MORE LOVE TO THEE, O CHRIST                                              written in 1856

The Story

Elizabeth Payson Prentiss was raised as the youngest daughter in a godly home in Portland, Maine. Her father, Dr. Edward Payson, was a brilliant Bible teacher and a loving father. Her husband, Dr. George Prentiss, was a gifted Presbyterian minister, later became a seminary professor.

She was born in 1818, and was married in 1845.

But, despite Elizabeth’s many blessings, her life was not easy. She suffered from severe headaches and chronic insomnia. One of her children suddenly died, and – a short time later – a second child died. One evening, after putting flowers on the graves of her children, Elizabeth cried out in anguish, “Our home is broken up, our lives wrecked, our hopes shattered, our dreams dissolved. I don’t think I can stand living another moment.” Her husband tried to comfort her, and quietly said to her, “In times like these, God loves is all the more.”

In her room, with a Bible and a hymnal in her hands, Elizabeth sought comfort. She lingered on Sarah Adams’ hymn, “Nearer, My God, To Thee” that had been written several years before. She read it over and over and over again. Then, as she prayed, words came to her: “More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee.”

She died in 1878.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – spend time with God in prayer.

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.

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.

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 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.

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