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O For A Closer Walk With God Hymn Story and Lyrics

O For A Closer Walk With God Hymn History


William Cowper is the author of this hymn, "O for a Closer Walk With God" which he composed in 1769.

The inspiration for this hymn was Genesis 5:24, "And Enock walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Another was Amos 3:3, "Godliness is walking with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for can two walk together except they be agreed?"

This hymn was written during the serious illness of his beloved aunt, Mrs. Unwin. In a letter written following day after composing this song William Cowper says the following:

"She is the chief of blessings I have met within my journey since the Lord was pleased to call me... Her illness has been a sharp trial for me. Oh, that it may have been a sanctified effect, that I may rejoice to surrender up to the Lord my dearest comforts, the moment He may require them... I began to compose the verses yesterday morning before daybreak but fell asleep at the end of the first two lines: When I awakened, the third and fourth were whispered to my heart in a way which I have often experienced."

So was written this hymn that continues to bless us all in our walk with God.


William Cowper was a great friend of another famous musician of his time, John Newton. They struck their relationship when Cowper moved to the village of Olney. 

They collaborated in producing, "Olney Hymns Hymnal",  with Cowper producing sixty-seven of the 349 hymns and the remainder came from Newton.

They usually met at his aunt, Mrs. Unwin place to work on their hymns when he was in Olney.

William Cowper


O For A Closer Walk With God Hymn Lyrics


O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus, and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest;
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

For more stories and lyrics visit Popular and Old Hymns Histories.

Below is a video featuring this song.



Another Note:

William Cowper was a very complex being who suffered from depression for most of his life. It is said that at one point he almost committed suicide. Yet he desired to bless others with these beautiful songs that continue to bless us. God uses weak human beings as his vessel. He does not need perfect beings.

I think you will also be super interested in the following hymns:

When We Walk With The Lord

Be Still For The Presence of The Lord

Master The Tempest Is Raging

There Shall Be Showers Of Blessing

How Deep the Father's Love for Us lyrics

Heaven Came Down

Who Wrote Wayfaring Stranger?

In My Heart There Rings a Melody

In The Sweet By and By

Trust And Obey Lyrics

In Times Like These

More About Jesus

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