A black and white close-up photograph of a worn-out journal page, displaying the heartfelt words "Give me Jesus" written in elegant cursive script, capturing the essence of devotion and spiritual longing.

Who Wrote The Hymn Give Me Jesus

The beautiful hymn ‘Give Me Jesus’ has been a source of comfort and inspiration for Christians for generations. Its simple yet poetic lyrics ask only for Jesus’ presence amidst life’s struggles. But who penned these well-known words that have stood the test of time?

Read on to learn the story behind one of the most beloved hymns in church history.

The Author Behind the Hymn Give Me Jesus

Fanny Crosby was one of the most prolific hymn writers in history, penning over 8,000 hymns during her lifetime. Though blind from a young age, Crosby devoted her life to sharing the gospel through her gift of writing poetry and hymn lyrics.

She had a deep love for God and sought to bring others closer to Him through her music.

Crosby’s Early Life and Conversion

Fanny Crosby was born in 1820 in Southeast, NY. She lost her eyesight at 6 weeks old due to a medical error. Despite her blindness, Crosby went on to become a teacher and poet. In 1850, at age 30, she committed her life fully to Christ during a revival meeting.

Her conversion inspired her hymn writing, which she saw as her God-given calling.

Some of Crosby’s most famous hymns like “Blessed Assurance” and “To God Be the Glory” were written after her conversion and focused on praising God. She believed deeply in the power of hymns to touch people’s hearts and bring them to salvation.

Crosby’s Calling as a Hymn Writer

Fanny Crosby wrote over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs in her lifetime – more than any other American hymn writer. She was known for her meaningful lyrics and her collaborations with famous composers like Ira Sankey who put melodies to her words.

Her hymns spoke of God’s love, salvation, and her personal walk with Christ.

Some of Crosby’s best known works include: “Blessed Assurance,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Her hymns appeared in many church hymnals and were sung at countless church services, revivals, and camp meetings.

She helped spread the gospel far and wide through her music.

Fanny Crosby died in 1915 at age 95, leaving behind an incredible legacy of hymns that continue to inspire and bless generations of Christians to this day. Her enduring hymns stand as a testament to her devotion to God and her unwavering faith.

The Writing and Composition of Give Me Jesus

The Year Give Me Jesus Was Written

The famous hymn “Give Me Jesus” was penned by Fanny J. Crosby in 1872 when she was 42 years old. By that time, Crosby had already established herself as a prolific hymn writer, having composed over 1,000 sacred songs.

Her collaboration with musician William H. Doane led to some of her most enduring works, including “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” and “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior.”

Collaboration With Composer Howard Doane

In 1872, Crosby was introduced to composer Howard Doane, who quickly recognized her immense talent. Doane, known for composing over 2,000 hymns and gospel tunes, invited Crosby to provide lyrics for some of his musical scores.

Their first collaboration was “Give Me Jesus,” which Doane had recently composed. According to hymnologists, Crosby was so moved by Doane’s melody that she wrote the words for all three verses of “Give Me Jesus” in less than 30 minutes.

The collaboration between Crosby and Doane proved remarkably successful. Over the next three decades, the two would partner to produce hymns still treasured today, such as “Blessed Assurance,” “I Am Thine, O Lord,” and “My Savior First of All.”

Lyrics Capture Crosby’s Passion for Christ

The lyrics of “Give Me Jesus” beautifully capture Crosby’s lifelong passion for Christ. Though blind from a young age, her rich poetry and imagery stir spiritual imagination. Lines like “In the dawn, in the night…in life, in death” emphasize Crosby’s desire to walk closely with Jesus every moment of life.

Hymnologists have noted that while other Crosby works proclaim jubilant faith, the tone of “Give Me Jesus” is more intimate and pleading. The final verse concludes, “Lord, give me Jesus, and that is all I need.” For Crosby, Christ was indeed her sole necessity and greatest joy.

Within five years of the hymn’s first printing, “Give Me Jesus” was already included in hymnals across America and Britain. Well over a century later, these poetic words still voice the longings of Christian hearts worldwide.

Numerous iconic gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson, Willie Nelson and Jeremy Camp have covered this timeless piece.

The Legacy and Impact of the Hymn

Quick Acceptance by the Christian Community

The hymn “Give Me Jesus” quickly gained popularity and acceptance within the Christian community after its publication in 1870. Many churches began including it in their hymnals and using it in worship services soon after its release.

The beautiful, simple melody and powerful, direct lyrics resonated with many believers. Within just a few years, “Give Me Jesus” was already established as a beloved hymn sung regularly in countless churches and gatherings across the country.

Featured in Numerous Modern Hymnals

The immense popularity of “Give Me Jesus” has continued up to the present day. It has been included in hundreds of hymnals and songbooks over the past 150 years, from The Baptist Hymnal to the United Methodist Hymnal. The hymn can be found in most modern hymnals used in many denominations.

This widespread inclusion speaks to the timeless appeal and usefulness of the hymn for the Church.

“Give Me Jesus” appears in many of the most prominent recent hymnals, including:

  • The Celebration Hymnal (1997)
  • Great Hymns of the Faith (2001)
  • Lift Up Your Hearts (2013)
  • The Faith We Sing (2001)

Remains a Beloved Hymn Today

“Give Me Jesus” has clearly stood the test of time. Even in today’s contemporary worship landscape, this traditional hymn continues to be sung and appreciated regularly in churches across the country and world.

It remains one of the top 100 most popular hymns, according to Christian Copyright Licensing International. In a 2018 survey by the Hymn Society, “Give Me Jesus” was in the top five best-loved hymns.

The enduing appeal comes from both the memorable melody and the direct, passionate lyrics expressing longing for Christ. Christians today continue to be moved by lines like “In the morning when I rise, Give me Jesus” and “Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You may have all the rest, Give me Jesus.”

For over 150 years, this sincere hymn has allowed believers to voice their simple, earnest desire for Jesus above all else.


The hymn ‘Give Me Jesus’ has left an indelible mark on Christian worship and culture since it first appeared in the late 1800s. Emerging from the passionate faith of prolific hymn writer Fanny Crosby and brought to life by composer Howard Doane, the lyrics distill the essence of Crosby’s close walk with Christ.

As generations have sung these words in times of joy and trial over the past century, the simple yet powerful hymn remains a testament to one woman’s heartfelt cry only for more of Jesus.

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