329

Lead Me, Guide Me

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text is an earnest plea for an intimate walk with God, who is asked to lead, guide, and protect the believer. The deeply personal stanzas emphasize that divine guidance is essential because of our lack of strength, our blindness, and Satan's temptations. Only God can lead us on the narrow path and through all the complexities and challenges of earthly life. Like many of the psalms, this text pours out in prayer the yearning of the individual Christian, a prayer that reminds us of these words of the psalmist:
 
Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness;
make thy way plain before my face.
For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only
that makest me dwell in safety.
 
-Psalm 4:8; 5:8 (KJV) as set to music by Samuel S. Wesley (Psalter Hymnal Handbook 206)

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song includes a plea and a prayer seeking God’s leading and care. Those who seek this leading can know that the Holy Spirit always aims to provide just such care for the believer. He not only renews our hearts, but also “leads us into truth, and helps us to pray, stands by us in our need, and makes our obedience fresh and vibrant” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 29).
329

Lead Me, Guide Me

Tune Information

Name
LEAD ME
Key
E♭ Major
Meter
6.6.9 D refrain 4.6.7.6

Recordings

329

Lead Me, Guide Me

Hymn Story/Background

Doris M. Akers wrote both text and tune of this African American gospel hymn in 1953 in Oakland, California. The text is an earnest plea for an intimate walk with God, who is asked to lead, guide, and protect the believer. The deeply personal stanzas emphasize that divine guidance is essential because of our lack of strength, our blindness, and Satan's temptations. Only God can lead us on the narrow path and through all the complexities and challenges of earthly life. Like many of the psalms, this text pours out in prayer the yearning of the individual Christian, a prayer that reminds us of these words of the psalmist:
 
Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness;
make thy way plain before my face.
For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only
that makest me dwell in safety.
 
-Psalm 4:8; 5:8 (KJV) as set to music by Samuel S. Wesley
 
LEAD ME is representative of the first generation of African American gospel music, a generation that began with Thomas Dorsey and includes gospel artists such as Roberta Martin, Lucie Campbell, Kenneth Morris, Theodore Frye, and Doris M. Akers, all of whom delight in improvisational piano accompaniment. Thus the printed notes are intended only as guides to the creativity of singers and accompanists. The piano arrangement by Richard Smallwood from Lift Every Voice and Sing (1981) suggests some additional chords and triplet rhythms, but further improvisation would certainly be appropriate.
 
The unison vocal setting could easily be sung by a congregation or, using a responso­rial pattern, by a congregation on the refrain and one or several soloists on the stanzas.
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

Doris Mae Akers (b. Brookfield, MO, May 21, 1922; d. Minneapolis, MN, July 26, 1995) was affectionately known as "Miss Gospel Music" because she was admired and respected by everyone in the music industry over the years, she had mastered every aspect of gospel music including vocals, keyboards, choir directing, arranging, composing and publishing, she had worked with many of the pioneers of the Golden Age of Gospel Music, she had authored many standard gospel compositions, and she moved freely and successfully in all spheres of gospel music. She had mastered her art completely as a solo artist, composer and producer. Many of her compositions such as "Lead Me and Guide Me", "I Cannot Fail The Lord", "You Can't Beat God Giving", and "Sweet, Sweet Spirit", sold millions for other gospel artists and evangelists. She was interviewed by Lindsay Terry for the book: "Stories Behind 50 Southern Gospel Favorites" and she explained how the hit song "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" was revealed to her during a prayer session with one of her choirs before a church service.
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