O Master, let me walk with Thee,
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear, winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way.
Teach me Thy patience, still with Thee,
In closer, dearer company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live.
Quite a story lies behind this simple, prayerful old hymn. The author, Washington Gladden, was a Congregational pastor in the United States. He served during the post-Civil War period and recognized the seriousness and prevalence of racial and economic injustice. He is considered the Father of the Social Gospel in America. Gladden was an activist who crusaded for reform in industry, commerce and politics on behalf of “the working man”. Some of his contemporaries turned against him because he believed more in “applied Christianity” than “Biblical Christianity”. Members of his own denomination were angry when he criticized them for making a substantial donation to missions, because the money came from a large oil company whose policies he did not respect. It was at a time when he felt the heavy burden of criticism that he sat alone in his church and wrote the above hymn. Omitted from the final, published version was a verse with these lines, expressing Gladden’s hurt reaction to his critics: Help me to bear the sting of spite, The hate of men who hide Thy light. Dr. Charles Richards saw the poem in a magazine and selected the music of H. Percy Smith to accompany it in his book, Christian Praise.recognized the seriousness and prevalence of racial and economic injustice Click To Tweet