Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Karl Digerness is the chief musician at City Church in San Francisco.  I’ve had the opportunity to hangout with Karl a couple of times and he is an all around fantastic musician. Besides contributing to a slew of Red Mountain Music projects he also writes fantastic stuff for his own congregation.  I recently asked him to send me a song he wrote. This is a great example of artful pairing of text and tune.

Karl’s tune also goes great with Bonar’s communion hymn “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
mp3 | leadsheet | info


Spirit of God, descend upon my heart,
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet-ecstasies;
No sudden rending of the veil of clay;
No angel vision, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid us love Thee, God and King?
All Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind;
I see thy cross there teach me to cling;
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame:
The presence of Thy descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

words: George Croly (1854)
music: Karl Digerness, 2006
Used By Permission

5 thoughts on “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

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  1. Thanks for sharing Karl Digerness’s alternate tune for “Spirit of God.” (Today happens to be the 150th anniversary of author George Croly’s death.) All due respect, it’s a good tune, but I’m not sure it’s superior to Morecambe, the traditional melody by Frederick Atkinson. The last line of the latter tune, as it reaches its highest note, fits perfectly the emotional climax of the final line of each stanza of the text.

    If you enjoy reading about our hymns and their authors, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.

    And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at my own, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)

  2. Hi! Is this Karl Digerness also singing on the mp3. Will this song be on the new Digerness CD? When is that CD suppose to be released? Please respond. For His Glory- Matthew Wilson

    1. hey matthew, Karl is working on a CD to release this year sometime under the moniker “City Hymns”. We’ll be posting more about it when it gets closer to release date. thanks for the note.

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