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Pop A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Psalter

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My Faith Looks Up to Thee
Hebrews 12:2
OLIVET  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Ray Palmer, 1808-1887
Musician: Lowell Mason, 1792-1872

  Play Music | MP3 • Click to listen to the music for this hymn.

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour divine!
Now hear me while I pray;
Take all my guilt away;
O let me from this day
Be wholly Thine!

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As Thou hast died for me,
O may my love to Thee
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire.

While life's dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread,
Be Thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside.

When ends life's transient dream,
When death's cold, sullen stream
Shall o'er me roll;
Blest Saviour, then, in love,
Fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above,
A ransomed soul.


One day, in 1832, two men stood outside a store in Boston, Massachusetts. One was Lowell Mason, the other Ray Palmer.

Mason had just returned from Savannah, Georgia where, for the past 16 years, he had been a choir director and bank clerk. Three years later he would be awarded the first degree of Doctor of Music conferred by an American college and would go down in history as one of the all time great hymn-tune composers.

Even now he was one of the busiest men in Boston, directing three choirs and trying to persuade the local Board of Education to put music courses on the city schools curricula. He was also currently compiling material for his new book "Spiritual Songs for Social Worship."

Palmer, just 24 years old, had recently worked in a shoe shop; but was a graduate of Yale University and in another three years was to be ordained to the Congregational ministry.

As the two men chatted on the street Mason tackled Palmer about the possibility of him writing some verses which he, Mason, could set to music for the new book. As it happened Ray Palmer had just the very thing and he pulled a notebook from his pocket.

For 10 years Ray Palmer had burned the candle at both ends, studying for the ministry and working for his keep at the same time. Often he had wondered how long he could go on. Indeed he had been on the point of giving up more than once.

One night, just to comfort himself when he felt down and out, he wrote a poem. No one else had yet seen it but now he opened the notebook and handed it to Lowell Mason.

Mason was immediately impressed and, borrowing a sheet of paper, copied down...

My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour divine!
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
Be wholly thine!

Three more equally moving and inspiring verses followed.

When he had finished Mason turned to Palmer and said, 'Mr. Palmer, you may do many good things but posterity will remember you as the author of "My Faith Looks Up To Thee." That same night, in 1832, Mason set Palmer's first and greatest hymn to music.

Thus a bank clerk and a shoe salesman, who stopped for a chat in Boston, gave the world a hymn and Christians everywhere have been singing it ever since.

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As Thou hast died for me,
O may my love to Thee
Pure, warm and changeless be,
A living fire.


2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

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