1 Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God,
in every part with praise,
that my whole being may proclaim
thy being and thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
nor e'en the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
of praise in every part.
2 Praise in the common words I speak,
life's common looks and tones,
in fellowship enjoyed at home
with my beloved ones,
enduring wrong, reproach, or loss
with sweet and steadfast will,
forgiving freely those who hate,
returning good for ill.
3 So shall each fear, each fret, each care
be turned into a song,
and every winding of the way
the echo shall prolong.
So shall no part of day or night
from sacredness be free,
but all my life, in every step,
be fellowship with thee.
The text's theme is the consecration of all life as a doxology to God–the equivalent in hymn form of the neo-Calvinist concept that all of life is religion. Echoing an emphasis of the Old Testament prophets (see Ps. 50 or Isa. 1), this text affirms that "lip service" or an orthodox heart is not enough; we must live our Christianity in every aspect of our lives each day. That sanctity of life includes the intimate setting of family life and, by extension, the entire family of God, the church (st. 2). Such a holy lifestyle is possible only in communion with God, in "fellowship with thee."
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
The comprehensiveness of this prayer (“my whole being,” stanza 1) arises from a heart that knows the full power of the grace of God that has restored us, “so that with our whole lives we may show that we are thankful to God for his benefits...” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86).
Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 47, Question and Answer 122 professes that believers can aim to “direct all our living—what we think, say, and do—so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.”