Text -- Irish Hymn, c. 8th Century * Music -- Irish Melody
Translated by Mary E. Byrne, 1880-1931
Versified by Eleanor H. Hull, 1860-1935

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18

Truly our spiritual vision throughout life is often the difference between success and mediocrity. One is reminded of the classic story of the two shoe salesmen who were sent to a primitive island to determine business potential. The first salesman wired back, "Coming home immediately. No one here wears shoes." The second man responded, "Send a boatload of shoes immediately. The possibilities for shoe sales are unlimited!"

For the Christian, vision is a true awareness of the written and Living Word, in all of His fullness and enabling power. This ancient 8th Century hymn text from Ireland is still meaningful for us today with its expression of a yearning for the presence and leading of God in our lives. The earnest prayer is enhanced by such quaint but tender phrases as "Lord of my heart," "Thy presence my light," "bright heav'n's Sun," and "heart of my own heart". The text states that when we allow God to have first place in our lives, He becomes our treasure; we care no more for the pursuit of riches or "man's empty praise".

The entire Irish poem was first translated into English in 1905 by Mary Byrne, a research worker and writer for the board of Intermediate Education in Dublin, Ireland. Several years later Eleanor Hull, a writer of English history and literature, put the prose into verse form and included it in her book of poems, The Poem Book of the Gael. The melody for this hymn is a traditional Irish tune.

(JMS~ this is another hymn so special to me that the music was included in our wedding prelude *_*)

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight;
Thou my soulís shelter, Thou my high tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O pow'r of my pow'r.

Riches I heed not, nor manís empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heavenís joys, O bright heavenís sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

*For Today*: Matthew 13:44-52; Ephesians 2:13-22; Philippians 3:12

Ask God to give you a vision of some task that you can do for Him that will require your complete reliance upon His enabling power to accomplish it well. Read His Word, and learn to love and keep His law that you might be truly happy.


* Published by Chatto and Windus, Limited -- London, England

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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