Not only did his heart burn for the souls of men but he was a scholar and student of revival history. He wrote numbers of books on revival—often two a year—on past revivals as well as present ones which he witnessed with his own eyes. He found that revival had its source in two things amongst God’s people: prayer and repentance. For a num-ber of years he worked closely with Chinese revivalist Andrew Gih. He was considered the greatest historian on revival in his generation but he was also a hymn writer. In 1936 when he was in New Zealand attending Revival meetings four Maori girls sang a folk song called, "The Song of Farewell." Orr could not get the tune out of his head to which he put the words of Psalm 139:23-24. He wrote it down on the back of an envelope then printed it in one of his books and today it is sung across the world as Search Me Oh God. It is a powerful revival hymn. A young man once interviewed the old Professor and said to him that he was praying for revival but asked "What else can I do?" Orr immediately responded "You can let it begin with you!" Today’s hymn really does capture this kernel of truth on which Orr so often preached and by which he lived—that revival should, could and would be personal if we would but yield ourselves to God.
Try me, O Saviour, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.
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.
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.
O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival—start the work in me.
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.