was a professor in the School of World Mission at Fuller Theological
Seminary where he taught courses in the history of missions to career
Edwin Orr was born in 1912. His education includes earned doctorates
from universities in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, including the
Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University and the Ed. D. from U.C.L.A.
his many travels, Dr. Orr has visited a hundred and fifty countries,
including the Soviet Union, and has been in two-thirds of the world’s
six hundred major cities.
these numerous life-long accomplishments, J. Edwin Orr will no doubt be
best remembered as author of a simple, revival hymn text—“Cleanse
Orr recalls that he wrote the Cleanse Me text, in 1936, during an
intense movement of the Holy Spirit at the Easter, revival convention in
Ngaruawahia, New Zealand—
some time prior to this Easter campaign, an attitude of unusual
expectancy had been prevalent among these people. Prayer meetings spread
throughout the city with much fervency, and intercession led to
wide-spread confession and reconciliation among the believers. Great
numbers of unconverted students professed faith in Christ. The next
night was given over to exultant testimony, with singing such as one
expects in heaven.
revival news soon spread throughout all of New Zealand. Dr. Orr reports
that as he was leaving New Zealand, four Aborigine girls approached and
sang for him a beautiful Maori Song of Farewell.
Orr was so impressed with the beauty of this Polynesian melody that soon
afterward he wrote new verses to the tune on the back of an envelope.
The text was based on the familiar words of Scripture found in Psalm
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.
campaigns by Dr. Orr throughout Australia in the 1930s and later in
nearly all of the English-speaking world, soon popularized this prayer
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) 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.
(3) O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival, start the work in me.
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessing now, O Lord, I humbly plead.