The Story Behind Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
The author of this popular hymn is William Williams (1717-1791), born in Wales, to John and Dorothy Williams. According to Welsh hymn scholar Alan Luff, Williams grew up as an Independent and later a Calvinist, but had no intentions to be a minister.
In 1744, after being accused of various misdemeanors against the Church of England, Williams devoted himself to Methodism. The hymn text was written soon after this in 1745. While it is still a mystery as to why Williams began composing hymn-texts in his native tongue, United Methodist Hymnal editor Dr. Carlton Young states that he became known as the most famous hymn writer of Welsh Methodism. Elements of the hardship Williams experienced as a traveling minister can be found throughout “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.”
Williams beautifully uses imagery from the Old Testament book of Exodus to conjure a theme of God’s guidance through struggle. One of the reasons this hymn has influenced such a broad array of congregants is the universal subject of hardship.
Popular Hymn Lyrics with Story and Meaning
Day by Day and With Each Passing Moment
Jesus Loves Me
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Nearer My God to Thee
Abide with Me
His Eye is On the Sparrow
Be Thou My Vision