In 2001, Merle Haggard released an album of gospel songs called Cabin in the Hills. It features a mix of original Merle Haggard songs and traditional ballads arranged by the country legend himself – this includes “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
The song was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, who is widely regarded as the father of gospel music. He wrote “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” in 1932 following the death of his wife Nettie while giving birth to their first child – a baby boy who also died shortly thereafter.
Lost in grief after burying his wife and son in the same casket, he sat down at the piano, and his hands started to browse the keys. It was then that “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” came to life, which sings about a man asking the Lord for his compassion and grace as he lifts out his despair and heartache.
It has since become one of the most recorded gospel songs ever.
Merle Haggard’s Take On One Of The Best-Known Songs In The Gospel Canon
While Merle Haggard had a reputation as a tough guy, he sounds vulnerable as he pleads for the Lord to lead him on through the storm. He’s tired, weak, and alone. He’s a suffering soul that is reaching out for the hand of Christ.
It’s without a doubt one of the songs Haggard can relate to the most – most especially when illnesses like cancer caused his health to decline over the last decade, making him draw closer to God.
You can listen to “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by Merle Haggard in the video below. Truly, the combination of the powerful words and his emotional delivery of the song will remind you that no matter what troubles you encounter, the Lord has always been and will always be with you.