The weekly addition to my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth first appeared in the 1930s, with the first known recording in 1941. By the end of the 70s, more than 100 artists had recorded Just a Closer Walk With Thee, including as a duet, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. I haven’t heard that version, but I suspect it would rank as one of my favorites. This hymn is so well-known that I imagine most of us have a version of it that will play in our head that was recorded by some well-known artist. The hymn is the most frequently played one at jazz funerals, though perhaps some will remember it sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Regardless, the lyrics carry a cry of the heart with which many can identify… the longing to walk more closely with Christ, looking to him for strength and deliverance.
Just a closer walk with Thee
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more,
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom, dear Lord, to Thy shore.