Find God in the Life of Frances Ridley Havergal

By  Karen O’Connor:

Frances Ridley Havergal

It’s easy to find God in the life of Frances Ridley Havergal, writer of many beloved hymns.

“Frances was a bright but short lived can­dle in Eng­lish hym­no­dy. She was bap­tized by hym­nist John Ca­wood. She was read­ing by age four, and be­gan writ­ing verse at age se­ven. She learned La­tin, Greek and He­brew, and mem­o­rized the Psalms, the book of Isai­ah, and most of the New Test­a­ment.” (From cyberhymnal.org)

Frances’ words and breath were about the love of God and the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. She lived a simple, quiet life, selling all of her jewelry to devote herself to ministry and writing, and taking no apparent interest in anything that was going on in the world except saving souls for Christ.

Her best loved hymns include: “Take My Life and Let it Be,” “Lord, Speak to Me,” and “Who is On the Lord’s Side.”

She is buried next to her father at Astley Church in Astley, England. The inscription on her tomb says it all. “By her writings in prose and verse she being dead yet speaketh.” She also wrote religious tracts and works for children.

Be inspired by this YouTube video of “Take My Life and Let It Be” and you too will surely find God in the life and hymns of Frances Ridley Havergal.

Familiar with a different version? Here’s that one too:

 ©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  

 

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Finding God in “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

By  Karen O’Connor:

On a tour I followed in the footsteps of Christian hymn composers, including William Williams — who penned “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”.

 

Group sing

My husband and I recently traveled to England and Wales for a tour of the homes, churches, and grave-sites of some of the great Christian hymn composers. Following each visit we were then able to sing one or two of the songs they composed.

One of the most profound experiences occurred as we sat in the living room of Welsh hymnist, William Williams. Finding God in “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” was an easy thing to do, when we reflected on the man’s words and then sang them with all our hearts. Williams, whose sixth generation descendant Cecil Williams and his wife still live in the original homestead, welcomed us and shared the family memorabilia they have on display.

Williams himself is considered the greatest literary figure the eighteenth century has produced in Wales, having written over 90 volumes and hymn collections, many of which are glorious poems that expound his vision and passion for his religious faith.

He was also an astute businessman and an influential and powerful preacher. But for me the most impressive thing about this experience was finding God in “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” as we sang the hymn in the very home where the composer once wrote and lived.

Be inspired by this YouTube video of the Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Church, Cardiff, Wales, singing Williams’ hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah,” with the lyrics on the screen.

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How Do I Find God Again? Carmen Leal Found Him in Music

By Carmen Leal:

Has it been ages since you attended church and wonder, ‘How do I find God again?’ Music was the key for Carmen.

 

Image Courtesy of Anita Peppers

“You have a beautiful voice.  We’d love it if you would sing a special song on Sunday.”

I enjoyed the obvious warmth in the pastor’s words, but the style of music was foreign to me. This was a Presbyterian church with music so different from what I’d known in my Catholic childhood.

Even though I’d only gone back to church to get a free hour of babysitting for my two toddlers each week, I enjoyed the people. If I was going to continue with this church, I should get involved. I decided to ask my pastor brother for song suggestions, since he too was a singer.

“Merrill, I need to sing a song at church, and I don’t know any of this kind of music. Where do I start?”

Merrill’s counsel led me to a small Christian bookstore. I’d never been to a store devoted to Christian books and music, but on a lunch hour from work, I climbed the steps and entered the small store.

The owner, Peter, obviously busy, took time to help me select songs that might fit my voice. He patiently listened as I mentioned various pop artists and songs I enjoyed. From that list, he was able to send me to a tape player and headset so I could hear accompaniment tracks from well-known Christian artists.

For years I had sat in that hard pew at Holy Name Church, whispering with my siblings, making fun of the ritual, and being bored. I had only been there because I had no choice. As soon as I left home, I left the church.  Yet although I thought I had retained nothing from my youth, the music at this new church made me realize I not only remembered words from the past, but now understood them. Like a flickering flame needing only the slightest breeze, the words set to music fanned the embers of belief already in my heart. Songs I listened to had portions of scripture in them, just waiting to be remembered.

For the rest of the week I quietly slipped up the stairs, into the overcrowded shop, and grabbed some cassettes and a player. Artist after artist sang of a God I wanted to know. He seemed more real to me after those few days than He ever had as I was growing up.

On the last day of that fateful week, I listened to Sandi Patti singing a song called, Upon This Rock. My eyes filled with tears. I knew, without really knowing how, that I had to invite Christ into my heart, to become a follower of His.

God is perfect in his choice of timing and location. With strangers surrounding me, and tears cascading, I gave my life to Him. I also knew I wanted to use my gift of music for Him, since it was music that had opened my heart.

I never told Peter what his shop did in my life. Rhema Bookstore was a struggling business, and he probably wanted to give up quite often. I’m sure Peter must sometimes wonder if his work really matters.

Yes, Peter. It does.

Hear Sandy Patti sing Love in Any Language, posted on YouTube by the CCM Music Channel:

You can also find the song Upon this Rock, as an MP3 on Amazon.

Carmen Leal knows first-hand about finding God in the midst of difficult situations. She is the author of nine books including The Twenty-Third Psalm for Caregivers and The Twenty-Third Psalm for Those Who Grieve. Her tenth book, Through a Different Lens: Revealing the Transformative and Spiritual Power in Movies, will be released in the fall of 2013 from The Pilgrim Press. To learn more about Carmen visit ww.carmenleal.com.

Do you yourself wonder, ‘How do I find God again?’ Read more testimonies here at Finding God Daily or visit our sister site: GodTest.com.

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