Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories

August 10

Words and Music by Leila N. Morris, 1862–1929
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
It has often been observed that there were at least four groups of people who had a relationship with Christ while He was here on earth. There was the multitude, those who followed from a distance. They were interested merely in what Jesus could do. They were the spectators of the Savior. There was a second group—the 120 gathered in the upper room at Pentecost. They moved much closer to Christ. They shared in His suffering and crucifixion. There was a still closer group—the 12 (later the 11) disciples who were personally taught by Christ. And even this small band of helpers advanced to a more intimate relationship when Christ announced that they were no longer servants but His friends (John 15:15). But within the family of disciples there was another even closer group—Peter, James, and John. They were the ones who enjoyed the closest fellowship with the Lord and were the ones Jesus counted on the most.
Even today there are various levels of closeness to the Lord. It is possible to be involved in much religious activity that does not really draw us nearer to God. To move into closer relationships with Him, we must employ the spiritual means He has provided: An understanding and application of the Scriptures to our lives and daily communion with our Lord. Our spiritual growth is in direct proportion to this vital truth.
Leila Morris, the author and composer of this hymn, was active in the Methodist Episcopal church and in holiness camp meetings. She wrote more than 1,000 gospel hymns, and she continued writing even after going blind. “Nearer, Still Nearer,” was first published in 1898 in the Pentecostal Praises Hymnal.
Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart, draw me, my Savior, so precious Thou art; fold me, O fold me close to Thy breast; shelter me safe in that haven of rest.
Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring, naught as an offering to Jesus my King: Only my sinful, now contrite heart; grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.
Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine. Sin with its follies I gladly resign; all of its pleasures, pomp and its pride, give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.
Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last, till safe in glory my anchor is cast; through endless ages, ever to be, nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee.

    For Today: Psalm 119:133; Ephesians 2:13; Philippians 3:10; James 4:8; 2 Peter 3:18

Reflect on those attitudes and actions that would move your life into a higher level of closeness with Christ. Make this your resolve. Carry this musical prayer as you go—

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