While studying theology, Dan Schutte wrote "Here I Am, Lord" at the request of a friend who needed a piece of music based on the sixth chapter of Isaiah for an ordination ceremony. The friend gave Schutte, a young Jesuit, only three days in which to compose the lyrics and music score.
At the time his friend asked for a new composition, Schutte says he had the flu and doubted his ability to write a song in such a short period of time. According to Schutte's description, he sat at his desk for two days, staring at a blank sheet of paper, when he began to pray and eventually went on to create the song.
Schutte based "Here I Am, Lord" on the Bible's Isaiah 6:8. He explains the lyrics as a conversation between God and Christians. The lyrics refer to Isaiah's humble, hesitant response to God's call for Isaiah to be a messenger to the people. God responded that Isaiah would receive all he needed to carry out the mission from the blessings of the Lord.
Schutte notes that many individuals claim to have had personal experiences in feeling God's call when they felt inadequate. In his song, Schutte tells the story of how such people are inspired by their beliefs.