Sunday, 9 October 2011

The prayer oft mixed with tears

This is a hymn by Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871), whose better-known hymn is 'Just as I am'. This seems to have once been very popular, though I've never myself heard it sung in a church (unlike 'Just as I am'!). Charlotte Elliot was an invalid, and if this account is to be believed, struggled with a feeling that her physical weakness made her useless in the service of God. I'm sure the popularity of this hymn, and certainly of her more famous one, stems from how honestly she confronts this struggle, not denying exactly how difficult it is to say "Thy will be done." It almost comes through gritted teeth.

My God, my Father, while I stray
Far from my home, on life's rough way,
O teach me from my heart to say,
Thy will be done!

Though dark my path, and sad my lot,
Let me be still and murmur not,
Or breathe the prayer divinely taught,
Thy will be done!

What though in lonely grief I sigh
For friends beloved, no longer nigh,
Submissive still would I reply,
Thy will be done!

If Thou shoulds't call me to resign
What most I prize, it ne'er was mine:
I only yield thee what is thine;
Thy will be done!

Let but my fainting heart be blest
With thy sweet Spirit for its guest,
My God, to thee I leave the rest;
Thy will be done!

Renew my will from day to day;
Blend it with thine, and take away
All that now makes it hard to say,
Thy will be done!

Then, when on earth I breathe no more
The prayer oft mixed with tears before,
I'll sing upon a happier shore,
Thy will be done!

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