Give Tongues of Fire and Hearts of Love

May 24, 2009

An early portrait of Isaac Watts.

Here’s a great missionary hymn (one source called it one of the greatest ever written) by Isaac Watts (1674-1748). I should add that it is entirely new to me. Watts wrote many hymns, most notably “Joy to the World,” “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed,” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

On this Lord’s Day, as pastors around the world rise to preach the Word, here is a hymn that might well be turned into a prayer. Let me ask the same question I asked last Sunday: Have you prayed for your pastor today?

I have highlighted the second verse because it so deeply expresses the need and desire of my own heart as I prepare to preach later today.


O Spirit of the living God,
in all the fullness of thy grace,
where’er the foot of man hath trod,
descend on our apostate race.

Give tongues of fire and hearts of love,
to preach the reconciling word;
give power and unction from above,
whene’er the joyful sound is heard.

Be darkness, at thy coming, light;
confusion, order in thy path;
souls without strength inspire with might,
bid mercy triumph over wrath.

Baptize the nations; far and nigh
the triumph of the cross record;
the Name of Jesus glorify,
till every kindred call him Lord. 

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?