Take My Hand and Lead Me
&
Take My Hand, Precious Lord
Introduction
• Two songs expressing trust and dependency
on God
• With all the cares, troubles, and fears of the
world around us
– It is comforting to know there is someone on
whom we can absolutely depend
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Someone who is always right
Someone who is always loving
Someone who always knows what to do
Someone who never changes
Someone with absolute power
And that Someone is God
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• The songwriter was James Washington Gaines
– Born in Texas in 1880
• Worked with trios and quartets
– Moved to Tennessee and opened a business
• Died a few years later at the age of 57
– His other hymns include”
• “In That Home of the Soul” (#200)
• “When Jesus Comes” (#653)
• Music - “You Never Mentioned Him To Me” (#598)
– A friend of composer Franklin Eiland, who wrote
the music for “Hold To God’s Unchanging
Hand” (#463) while visiting Gaines’ home in Tx
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• Stanza 1 – Asking God to keep us
– But what is meant by “keep” (the word has more
than 50 definitions)
– Possibilities:
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“To retain in one’s possession”
“To cause to continue on a given course”
“To maintain in a usable condition”
“To prevent from departure”
“To maintain control over”
“To guard, protect”
– All are good possibilities, let’s look at how
“keep” is used in the song
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• “I want to live, dear Lord, for Thee; Oh! keep me every day.
A faithful servant let me be Along life's rugged way.”
• All Christians desire to live for God
– Rom 14:8 – we live to the Lord
– Phil 1:21 – to live is Christ
– Gal 2:20 – Christ lives in me
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• But we need God’s help
– 1 Pet 1:3-5 – kept by the power of God
– Jude 24-25 – keep from stumbling
– So “keep” can mean
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To retain in God’s possession and control
To help us continue on God’s course
To help us be usable by Him and for Him
To help us not to depart
To guard and protect us from danger
• In order to receive that help, we must seek to
be good and faithful servants (Mt 25:21)
– No matter how difficult the road may be
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• Stanza 2 – Asking for God’s protection
– “When Satan would my hopes alarm, Oh! shelter Thou
my soul. Protect me with Thy mighty arm; Thy strength
will keep me whole.”
• Satan is the enemy (1 Pet 5:8)
– “alarm” – “to make fearful”
– Satan wants to make us afraid that we won’t get
what we hope for
– God provides us a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13)
– We need to turn to God for help (Jas 4:7-8)
• He has the strength (Eph 6:10-11)
• He has the ability (Eph 3:20-21)
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• Stanza 3 – Asking for God’s guidance
– “Let me each day Thy Spirit feel; Increase my courage,
Lord, To walk by faith, endowed with zeal, Directed by
Thy word.”
• Some object to “Thy Spirit feel” for fear it sounds
like Pentecostalism
– But the song is not suggesting we “feel” the Spirit
as some kind of external controlling presence
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• We “feel” the Spirit by
– Being filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:15-21)
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By understanding the will of God
By teaching and singing
By praying
By submitting to one another
– Using the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17-18)
• “Directed by Thy word”
– Walking by faith with confidence (2 Cor 5:5-8)
• And unafraid to ask help (Mark 9:24; Lk 17:5)
“Take My Hand and Lead Me”
• Chorus – “Take my hand and lead me, Anywhere you need me;
With Thy Spirit feed me, Till I'm safe at home.”
• Confident in God, feeding on His word
– We should be able to go anywhere to spread His
word
– Until finally we are taken home to heaven
• But what happens to our confidence, when
Satan shakes us and tries to destroy it
– Let’s look at that confidence in the life of
another songwriter and the words of his song
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
• Songwriter: Thomas Andrew Dorsey
– Not Tommy Dorsey – the white jazz player who
became a big band leader behind Frank Sinatra
– Thomas Dorsey was a black jazz player (hence
the confusion) born in 1899 in rural Georgia
– Became a professional jazz pianist at age 12
– Moved to Chicago at 20, played under the name
‘Georgia Tom” playing in Capone’s speakeasies
– At 26 he married Nettie Harper
– At 27 he had a nervous breakdown and was
unable to work for 2 years
• His wife supported them by working in a laundry
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
• His sister-in-law encouraged him to go to church
– Decided to then leave jazz music with its pressure and
the influences around it
– Decided to write gospel music
• His first song was "If You See My Savior, Tell Him That You
Saw Me."
– I was standing by the bedside of a neighbor
Who was bound to cross Jordan's swelling tide
And I asked him if he would do me a favor
And kindly take this message to the other side
If you see my Savior tell Him that you saw me
Ah, and when you saw me I was on my way
When you reach that golden city think about me
And don't forget to tell the Savior what I said
Though you have to make this journey on without me
Oh, that's a debt that sooner or later must be paid
Well, you may see some old friends who may ask about me
Oh, tell them I am coming home someday
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
• In 1932, he was asked to perform in St Louis
– He had to leave his pregnant wife behind in
Chicago
– At the end of the performance, as the crowd
cheered wildly, he was handed a telegram
• “Your wife is dead” is all it said
– He rushed home and found that his wife died
giving birth to their son
• Dorsey later recalled how his emotions swung
between joy and despair
• Later that night his son died, and it became all
despair
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
• Nettie and their son were buried together in a
single casket
• For many days, Thomas refused to see anyone
– He was angry with himself for going to St Louis
– He was angry with God for taking his wife and
son
– He considered quitting the church and going
back to jazz
• When he allowed himself to face people again,
he was nearly overwhelmed and his depression
deepened
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”
• Then a friend took him away from his
apartment and all the people who wanted to
express sympathy
– He was taken to a music school and left in a
room with a piano
– Thomas sat for hours doing nothing but
thinking
– Then as the setting sun shone through the
window, he sat down at the piano and started
playing to express his feelings
• As he played, he thought of words to go with the
music
– “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” (#104)
Conclusion
• No matter our problems, however great or
insurmountable they seem
• God is still with His children and waiting to
take our hand if we will take His and follow
• April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr asked that
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” be sung at that
evening’s rally (it was his favorite song)
– Moments later, he was assassinated
– The song was sung at his funeral
– President Lyndon Baines Johnson then asked
that it be sung at his funeral, which was done 5
years later
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Take My Hand and Lead Me & Take My Hand, Precious Lord