the bringing out of darkness into marvelous light has been sudden and dazzling, and full of deepest contrasts.[1 Pet. 2:9] More frequently the work resembles the case of the Hebrew servant described in Exodus chapter 21, who, after six years’ experience of a good master’s service, dedicates himself voluntarily, unreservedly, and irrevocably to it, saying “I love my master; I will not go free”; the master then accepting and sealing him to life-long service, free in law yet bound in love. This seems to be a figure of later consecration founded on experience and love…

“Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”

…Consecration is not so much a step as a course; not so much an act as a position to which a course of action inseparably belongs. In so far as it is a course and a position, there must naturally be a definite entrance upon it, and a time, it may be a moment, when that entrance is made. That is when we say, “Take”; but we do not want to go on taking a first step over and over again. What we want now is to be maintained in that position, and to fulfil that course. So let us go on to another prayer. Having already said, “Take my life, for I can not give it to Thee” [1], let us now say, with deepened conviction that without Christ we really can do nothing–

“KEEP my life, for I can
not keep it for Thee.”

Let us ask this with the same simple trust to which, in so many other things, He has so liberally and graciously responded. For this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.[ 1 John 5:14,15] There can be no doubt that this petition is according to His will, because it is based upon many a promise. May I give it you just as it floats through my own mind again and again, knowing whom I have believed, and being persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him? [2 Tim. 1:12]

Keep my life, that it may be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Keep my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Keep my hands, that they may move
At the impulse of Thy love.

Keep my feet, that they may be
Swift and ‘beautiful’ for Thee.

Keep my voice, that I may sing
Always, only, for my King.

Keep my lips, that they may be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Keep my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.

Keep my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Keep my wll, 0 keep it Thine;
For it is no longer mine.

Keep my heart; it is Thine own,
It is now Thy royal throne.

Keep my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.

Keep myself, that I may be
Ever. only, ALL for Thee.

Yes! He who is able and willing to take unto Himself [our consecration] is no less able and willing to keep for Himself. Our willing offering has been made by His enabling grace, and this our King has seen with joy. And now we pray, “Keep this [devotion to God] forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Thy people” (1 Chron. 29:17,18)… We have the promise of our faithful God, “I the Lord, do keep it [His vineyard], I will keep it night and day.” [Isaiah 27:3] The only question is, will we trust this promise, or will we not? If we do, we shall find it come true.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the book, “Kept for the Master’s Use,” by Frances Ridley Havergal. Chicago: Moody Press edition. pp.8-14. Bracketed Scripture references added.

“Keep My Life…” an adaptation of her classic hymn, “Take My Life and let it Be” written in 1874. Music by Louis J. Hérold.

[1] i.e., Receive my consecration because I am not able to work it up in my own strength.

“Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879) was an English poet and hymn writer. Began writing verse at age of seven. Her most widely known hymn is “Take My Life and Let It Be.” Also wrote the words for “Like A River Glorious,” “I Gave My Life for Thee,” and “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?” She published several volumes of poems and hymns as well as prose writings.” – http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/biorphavergal.html

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