I’m taking a break from Nehemiah to share the words to a hymn we sang in church on Sunday.  It’s an old hymn that you’ve likely sung many times.  I’m sharing it in writing without the music so you can appreciate what a beautiful prayer it is. 

I researched this hymn in Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan and discovered the words were written in 1882 by William Longstaff, a ‘wealthy Englishman’, as a poem.  It was inspired by the scripture verse 1 Peter 1:16, “Because it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” Musician George C. Stebbins later added the music that made it a song. Following is the inspirational poem that later became a beautiful hymn.

Take time to be holy. Speak oft with the Lord;

Abide in Him always, And feed on His word.

Make friends with God’s children; Help those who are weak,

Forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek.

Take time to be holy.  The world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret With Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus, Like Him thou shalt be;

The friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy. Let Him be thy Guide;

And run not before Him, Whatever betide.

In joy or in sorrow, Still follow thy Lord,

And, looking to Jesus, Still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy. Be calm in thy soul.

Each tho’t and each motive Beneath His control;

Thus led by His Spirit To fountains of love,

Thou soon shalt be fitted For service above.

 Amen, Brother Longstaff!  What a beautiful prayer.