"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."
—Text: African American spiritual
Teachers of creative writing often say that the first line sets the tone and essence of any work. This spiritual manages to capture the whole of the Christian message in the first three words: “I want Jesus.” The singers employ a repetition at the beginning and end, thereby stressing that only one thing is important, and that is to want Jesus. This spiritual is at once a song, a poem, and a prayer. The brevity in the song shows the pain of the singer and the singer’s trust in God.
One of the greatest signs of discipleship is the desire that Jesus journey with us. This spiritual may well have grown out of the Good Friday observances practiced by the early Christian missionaries or followers. In those days, the Lenten celebrations were more elaborate in some religions and the slaves might have seen reenactments of Jesus’ passion. They wanted Jesus to walk with them because they identified with him and believed that he could understand them. Another sign of discipleship is the desire to have Jesus be present with us in our pain. Note the maturity of faith: the plea is not to have Jesus take the pain away, but to have Jesus walk with them.
—Commentary from "Sing the Faith: Spirituals," Mark Bozzuti-Jones (Augsburg Fortress, 2002).
This popular spiritual is available for instant download in Prelude in many forms. As a reminder, hymnal versions do not carry a point value, thus freeing up your Prelude points for additional music purchases.
Grace and peace to you and your music ministry this Lenten season.