Songs of the Soul: Just a Closer Walk With Thee

Ever since I was a very small child, I’ve been a passionate person. As an author, my mind is always bubbling over with words that simply spill onto the page. Of course, it’s not just words that spill out of my brain–there are also songs that linger on my lips.

I was raised in the church of Christ in the south. For those of you that don’t know what that means, among other things, we are known for a capella singing. I love nothing more than to lose myself in the beauty of our song services at church.

In a new monthly feature on my blog, I’ll share with you one of my favorite songs. I’ll follow that with a related devotional. If you’d like to suggest a song or topic for a future post, please feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or via my website,

The first song I’d like to share with you is “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Just A Closer Walk With Thee – Anonymous

I am weak, but Thou art strong.
Jesus, keep me from all wrong.
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, dear Lord, close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, this my plea
Daily let it ever be,
Just a closer walk with Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more.
Guide me to that peaceful shore.
Let me walk close to thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee.
Grant it, Jesus, this my plea.
Daily let it ever be,
Just a closer walk with Thee.

Just a Closer Walk With Thee has a long history, with some sources dating it as far back as the Civil War era. Regardless of its origins, most agree that it came to prominence in the 1930s when African-American churches began holding musical conventions. It was first recorded in 1941 by the Selah Jubilee Singers, and has held a strong place in our hearts ever since.

Just a Closer Walk With Thee brings to mind James 4:8: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”

Sometimes, in our daily walk, we feel very isolated and alone. It’s easy to feel beaten down by the world.

I work in a high school, and every day, I see students that are feeling overwhelmed. Some of them are upset about academic pressures. Others are buckling under pressures from athletics (either from their coach or self-imposed). And then there are the students that are struggling with relationship issues.

It’s hard to watch, because you can tell that they all feel terribly isolated. In their minds, in their hearts, in that moment, they are alone. No one can possibly understand.

And we as adults feel that way too, at times.

The song says “I am weak, and Thou art strong.” Man, it’s difficult to give things up and give them over to Jesus, isn’t it? We pride ourself on our independence–on our ability to push through and do things on our own. Sometimes, though, you have to admit that you have a weakness and accept the help of others.

I am so bad about that. The other day, for example, I had a terrible headache. It was positively awful. I was sick at my stomach, I swayed when I stood because it was making me so dizzy–it was bad enough that I went to the school nurse and got my temperature checked just to make sure I wasn’t coming down with anything. I popped Excedrin all day in an attempt to stave off the pain, because I’m a push-through type of person.

It soon became apparent that I was going to have to admit my weakness. I have a wonderful chiropractor, and after school, I found myself in his office. I described my symptoms, and he was able to diagnose me. Minutes after the adjustment, I felt the headache slipping away.

Isn’t that how it always is? We suffer unnecessarily because we are unwilling to let someone else help us shoulder our burden.

I know a lot of people say the phrase “Let go and let God.” Well, I struggle with that, because I firmly believe that the Lord helps those who help themselves. But you know what? Nowhere in that phrase does it say that the Lord won’t help me help myself.

When I left the chiropractor’s office, I was thinking about all of the stressors in my life that contributed to the tension headache that threatened to crush my brain in its vice. I realized that I needed to stop worrying and think about ways to release that tension–to let God help me deal with that pressure.

For me, I realized that I feel my strongest connection with God when I sing. So, I rolled down the car windows, shut off the radio, and sang myself home. By the time I walked through the door, the combination of the chiropractic adjustment and the old hymns had literally lifted the weight from my shoulders and I found myself able to put away the stresses and greet my little family with a genuine smile on my face.

How do you bring yourself closer to God? I’d love to hear from you. Please stop by my blog,, or interact with me on Facebook or Twitter. If you’d like to suggest a song or topic for a future post, please let me know. May the Lord bless you and keep you.


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