This great old gospel song was written by Thomas Andrew Dorsey, the son of a revivalist preacher.
Thomas loved music and began by playing piano in a Vaudeville act while attending the Chicago College of Composition and Arranging. After college, he frequented the jazz clubs, gaining quite a reputation as a talented musician.
In 1921, at the age of 22, Thomas gave his life to Jesus. He quickly left the jazz clubs and began writing Gospel music. He took great effort to circulate his musical scores, but it was three long years before anyone started to notice.
In 1932, while Reverend Dorsey was leading a church service, a man came onto the platform to hand him a telegram; his wife had just died in childbirth and within 24 hours his newborn baby had died also.
“I began to feel that God had done me an injustice,” Thomas later said. “I didn’t want to serve Him anymore or write any more gospel songs.” But a week after that horrible, life changing day, Thomas was sitting alone at a piano, in a friend's music room. When into the room came a heavy peace such as he had never known before. As that peace enveloped him, Thomas felt the urge to play the piano. His fingers found a familiar melody and the words to Precious Lord, Take My Hand began to well up from his heart and to spill out of his mouth. God had given him a song that would not only lift him from despair, but would also change the course of his music career.
“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” has been translated into more than 40 languages and has been recorded by some of the biggest names in Gospel music, including Mahalia Jackson and Elvis Presley.