140

I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

Full Text

1 I want Jesus to walk with me;
I want Jesus to walk with me;
all along my pilgrim journey,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

2 In my trials, Lord, walk with me;
in my trials, Lord, walk with me;
when my heart is almost breaking,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

3 When I’m in trouble, Lord, walk with me;
when I’m in trouble, Lord, walk with me;
when my head is bowed in sorrow,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

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Scripture References

140

I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

Introductory/Framing Text

This African-American spiritual is both an affirmation of the singer’s faith in God and a prayer to Jesus for support and comfort. The text is profound in its simple request that Jesus walk alongside us when there is trouble or sorrow.

Assurance

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
He was wounded for our transgressions
and bruised for our iniquities.
Upon him was the chastisement
that makes us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd
and gather the lambs in his arms.
—based on Isaiah 40:11; 53:4-5
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
Alleluia! Amen.
—based on Numbers 6:24-26, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers for services that remember Jesus’ transfiguration.
The pattern provides a suggested text for the opening and closing of each part of
the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
Jesus Christ,
glorified and risen Lord,
though you could have stayed on the mountain,
you chose to descend, knowing the agony that lay ahead to bring our salvation.
We thank you for your redemption, that can be seen even now in
creation . . .
the nations of the world . . .
world leaders . . .
our nation . . .
our community . . .
the church universal . . .
our church . . .
the life of . . .
our own lives . . .
Yet knowing that many in this world
are not willing to acknowledge you as God and Savior,
or are unable to pray,
we offer these prayers on their behalf:
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for our community and those who govern . . .
for the church universal, its mission, and those who minister . . .
for this local congregation and its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
our glorified and risen Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
140

I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

Tune Information

Name
SOJOURNER
Key
c minor
Meter
irregular

Recordings

Musical Suggestion

“I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” is a traditional African-American spiritual. It should be sung simply and with conviction. Spirituals are the roots of gospel music. They came out of the mixture of European and African acculturation. Traditionally, spirituals developed in an oral tradition without any one known composer. They were unaccompanied folk songs with synthesized African melodic and rhythmic practices, not disturbed by instrumentation. Spirituals became artistic forms during the era of Reconstruction and were made famous by the pioneer performances of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. At first, the Fisk Jubilee Singers were unable to appreciate the worth or value of these songs and were reluctant to sing them because they questioned the validity of slave songs. They asked such questions as: How can we or should we be singing songs to the God of our oppressors? Have we not been freed by God? Fortunately for all of us, the spirituals were not abandoned. They are part of a rich heritage.
 
This spiritual can be accompanied by organ and piano or sung a cappella with simple ad-lib drumming on congas or bass drum.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 54)
— Charsie Sawyer

The haunting tune echoes the melancholy content of the text—you can even hear a sob in the third phrase on the descent from the high C. Try a crescendo through the tied notes, and be sure when singing the B natural to make it high and plaintive. Though it can go much slower, on most occasions keep the tempo moderate, feeling the pulse in two. Ideally, sing unaccompanied except for humming by a choir or congregation; have the melody sung by soloist or perhaps by all the women. If more accompaniment is needed, go for a dark touch on the keyboard, whether piano or organ, to suit the gravity of this piece. 
140

I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

Hymn Story/Background

African American spirituals developed among unnamed slaves who sang while they worked. It is very possible that the strong pulse and regular rhythm of “I want Jesus to Walk with Me” helped both the spirit and the physical effort required in performing repetitive physical tasks. 
— Emily Brink
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