Seek Ye First

Song title superimposed on a traditional family bible - 1 Seek Ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Allelu, Alleluia. Chorus / canon: Alleluia, Alleluia. Alleluia, Allelu, Alleluia. 2 We(*) shall not live by bread alone But by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Allelu, Alleluia. 3 Ask and it shall be given unto you; Seek and ye shall find Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Allelu, Alleluia. 4 If the Son shall set you free Ye shall be free indeed. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Allelu, Alleluia. 5 Let your light so shine before men That they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. Allelu, Alleluia. 6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and he shall direct your paths. In all your ways, acknowledge him, Hallelu, hallelujah
This  folk-style hymn grew from a worships-song by American evangelical contemporary Christian musician Karen Lafferty (b 1948).   The first part of it was written in 1971 after she did a Bible study at Calvary Chapel on Matthew 6:33 (see the video below for more about this), and  was published in 1972.

The song and is now widely used in Christian churches in many countries, denominations and worship styles.

Originally the song only included one verse and a refrain that may be sung in canon with the verse. Two other verses have been added, based on Matthew 7:7 and 4:4,and are included in many hymnals.   Three more additional verses, based on other scriptural phrases or ideas, have been added to the song, as shown ted below.   The author(s) of these verses and their original publication dates are unknown.

With irregular meter, the tune associated with this song is sometimes called SEEK YE FIRST or even LAFFERTY. It has a 4/4 time signature, and in the key of D, the first few notes are F FG A FE DB, DE F, with accompanying chords D/ F#m / G / D.   A number of slight variations have been applied to the tune, as it has been used in different countries and languages.



Downloads


Complete lyrics, scored for Piano/Vocal/Chords; 2 pages

Examples

Congregation with organ - recorded for a TV show:



Solo singer with backing, professional recording



Children's choir, piano accompaniment - with canon-style chorus:



Singer self-accompanied on guitar:



Traditional choir with piano - showing what can be done with the refrain/canon:

 


Karen Lafferty telling the story of the song, and singing it:

Lyrics

The lyrics of verse 1 are are copyright so cannot be reproduced here. The status of the other verses is unclear. But they are currently available on this website. A rough outline is:

Seek Ye first the kingdom of God
... Allelu, Alleluia.

Chorus / canon:
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Alleluia, Allelu, Alleluia.

2 We(*) shall not live by bread alone ...

3 Ask and it shall be given unto you ...

4 If the Son shall set you free

5 Let your light so shine in the world

6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

(*)  originally "Man shall not live ..." many people have chosen to adapt the song to use more inclusive language as shown.


See also

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