#517 My Faith Looks Up to Thee

Words by Ray Palmer, 1830 (1808-1887)

Music by Lowell Mason, 1832 (1792-1872)


My faith looks up to thee,

thou Lamb of Calvary,

Savior divine;

Now hear me while I pray,

take all my guilt away,

O let me from this day

be wholly Thine.


May thy rich grace impart

strength to my fainting heart,

my zeal inspire!

As thou hast died for me,

O may my love to thee

pure, warm, and changeless be,

a living fire!


While life's dark maze I tread,

and griefs around me spread,

be thou my guide;

bid darkness turn to day,

wipe sorrow's tears away,

nor let me ever stray

from Thee aside.


    Born on November 12, 1808, at Little Compton, Rhode Island, Ray Palmer attended Phillips Andover Academy (where he and Oliver Wendell Holmes were classmates) and Yale University. After Yale, he taught at a young ladies’ school in New York, then at a girls’ college in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1835, Palmer was ordained as a Congregational minister, and pastored in Bath, Maine, and Albany, New York, serving 15 years at each location. Around 1865, he became Secretary of the Congregational Union. Palmer retired in 1878.


Palmer wrote this hymn in 1830. He wrote it for himself, privately, with no thought of having it published. “I gave form to what I felt in these stanzas.... I recollect I wrote them with very tender emotion, and ended the last line with tears.” He carried the hymn around with him in his pocket for many years.


One day Lowell Mason asked him if he had anything that might be used in a new hymnal. Palmer produced the worn piece of paper. Mason immediately recognized its value, and within a few days had composed the tune, OLIVET, to match these words. Mason told a friend that whatever else Palmer might accomplish in a long life, it was this hymn that he would be remembered for. Time has proved Mason right.


His hymns include:



   1. And Is There, Lord, a Rest?

   2. Away from Earth My Spirit Turns

   3. Before Thy Throne with Tearful Eyes

   4. Behold the Shade of Night Is Now Receding

   5. Come, Ho­ly Ghost, in Love

   6. Come, Jesus, Redeemer, Abide Thou with Me

   7. Eternal Father, Thou Hast Said

   8. Fount of Everlasting Love

   9. Ho­ly Ghost, That Promised Came

  10. I Give My Heart to Thee

  11. Jesus, Lamb of God, for Me

  12. Jesus, My Heart with­in Me Burns

  13. Jesus, These Eyes Have Never Seen

  14. Jesus, Thou Joy of Lov­ing Hearts

  15. Lord, My Weak Thought in Vain Would Climb

  16. Lord, Thou Hast Taught Our Hearts to Glow

  17. Lord, Thou on Earth Didst Love Thine Own

  18. Lord, Thou Wilt Bring the Joy­ful Day

  19. Lord, when My Soul Her Se­crets Doth Re­veal

  20. Mid Evening Sha­dows Let us All Be Wak­ing

  21. My Faith Looks Up to Thee

  22. O Christ Our King, Cre­at­or, Lord

  23. O Christ, the Lord of Heav­en, to Thee

  24. O Ho­ly Comforter, I Hear

  25. O Jesus, Sweet the Tears I Shed

  26. O Sweetly Breathe the Lyres Above

  27. Stealing from the World Away

  28. Take Me, O My Father, Take Me

  29. Thou, Savior, from Thy Throne on High

  30. Thine Holy Day’s Returning

  31. Thou Who Roll’st the Year Around

  32. Thy Father’s House! Thine Own Bright Home

  33. Thy Ho­ly Day’s Returning

  34. Wake Thee, O Zion

  35. We Stand in Deep Repentance

  36. When Downward to the Darksome Tomb

  37. When Inward Turns My Searching Gaze

  38. With Thine Own Pity, Savior, See

  39. Wouldst Thu Eternal Life Obtain


Ray Palmer died March 29, 1887, at Newark, New Jersey.