Story behind the song - Search Me O God

Composer James Edwin Orr Writes Search Me O God, also Known as Cleanse Me

Dr. James Edwin Orr (1912-1987) was a well-known Baptist minister, historian, lecturer, author and revivalist. He wrote numerous books and composed a number of hymns. He was one of the original board members of Campus Crusade for Christ. Throughout his lifetime, Dr. Orr traveled to more than 100 countries, spreading the Good News.

During the great New Zealand revivals of 1936, Dr. Orr overheard some Aborigine girls singing a beautiful song, Maori Song of Farewell. The melody of that song stayed with him until following a stirring Easter morning service he put words to it, using Psalm 139:23-24 as his inspiration, and the back of an envelope as his script paper. The hymn Search Me, O God was first published as Cleanse Me in one of Dr. Orr's own books, All You Need. For more than 70 years, it has been considered one of the most beautiful and challenging of all hymns.

Search Me, O God

Search me, O God,
And know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior,
Know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be
Some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin
And set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord,
For cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word,
And make me pure within.
Fill me with fire
Where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire
To magnify Thy Name.

Lord, take my life,
And make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart
With Thy great love divine.
Take all my will,
My passion, self, and pride;
I now surrender, Lord,
In me abide.

O Holy Ghost,
Revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival,
Start the work in me.
Thy Word declares
Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now,
O Lord, I humbly plead.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen



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