Hymn-Praying

This past Sunday I was in the middle of singing one of the worship leader-led hymns with our congregation and found my soul strangely warmed by the presence of the Spirit we call Holy.

I noticed my hands beginning to open up with a gentle gratitude to God. I closed my eyes briefly in hopes of capturing the fullness of the text I was singing, for perhaps the umpteenth time in my Christian life. I knew the hymn, each line holding deep significance for me. Right then and there I realized there was more for me in this hymn than I was able to capture at that moment with my worshipping community. The liturgy moved on, adding on to the hymn for the rest of the service.

I decided to return to the hymn later in the day and simply receive the text once more, praying the words one stanza at a time. I did just that. My soul was refreshed and renewed.

Perhaps something similar has happened to you recently. You’re singing your heart out with your fellow parishoners. You are struck by the words of praise, thankfulness, reflection or petition in one of the songs, hymns, or worship songs. There isn’t much time at that moment to capture the words fully. The worship continues, but the scent of his presence remains.

How about using that hymn later in the day or week to help you receive from the Lord and offer your heart back in worship, this time in your personal prayer closet? A spiritual practice you’re willing to try? If so, here’s the hymn that caught my heart’s attention and the words I returned to pray…may it serve as an encouragement to your soul as well.

Take My Life was written in 1874 by Frances Havergal, a poet, scholar, and deeply passionate lover of Jesus. Simply and sweetly she sang the love of God, and her writing invites us to do likewise. Let the words envelop you as you receive them as a gift of grace, a love letter from Jesus to you, a hymn-prayer from you to him.

Take My Life by Frances Havergal

1 Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.