The Pen Project Volume 1 Issue 2 - Page 92

just a closer walk with thee Verse 1 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 Chorus 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 Verse 2 Thro' 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 Verse 3 When my feeble life is o'er Time for me will be no more Guide me gently safely o'er To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore author unkown Behind the Song by Diana Leagh Matthews Just A Closer Walk with Thee was considered one of the favorite southern gospel hymns of the 20th Century. However, its origins remain a mystery. The song gained national popularity in the 1930s, when African American churches sung it at musical conventions. By the 1940s, the hymn was featured at all night gospel singing rallies. The first known recording was made on October 8, 1941 by the Selah Jubilee Singers. The widely held belief is that song predates the Civil War. Some personal African American histories recall “slaves singing as they worked in the fields a song about walking by the Lord’s side.” In 1885, “Closer Walk with Thee“, which had a similar chorus, was published. Some music historians refer to this song as a folk song. The lyrics to “Closer Walk with Thee” was tributed to Martha J. Lankton and music by William Kirkpatrick. The song was passed down from generation to generation until it found a national audience in the 1930s. In 1940, Kenneth Morris arranged and published the well-known version for the first time. He heard a performance in Kansas City by gospel musicians, Robert Anderson and R. L. Knowles. Mr. Morris arranged the music and added some lyrics for the version we know today. Bernice Johnson Reagan states in her book, that Mr. Morris researched the song and determined it had not been published and had his version printed for the first time. The hymn has been translated into numerous languages and recorded hundreds of times by numerous artists over the years. Elvis Presley set sales records in 1956 with the hymn. The hymn is considered to be one of the most requested songs at funerals. The title and lyrics of the song allude to the Biblical passage from 2 Corinthians 5:7 which states, “We walk by faith, not by sight. The song became popular during World War II. The words supply a message found in both the Old and New Testaments. The song gives hope for the weak in the strength of Jesus, when asking him to walk closely through this trial. What gives you strength through trials? 92