The songwriter of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” Civilla Martin, told of a visit to the Doolittles in 1904. She was deeply impressed by the joyful spirit that the Doolittles maintained in spite of severe adversity. Mrs. Martin asked the woman if she ever got discouraged because of her physical condition. Her friend responded: “Mrs. Martin, how can I be discouraged when my heavenly Father watches over each little sparrow and I know He loves and cares for me.” Within just a few minutes Mrs. Martin completed the writing of her new text, which has become a staple of African-American worship services.
The theme of the song is inspired by the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew in the Bible, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26) and “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31).