Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Mahalia Jackson was a revered gospel singer. She had done justice to multiple songs and her faith resonates through her singing. She was often referred to as “The Queen of Gospel” and has become one of the most influential gospel singers in the world. Similarly, Take My Hand, Precious Lord is a gospel song that is revered and celebrated. It would seem like a match made in heaven in this rendition. Mahalia Jackson certainly gives the words life. At her peak, she has been dubbed as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States.”

There are multiple notable performances of this song. In fact, this was Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite song. And, he would often invite Jackson to sing it at civil rights rallies to inspire crowds. Because of this, she earned international recognition as a civil rights activist.

At King’s request, Jackson sang the same melody to his funeral. And to extend the honor, Aretha Franklin sang it at Jackson’s funeral in 1972.

Listen to the amazing rendition here!

Franklin went on to record her version of Precious Lord for her album Amazing Grace.

The Origins

The writer of the song, Thomas A. Dorsey talked about it in length in an interview that he once did.

He talked about the background of the song. Dorsey would narrate about how tragic his wife and first child died. And through grief, he found the melody and the lyrics of this great song. But the melody is extensively drawn from the 1844 hymn tune, “Maitland.”

It was during a mass that he started singing what we know as the lyrics of the song.

The song inspires us to seek the Lord and his guidance in times of trouble and need. It asks us to strengthen our belief in His powers and His intentions for us, for we will get through life with more struggles.  But with the Lord, we can do anything.