Father, I know that all my life
|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 whatso’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.
Very little is known about the author of this hymn, because of her remarkably retiring disposition. She was Anna Laetitia Waring, and was born in Neath, a town of South Wales, in 1820. In 1850 she published her "Hymns and Meditations," and in 1858 she published "Additional Hymns." It is believe that she was a Friend, and that her life was full of suffering and pain. Hymn #305 in the Chinese Hymnal is a translation of this hymn by Watchman Nee.
Detroit, Michigan, United States
stanza 2 - To be watchful to appreciate the marks of grace in others requires that we have "a heart a leisure from itself." - W. H. Griffith Thomas
Hull, United Kingdom
As I came before our Lord in prayer this morning the words, 'I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee' came to my mind. Searching on Google I found the words of this hymn which spoke clearly to my situation. Thank you Jesus.
Salem, OR, United States
Never hearing this hymn before, I was greatly moved to tears singing and praying over it this morning when I "happened" upon it through a word search in the hymns. This fragrant experience uttered by the author is her personal, secret, rewarding experience of Christ deep within and is a good pattern of the heart's contentment in every situation for the Father's glory. Surely if we allow Christ to build up His Body in us His members our heart's experiences will echo this author's heart. May each member have such joy and contentment in the placement and situation in which the Lord places us.
This hymn has eight stanzas. Right is the number of resurrection.
"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."
Like what David said in Psalm 31:15, "My times are in Your hand..." and in Psalm 39:9, "I was dumb; I did not open my mouth; / For You have done this." Matthew 10:30 also says "even the hairs of your head are all numbered."
I was led to this hymn because of a portion of service. On second thought, I was led to this hymn because of the Father who knew I needed some recovery and renewing for my mind during this pivotal time.
I tend to get distracted :( so I ask Thee for a present mind intent on pleasing Thee! Thank You, Abba Father! You really do know your children well :)
Storrs, Connecticut, United States
Anna Laetitia Waring spent a quiet and reserved life dedicated for Christ. She was active in hymn-writing and in visiting the Welch prisons of Bridewell and Bristol. Anna was born in 1823 to Quaker parents Elijah and Deborah Wearing. She converted to the Anglican faith in 1842. A serious student of God‘s word, she taught herself Hebrew in order to read the Old Testament as it was originally written. Her first collection of hymns was published in 1850 when she was 27 years old. She never married but lived a the life of brave devotion to Christ. Her hymns testify of her personal relationship with Christ, one which compelled her to go into the desperate situations of her fellow humans to reach others for Him. Anna worked with the Discharged Prisoner’s Aid Society. She also visited the prisons at Horfield, Bristol for many years. Her friend Mary S. Talbot recorded Anna telling her about the work that “it is like watching by a filthy gutter to pick out a jewel here and there as the foul stream flows by. ”
Rosalind Crone wrote that in the 1800s many prisons were merely training grounds for criminals. Reasons for being admitted to prison included anything from begging or having no visible means of earning a living to actual criminal behavior. Because the poor were so often thrown into prison alongside criminals they learned the trade. Not only were the people in the prison foul but the conditions in which they lived in the prison were horrendous. The British Law Society writes that cats had to be placed into the 6‘ x 9‘ cells so the rats would stop gnawing on prisoners’ feet. No fresh water was available, air could not circulate and prisons were often very dark. This was the type of situation that Anna regularly and voluntarily entered to bring the light of Christ into.
Anna’s poetry shows a woman whose experience of the Lord gave her the courage and perseverance necessary to engage in prison work. In her most popular hymn “Father I know that all my life, ” she wrote:
“I ask Thee for the daily strength to none that ask denied,
And mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side,
Content to fill a little space if Thou be glorified. ”
Anna was content to fill a little space. Although she traveled, she stayed continually in the town where she was born in Neath, Wales. She was content to persevere in her difficult and unrewarded tasks of visiting those in prison. While the work that she did included suffering both viewing it in others and experiencing it herself, Anna had learned the source of true happiness and had found her happiness in Christ and in the hope of the new life to come. She wrote, “happy are they who learn in Thee though patient suffering, teach the secret of enduring strength and praise too deep for speech. Peace that no pleasure from without nor strife within can reach. Safe in the sanctifying grace, almighty to restore borne onward sin and death behind and love and light before. Oh let my soul abound in hope and praise Thee evermore! ”
Because she learned to praise God through all circumstances, Anna had a key to peace. Peace gave her perseverance. She has a testimony of a quiet life lived for Christ. Above all, she shows what walking in the light of heaven looks like. Her writing has a theme of heaven. For example here is her hymn “Heavenly things my soul has seen”
Heavenly things my soul hath seen, things the Holy Spirit shows.
Things in which the heart can lean, when the flesh has no repose;
All was light and life and rest; love was mine and I was blessed.
Every pain I had to bear, proved my Shepherd’s tender care.
Everything I had to do, taught my heart the He was true.
I could choose the way He drawed; I could give my will to God.
Waters still and pastures green; pleasant paths my soul hath seen. ”
Anna passed from her earthly home to her heavenly one in Clifton Bristol on May 10, 1910 at age 87. Her poems came true. She met face-to-face her Savior, her Treasure.
Biography of Anna L. Waring, Christian Poetry and Scripture Devotional.
Pullman, WA, United States
I was led to this song from a comment on the song “If God leads you to walk a way that you know” - what a joy to know God’s heart to be closer drawn to Him:
If God leads you to walk
A way that you know,
It will not benefit you as much as
If He would lead you to take the way
That you do not know.
This forces you to have
Hundreds and thousands of
Conversations with Him,
Resulting in a journey that is an
Between you and Him.
Summarizes my life at every stage !
A great companion in my youth and now some 55 years on.
Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
It’s a soul refreshing and assuring hymn that encourages one to wait on God no matter d situation. God help me wait on u always
Johns Island, SC, United States
This hymn speaks to one of the most difficult challenges in life generally and in this time specifically: to be still and wait on our Lord.