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When We Walk with the Lord

Full Text

1 When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his Word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

2 But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
and the joy he bestows
are for them who will trust and obey. [Refrain]

3 Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go -
never fear, only trust and obey. [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The refrain provides the text's theme: trust and obey the Lord (Prov. 16:20). The three stanzas develop this theme: we show our trust by walking with God in accord with his Word and with total commitment to his will for our lives.


Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The theme of this song centers on happiness, joy and delight, found in the Christian life when God’s children walk consistently with the Lord. Similarly, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 32, Question and Answer 86 professes that as God’s children do good works, i.e. grateful and obedient living, they will be “assured of [their] faith by its fruits.”-->


When We Walk with the Lord

Tune Information

F Major
6.6.9 D refrain



When We Walk with the Lord

Hymn Story/Background

John Henry Sammis wrote the chorus lines first and then the five stanzas, after which Towner composed the tune. The hymn was published in Hymns Old and New (1887). Because of its use in the Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey crusades and its printing in Sankey hymnals, "When We Walk with the Lord" became widely known.
At a Moody crusade, Daniel B. Towner overheard a convert say he would “trust and obey.” Towner sent that phrase to John H. Sammis, who first penned those words into the refrain and then wrote the stanzas, whereupon Towner crafted the music.
The refrain provides the text's theme: trust and obey the Lord (Prov. 16:20). The three stanzas develop this theme: we show our trust by walking with God in accord with his Word and with total commitment to his will for our lives.
One of the sturdiest of the some two thousand tunes Daniel Brink Towner composed, TRUST AND OBEY, is also among the most popular due to its use in the Moody-Sankey crusades and publication in the Sankey hymnals. It is cast in the verse-refrain form typical of gospel hymns.
Sing in harmony throughout. Observe one broad beat per measure.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

John Henry Sammis (b. Brooklyn, NY, 1846; d. Los Angeles, CA, 1919) was a successful businessman in Logansport, Indiana, and active as a Christian layman. His volunteer work for the YMCA eventually led to a change of career. He studied at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Lane Theological Seminary, and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1880. He served congregations in Glidden, Iowa; Indianapolis, Indiana; Grand Haven, Michigan; Red Wing, Minnesota; and Sullivan, Indiana. From 1909 until his death he was a teacher at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Daniel Brink Towner (b. Rome, PA, 1850; d. Longwood, MO, 1919) was educated musically by his father and later trained by gospel musicians such as George Root and George Webb. He served as music director for the Centenary Methodist Church Binghamton, New York (1870-1882), the York Street Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio (1882-1884), and briefly at the Union Methodist Church in Covington, Kentucky. In 1885 he joined Dwight L. Moody's evangelistic campaigns as a baritone soloist and choral conductor. From 1893 until his death he was head of the music department of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where he strongly influenced several generations of students. Towner com­piled fourteen hymn collections.
— Bert Polman
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