Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more.
In the 1700s, a Christian revival known as “The Great Awakening” swept over many parts of the world. In America this involved the preaching of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards; in England it was the open-air evangelism of Whitefield and the Wesley brothers; in Wales it was “the electrifying preaching” of Howell Harris and his convert, William Williams.
Williams was the son of a wealthy farmer, and had graduated from university as a physician. After hearing Harris preach while standing at a gravestone, Williams decided to become a physician of the soul rather than the body. During his 43 years of itinerant ministry, he traveled over 95,000 miles, drawing crowds of 10,000 or more! However, he is best known for his hymns, and has sometimes been called the “Sweet Singer of Wales” and the “Watts of Wales” (referring to Isaac Watts).
Williams lived as a pilgrim, pushing on through all kinds of weather and sometimes being beaten by mobs, as well as cheered by crowds. He followed God’s will for him until his death at age 74.
Many years later, when U.S. President James Garfield was dying from an assassin’s bullet, his wife sang this hymn. Garfield said to his doctor, “Glorious, isn’t it?”
The hymn was also sung at the funeral of England’s Princess Diana.
Perhaps the words of the third verse were most meaningful at such times:
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death and Hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises I will ever give to Thee.
Reference: Robert J. Morgan, “Then Sings My Soul”
S.A. Song Book #578; Section: “The Means of Grace – Prayer”
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah Sung by the choirs and congregation of Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Church, Cardiff – ENJOY