Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Here I am, Lord. Send me.
This was an anthem for me when I was in high school, waiting for my chance to take over the world. I had big dreams and I loved the Lord with all my heart. I earnestly prayed, “Here I am, Lord. Send Me!” I never had dreams of going into the mission field as a full-time missionary, and I always felt that maybe this verse was just for those who did. But God placed on my heart something else when I prayed this verse. It was a desire to obey Him no matter what life had for me.
This article will explore what this verse means in its original context (Scripture), as a prayer, and what it means for us today.
Original Meaning of 'Here I Am, Lord' in Isaiah 6:8
The Prophet Isaiah began his ministry in 739 BC after King Uzziah of Judah died of leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:16-23). The beginning of Isaiah’s ministry as a prophet is recorded in Isaiah 6 as he receives a vision from the Lord. The verse in question records the Lord’s calling of Isaiah and Isaiah receiving that call.
In Isaiah 6:5, there is a parallel to Moses’ commission at the burning bush. Isaiah, like Moses, points out his faults, which would keep him from fulfilling the Lord’s calling. This signifies the consistent human nature in the presence of the divine. Unlike Moses’ protestations to his physical impairment of speech, Isaiah points out his sinful nature and that of the people around him when he came into the presence of the Lord. Here, Isaiah is acutely aware of his sin, the darkness in contrast with the light.
Within the vision, Isaiah is cleansed by a seraph who brings coal from the altar of heaven. It is still hot as even the angel had to use tongs to bring it to Isaiah. It touches Isaiah’s lips so that his “iniquity is taken away” and his “sin purged.”
Once Isaiah’s sin was cleared, God asks, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” God needed to speak to His people, and it was through the prophets in which He did. The will of God — His glory — will always happen. He would speak to His people no matter what. Although He knew that Isaiah’s heart was for Him, He wanted to give Isaiah that choice, that opportunity to say yes, to have his heart fully invested in His truth.
We, too, see Isaiah’s heart for God in his affirmative answer. He answers emphatically and without hesitation. With a heart that was in the presence of the Lord, that was cleansed by the Lord, Isaiah does not reluctantly say that he will go, he says, “Send me!” He is obedient to excitedly wait for the Lord to send him. He is at the will of the Lord, not the other way around.
Here I Am, Lord as a Prayer
I see myself in Isaiah. This has always been an active prayer for me. I’ve always been ready to do God’s will in my life. I knew I’d never become a missionary in a far-off country, nevertheless, I am a missionary. Any person who has professed the name of the Lord for salvation is a missionary.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
I try to pray Isaiah 6:8 before every life transition I am about to enter. I want to be an obedient disciple for the Lord no matter what it might look like. I want my life to be for the Lord and what brings Him the most glory. I want others to know His love and salvation that will fill the never-ending void that is in their hearts, as I know and have the one and only thing that will fill it. I want to be like Isaiah and be ready to say, “Send me!”
Here I Am, Lord Song
The verse found in Isaiah 6:8 has also been set to the tune of a song. Sung in churches, on Christian radio, this song asks the Lord to send us out into the world. If you feel the pull of the Holy Spirit to go into the world to spread the good news of Jesus, give the song a listen. It will fill your heart with joy and give you a renewed sense of purpose. As discussed below, make sure not to take the song's lyrics, or the words of the verse, too lightly. If you ask the Lord to send you, you may not know what that looks like. It may lead you into strange or scary places. It's an important verse, but certainly one we should read soberly and readily.
What Does This Mean for Today?
This isn’t a verse to pray thoughtlessly. Once you pray it, just as the Lord said to Isaiah in chapter 9, He’ll say, “Go.” It is one to say willingly and joyously. The use of “Here I am” reveals purpose. Isaiah was saying he was here on earth for a specific purpose and he wanted that purpose to be the Lord’s. As he immediately followed it with “send me,” he didn’t wait to hear what the Lord would say but wrote a blank check to the Lord, a universal yes to God’s plan for him.
God wanted him to talk to His people who were “ever hearing, but never understanding;” “ever seeing, but never perceiving.” God wanted to make His people see, hear, and know Him so they would be healed, but it would take so much for them to reach that point,
“But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land” (Isaiah 6:13).
Even so, Isaiah still said yes to a seemingly impossible task. So, should we also know that sharing God’s love and good news won’t always be easy, fun, or comfortable. There will be times when it is awkward, hard, and, sometimes, utterly heartbreaking. But as God is always sovereign and constant, we can have faith that we are His and that answering this call is a privilege and honor if we desire it to be so.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun (Psalm 37:4-6).
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Molly Law is the Editor of Christianity.com. She has a Master of Arts in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling UK, where she studied and lived for a year in Scotland. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Professional Writing and a minor in Biblical Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Her editorial career includes Senior Editor of a bimonthly magazine for the American Correctional Association, Editorial Assistant at Luath Press in Edinburgh, and Freelance Journalist for the News Virginian. She enjoys reading 18th-century British Literature, creative writing, and traveling.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.