Tuesday Hymns: “Father, I Know That All My Life”

anna-waring

Anna Letitia Waring was born on April 19, 1823 in Wales to a Quaker family. She was later converted and baptized as an Anglican in 1842. She never married and spent her life visiting the prisoners of Bridewell and Horfield prisons. She described her ministry as “watching by a filthy gutter to pick out a jewel here and there, as the foul stream flows by.” She published a collection of her hymns in 1850, and another collection in 1858. Her most well-known hymn is our Tuesday Hymn for this week, “Father, I Know That All My Life.” (Thank you, John Carroll, for suggesting this hymn)

It is often sung to Charles Steggalls’ tune, Morwellham. Her hymn is a prayer to God, asking Him to equip her to live a life of sacrifice for His glory in all that she does. She died in 1910.

Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
And the changes that are sure to come,
I do not fear to see;
But I ask Thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.

I ask Thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching wise,
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And to wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself,
To soothe and sympathize.

I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child,
And guided where I go.

Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoe’er estate,
I have a fellowship with hearts
To keep and cultivate;
And a work of lowly love to do
For the Lord on whom I wait.

So I ask Thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
And a mind to blend with outward life
While keeping at Thy side;
Content to fill a little space,
If Thou be glorified.

And if some things I do not ask,
In my cup of blessing be,
I would have my spirit filled the more
With grateful love to Thee —
More careful — not to serve Thee much,
But to please Thee perfectly.

There are briers besetting every path,
That call for patient care;
There is a cross in every lot,
And an earnest need for prayer;
But a lowly heart that leans on Thee
Is happy anywhere.

In a service which Thy will appoints,
There are no bonds for me;
For my inmost heart is taught “the truth”
That makes Thy children “free;”
And a life of self–renouncing love,
Is a life of liberty.

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