Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 28: More Love to Thee, O Christ

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I have a Sunday afternoon ritual: After dinner with our family I head upstairs for a nap. But before I partake in some glorious sleep, I like to read just for a few minutes. I usually read a short passage from Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, who is also the author of today's hymn. I've been doing this for a few years now, so I've read through the book a number of times -- in fact I just finished it (again) yesterday, so next week I will probably start all over.

No matter how many times I read Stepping Heavenward, it remains one of my absolute favorite books. It's the fictional journal of a young woman growing up in the mid-1800's as she goes through courtship, marriage, and parenthood. She writes honestly of the struggles that are common to busy moms of any generation and also gives a beautiful look of how to persevere in trials. There are some delightfully funny moments as well. I've written about it before, so please read that post for more information about the book. Obviously, the Bible itself is our ultimate source for God's instructions in a godly life, but I believe this book is a must-read for Christian ladies.

More Love to Thee, O Christ was a favorite hymn before I read Stepping Heavenward, but now it's all the more special to me. So today I'm going to do something a little different. After each verse for the hymn (below), I'm going to include a favorite quote or two from Stepping Heavenward.

We're nearing the end of this 31 Days Series, and I think I've said this a few times already, but today's hymn is definitely in my top 10 list. I will have to go back and count how many times I've said that so far and make my top 10 official (I still have one more this week that I would consider top 10). On Day 31, I would love for you to share your favorite hymn or even a top 10 list, if you want. You can share in the comments or even blog about your favorite. Be sure to give me the link if you do! I'm eager to know your favorites. : )

More Love to Thee, O Christ
Elizabeth Prentiss, 1869

Quotes from Stepping Heavenward
Elizabeth Prentiss, first published in 1869
Barbour Publishing, Inc. edition, 1998

More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea, more love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, more love to thee!
First of all, then, if God should speak to me at this moment and offer to give just one thing and that alone, I should say without hesitation, Love to Thee, O my Master! (161) 
"Are you miserable now?" she asked. 
"Yes, just now I am. I do not mean I have no happiness; I mean that I am in a disheartened mood, weary of going round and round in circles, committing the same sins, uttering the same confessions, and making no advance." 
"My dear," she said after a time, "have you a perfectly distinct, settled view of what Christ is to the human soul?" 
"I do not know. I understand, of course, more or less perfectly that my salvation depends on Him alone; it is His gift." 
"But do you see with equal clearness that your sanctification must be as fully His gift as your salvation is?" 
"No," I said after a little thought, "I have had a feeling He has done His part and now I must do mine." 
"My dear," she said with much tenderness and feeling, "then the first thing you have to do is learn Christ." 
"But how?" 
"On your knees, my child, on your knees!" (170) 
Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now thee alone I seek; give what is best:
This all my prayer shall be, more love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, more love to thee!
I had a busy day before me; the usual Saturday baking and Sunday dinner to oversee, the children's lessons for tomorrow to superintend and hear them repeat, their clean clothes to lay out, and a basket of stockings to mend. My mind was somewhat distracted with these cares, and I found it a little difficult to keep on with my morning devotions in spite of them. But I have learned, at least, to face and fight such distractions instead of running away from them as I used to do. My faith in prayer and resort to it become more and more the foundation of my life. And I believe, with one wiser and better than myself, that nothing but prayer stands between my soul and the best gifts of God; in other words, that I can and shall get what I ask for (294).
Let sorrow do its work, send grief and pain;
Sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain,
When they can sing with me, more love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, more love to thee!
Then, too, I looked at my 'light affliction' and at the 'weight of glory,' side by side, and thanked Him that through the one He had revealed to me the other (326).
Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise;
This be the parting cry my heart shall raise,
This still its prayer shall be, more love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, more love to thee!
And wondrous as it is, how simple is this mystery! To love Christ and to know I love Him -- this is all! (340)


  1. Loved this! I want to reread that book now.

  2. p.s. I can't believe you only have 3 more posts! I am so impressed. I will give some thought to my top ten list. :)

  3. One of my favorite books...which also made this a favorite song...we sang it at my grandmother's funeral, so now, I can't sing it without shedding a few tears.