Precious Lord, Take My Hand

for SATB and vocal solo with piano (Difficulty: 3 out of 5)

The Song


Thomas Dorsey was a traveling vaudeville pianist when, in August of 1932, he learned that his pregnant wife was very ill at home in Chicago. By the time Mr. Dorsey arrived from St. Louis to be by his wife’s side, she and his son had both passed away during childbirth. In his deep grief the hours after, Mr. Dorsey was drawn to the old hymn tune “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone” by George Allen. As he played and sang, an adapted melody and original text emerged that is now known as “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” To many of us, it may seem amazing (if not unfathomable) that someone amidst such tragedy could create a song of profound beauty, faith, hope, and healing. 

The Arrangement

Remembering the tale of Mr. Dorsey’s loss, I was drawn to his hymn when empathizing with a community member’s own tragedy.   


While living in Michigan and attending graduate school, I served part-time as a musician at a church near campus. Shortly after I arrived, a high school senior excitedly introduced himself to me because he had just accepted a scholarship to attend my alma mater in Minnesota. He was elated. It was a very sad day, then, when our community learned that this student was killed in a car accident just prior to graduating high school. I arranged “Precious Lord” that night with deepest sympathies to the family and friends of a young person who left us far too soon. 

How to Order

Select "Order .pdf" above and then in the prompted email, send your name, the performing ensemble, and the requested number of copies. A .pdf score will then be emailed to you within 24 hours. If complications or questions arise, please contact the composer/arranger here.

2019 © Matthew J Olson