Be Thou My Vision: An Interpretation

One of my theology teachers once told me that his lecturer would kick start their history class by singing an old hymn.

He was so impressed by it, that he borrowed the idea. Consequently, our history lessons began the same way.

And as one does, I figured we could do the same. Singing just the lyrics.

The song choice wasn’t hard. ‘Be Thou My Vision’ has been on the top of my list since the late 90’s. Where I encountered an appreciation for it from my boss, an 84 year old Scottish lady named Irene, who also happened to like some of the more modern heavier stuff I’d recommend to her. Our kids also like the song, so I decided to spend a few hours putting together my own version of it.

As a song, the melody lends itself to almost any beat. As a prayer, it stands alone in its category.


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 breastplate, my sword for the fight,
Be Thou my armor and be Thou my might.
Thou my soul shelter, and Thou my high tower,
Raise Thou me heavenwards, oh power of my power.

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 are

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 [i]


[i] Circa. 8th Century, author unknown. Trans. Mary Byrne, 1905; Eleanor Hull, 1912

Arrangement and image are mine.


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