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Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

Representative Text

1 Lord, I want to be a Christian
in my heart, in my heart.
Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.
In my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart.

2 Lord, I want to be more loving
in my heart, in my heart.
Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart.
In my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart.

3 Lord, I want to be more holy
in my heart, in my heart.
Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.
In my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart.

4 Lord, I want to be like Jesus
in my heart, in my heart.
Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.
In my heart, in my heart,
Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart.

Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)

Notes

Scripture References: st. 2 = 1 Thess. 3:12 In Negro Slave Songs in the United States (1953), Miles Mark Fisher suggests that this African American spiritual could well have originated in Virginia in the 1750s, based on this story from Hanover, Virginia, 1756: "A black slave asked Presbyterian preacher William Davies, 'I come to you, sir, that you may tell me some good things concerning Jesus Christ and my duty to God, for I am resolved not to live any more as I have done. . . Lord [Sir], I want to be a Christian.'" Apparently the story fits well with the ministry style of Davies in Virginia between 1748 and 1759. Stanza 1 is a prayer expressing the initial desire to become a Christian; the others are prayers for growth in Christian character: to be more loving (st. 2), to be more holy (st. 3), and to be like Jesus (st. 4). Liturgical Use: As a hymn of response to hearing the Word of the Lord–the Word that calls for commitment to become a Christian and challenges all of us to mature in our walk with God: stanzas 2 through 4 can be used separately in the service of confession and forgiveness. Use the entire song as a hymn of encouragement or invitation in evangelistic services. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune

[Lord, I want to be a Christian]

Both text and tune were first published in Folk Songs of the American Negro (1907), compiled by brothers Frederick Work and John W. Work, Jr. (PHH 476). This music is an example of the slow, sustained, long-phrased tune found in a number of African American spirituals. In the manner of many such spi…

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Baptist Hymnal 1991 #489
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
The Cyber Hymnal #4088
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #264
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF, XML)
  • Full Score (PDF)
Worship and Rejoice #457

Instances

Instances (1 - 29 of 29)
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African American Heritage Hymnal #463

TextAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #489

TextFlexscorePage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 2008 #536

TextPage Scan

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #507

Text

Chalice Hymnal #589

Christian Science Hymnal #525

Text InfoTextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Glory to God #729

Hymnal #444

Text

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #323

TextPage Scan

Hymns of Faith #342

Hymns of the Saints #464

Text

Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #387

Text

Lift Every Voice and Sing II #138

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #381

TextPage Scan

Presbyterian Hymnal #372

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #264

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Renew! Songs & Hymns for Blended Worship #145

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #319

Audio

Small Church Music #3843

TextPage Scan

Songs for Life #40

The Covenant Hymnal #345

TextScoreAudio

The Cyber Hymnal #4088

Text

The New Century Hymnal #454

The New National Baptist Hymnal #490

TextAudio

The United Methodist Hymnal #402

TextFlexscorePage Scan

The Worshiping Church #563

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This Far By Faith #234

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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #530

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Worship and Rejoice #457

Include 95 pre-1979 instances
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