The Story Behind “Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Thou art the potter; I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after Thy will.

While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Search me and try me, Master, today!

Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,

As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!

Power, all power, surely is Thine!

Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!

Hold o’er my being absolute sway!

Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see

Christ only, always, living in me!

Adelaide Addison Pollard (1862-1934)


At forty, Adelaide Pollard was trying unsuccessfully to raise support to go to Africa as a missionary. She wondered why the Lord could so burden her with the needs of Africa, but not make it possible for her to go. During this time of discouragement, she attended a small prayer meeting where an elderly woman prayed, “Lord, it doesn’t matter what You bring into our lives, just have Your way with us.”

That night Pollard went home and read the story of Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house, and later that evening she wrote this hymn. She said that she had always felt the Lord was molding her and preparing her for His service. Then all of a sudden, He seemed to have deserted her.

“Perhaps,” she reasoned, “my questioning of God’s will shows a flaw in my life. So God decided to break me, as the potter broke the defective vessel, and then to mold my life again in His own pattern.”

From “The One Year Book Of Hymns: 365 Devotional Readings Based On Great Hymns Of The Faith”, by Robert K Brown and Mark R. Norton


The Story Behind “He Touched Me”

Bill Gaither longed to serve the Lord in full-time music ministry, but when he graduated from college the doors didn’t open. Instead he found a job teaching English. In 1962 he married Gloria Sickal, a fellow teacher (Bill taught English, and Gloria taught both English and French). Their evenings and weekends were spent collaborating on songs. One of them would make a comment like “There ought to be a song that says…,” and they would write a song on that topic, crank it out on an old mimeograph machine, and hand the copies out at Wednesday night choir rehearsal.

During those days Dr. Dale Oldham was a beloved preacher in the area. His son, Doug Oldham, a gifted musician, helped his father in his meetings. When Doug’s life fell apart, he started attending the same church the Gaithers attended. Doug had lost his family and fallen into a depression so deep he had contemplated killing himself. Realizing that he had brought all his troubles upon himself, he began reaching out to the Lord for help. Little by little, he traded his bad habits for holiness and healing. He was able to put his life–and his family–back together.

Eventually Doug began helping his father again, providing music when Dr. Dale preached. One Saturday night in 1963, as Bill, Doug, and Dale returned home from an evangelistic service they talked about how wonderfully the Lord can touch and heal a person’s life. Dr. Dale looked over at Bill and said, “Bill there’s something special about that word touch. You ought to write a song about how God touches lives.”

By the next morning, Bill had scrawled out the lyrics to two verses and the chorus and had composed a simple melody. The following Tuesday before another of Dr. Dale’s revival services, Bill handed Doug a copy of the handwritten song and said, “Let’s see if we can sing this one tonight.”

Doug became the first to record the song in 1964, and soon it was being recorded by the greatest names in the music industry (including Elvis Presley), and congregations around the world are still testifying through song: “…the hand of Jesus touched me, and now I am no longer the same.”

From “Then Sings My Soul: The Story Of Our Songs”, Book 3, by Robert J. Morgan