“Be Thou My Vision”

This ancient Celtic tune has been throughout history one the most beloved and sung hymns of the church. This sung prayer is rich with imagery of a high view of Christ, the unequaled treasure of finding Him, and our total surrender to His Kingship. Verse one calls out to Him to be our ‘vision and best thought’ above all else (Colossians 3:1-2); Verse 2 expounds our Wisdom and unity with the Triune God as his adopted sons (Ephesians 1:3-9); Verse 3 tells of the seeking of our Inheritance and true Treasure (1 Peter 1:3-5); and Verse 4 praise to the High King who has won our victory (Revelation 5:13).

“According to mythology, when St. Patrick was a missionary in Ireland in the 5th century, King Logaire of Tara decreed that no one was allowed to light any fires until a pagan festival was begun by the lighting of a fire on Slane Hill. In a move of defiance against this pagan ritual, St. Patrick did light a fire, and, rather than execute him, the king was so impressed by his devotion that he let Patrick continue his missionary work. Three centuries later, a monk named Dallan Forgaill wrote the Irish poem, “Rop tú mo Baile” (“Be Thou my Vision), to remember and honor the faith of St. Patrick. Forgaill was martyred by pirates, but his poetry lived on as a part of the Irish monastic tradition for centuries until, in the early 20th century, Mary Elizabeth Byrne translated the poem into English, and in 1912, Eleanor Hull versified the text into what is now a well-loved hymn and prayer that at every moment of our lives, God would be our vision above all else.” – hymnary.org

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.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s 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 heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

– Words: Augustus M. Toplady (1776); Music: Thomas Hastings (1830) © Public Domain