O Lord, Thy boundless love to me

O Lord, Thy boundless love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare;
Oh, knit my thankful heart to Thee,
And reign without a rival there;
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am;
Lord, with Thy love my heart inflame.
Oh, grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell but Thy pure love alone;
Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown;
All coldness from my heart remove;
May every act, word, thought, be love.
O Love, how cheering is Thy ray,
All pain before Thy presence flies;
Care, anguish, sorrow, melt away,
Where’er Thy healing beams arise;
Lord Jesus, nothing may I see,
And naught desire, or seek, but Thee.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

Paul Gerhardt was born at Grafenhienchen, Saxony in 1606. In his young adult life, his best and strongest years, (during the 30 Year’s War), he was without a parish and without a home; a wondering preacher going from place to place.

After the peace of Westphalia, he settled in the little village of Mittenwalde at the age of 44. Four years later he married and moved to a Berlin church. While living there, his wife and four of his children died. He was deposed from the ministry because his Lutheran doctrine offended the Elector Frederick. He finally retired as simple arch-deacon to a small parish in Lubben, where he preached and labored suffering among a rough and uncongenial people until his death, January 16, 1676.

Through all those years of trials he was pouring forth his soul writing hymns. In all he wrote over 125 hymns—every one of them a comfort to others as well as to himself.

He became a favorite hymn-writer of the German people. Among the hymns is one we recognize today in English:

Since Jesus is my Friend,

Thee, O Immanuel, we praise,

All my heart this night rejoices,

How shall I meet Thee,

—He also translated by himself into German the hymn by Bernard Clairvaux (in English translated by James W. Alexander), which has become a favorite and is in many of today’s Christian hymnals:

Oh sacred head now wounded,

With grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded

With thorns, Thine only crown. (stanza1)

The Story of Hymns and Tunes - Brown & Butterworth.

Nelson K

Sydney, Australia

"Lord Jesus, nothing may I see,

And naught desire, or seek, but Thee."

Miriam Zoodsma

Hudsonville, MI, United States

What a wonderful grasp of God's love this author had, and how it must have transformed his living. Lord, grant this to your followers today! Almost 400 years after this was written it is still the cry of this Believer's heart.

What a blessed song.

Toyin Diyan

London, United Kingdom

Lord Jesus knit my thankful heart to Thee and reign without a rival there. Amen.

Tita Copuyoc

Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Thank you Steve Miller for sharing the poem/prayer of Paul Gerhardt. He truly was imbued with love for God. His poem/prayer is inspiring, sublime and uplifting. Does he have other poems/prayers? I found a beautiful prayer in a Missalette for a Sunday Mass at St Joseph Church, Hawthorne California in August 1979. I will share it: KNIT MY SOUL TO THEE, Let Your Love possess my whole being - my senses, my affections, my very life. Let It rule my work, my rest, my going and my staying. Let It comfort or afflict me, humble or exalt me, consuming my imperfections. God of Love, draw me into Thyself. Nothing shall terrify me! Confidently do I ask since Your longing to give is greater than mine to receive. Transform me into Thyself; that I may no longer know myself nor find myself but in Thee. Amen.

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Many have noted a similarity between secular love songs and Christian songs about love for God. It is interesting that Paul Gerhardt wrote this hymn near the time of his marriage to a woman he had long loved. He was a theologian with strong convictions, a student and teacher whose plans had long been frustrated by the 30 Years' War. As a young man he had passionately argued the finer points of Lutheran theology, but with age he had mellowed. His passion turned to the overwhelming love of God. At 45, he found a steady job in a small village, married his sweetheart, and began publishing his hymns.

Nearly a century later, John Wesley heard Moravians singing this song in German as he sailed with them to America. Impressed by the rich hymns of the Moravians and by their deep personal devotion, Wesley translated many of their hymns [including this one] into English. - Great Songs of Faith by Brown and Norton


The original first line starts with "Jesus" instead of "O Lord".

Another version of the song has the last 2 lines of the 1st stanza as:

To Thee alone, dear Lord, I live;

Myself to Thee, dear Lord, I give.


There are additional stanzas after the 1st 3 above:

4. This love unwearied I pursue

And dauntlessly to Thee aspire.

Oh, may Thy love my hope renew

Burn in my soul like heavenly fire!

And day and night be all my care

To guard this sacred treasure there.


5. My Savior, Thou Thy love to me

In shame, in want, in pain, hast showed;

For me, on the accursed tree,

Thou pourest forth Thy guiltless blood;

Thy wounds upon my heart impress,

Nor aught shall the loved stamp efface.


6. More hard than marble is my heart,

And foul with sins of deepest stain;

But Thou the mighty Savior art,

Nor flowed thy cleansing blood in vain;

Ah soften, melt this rock, and may

Thy blood wash all these stains away!


7. O that I, as a little child,

May follow Thee, and never rest

Till sweetly Thou hast breathed Thy mild

And lowly mind into my breast!

Nor ever may we parted be,

Till I become as one with Thee.


8. Still let Thy love point out my way;

How wondrous things Thy love hath wrought!

Still lead me, lest I go astray;

Direct my word, inspire my thought;

And if I fall, soon may I hear

Thy voice, and know that love is near.


9. In suffering be Thy love my peace,

In weakness be Thy love my power;

And when the storms of life shall cease,

Jesus, in that important hour,

In death as life be Thou my guide,

And save me, who for me hast died.

Nobule Beauty Mcetywa

Jhb, Gauteng, South Africa

O Lord, Thy boundless love me....No thought can reach, no tongue can declare! I'm so touched by these words.