Fifteen years after this hymn was written Miss Havergal said about it: ”Yes, ' I gave My life for thee,' is mine, and perhaps it will interest you to hear how nearly it went into the fire instead of nearly all over the world. It was, I think, the very first thing I wrote which could be called a hymn—written when I was a young girl, in 1859. I did not half realize what I was writing about. I was following very far off, always doubting and fearing. I think I had come to Jesus with a trembling faith, but it was a coming ' in the press ' and behind, never seeing his face or feeling sure that he loved me. I scribbled these words in a few minutes on the back of a circular, and then read them over and thought, ' Well, this is not poetry, anyhow; I won't trouble to write this out.' I reached out my hand to put it in the fire, when a sudden impulse made me draw it back, and I put it, crumpled and singed, in my pocket. Soon after I went to see a dear old woman in the almshouse. She began talking to me, as she always did, about her dear Saviour, and I thought I would see if she, a simple old woman, would care for these verses, which I felt sure nobody else would even care to read. I read them to her, and she was so delighted with them that I copied them out and kept them. And now the Master has sent them out in all directions, and I have heard of their being a real blessing to many."
Miss Havergal showed the hymn some time afterward to her father, and he wrote a melody especially for it. But it is the tune which Mr. Bliss composed for it that became popular in America.