Jesus Loves Me
Author: Anna B. Warner, 1820-1915
Music: Dr. William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868
Themes: Invitation, Prayer, Conversion
O Lord, if I have found favor in Your sight, do not pass by your servant.
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out.
William Doane, a Cincinnati businessman, liked to write gospel music, so he searched out Fanny Crosby, who could write words to a song at the drop of a hat. Despite her blindness, she already had a reputation, and Doane wanted to see if they could work together on some songs. He was surprised when he found her living in a dilapidated tenement in Manhattan’s lower west side.
A few days later, he returned and asked her to write lyrics for a song that would begin, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior.” He didn’t have a tune yet, and he didn’t have any ideas for more words.
Fanny Crosby usually came up with hymn lyrics quite quickly, but this stumped her for several weeks. One day she went, as she did regularly, to speak at services in a prison near her tenement. The room was full of angry criminals as Fanny began to speak. Then she heard one prisoner cry out, “Good Lord! Do not pass me by!” These men were now forgotten by society, but this man didn’t want to be forgotten by God.
With that in mind, Fanny went home, wrote the hymn, and sent it to William Doane for the music. It was the first hymn on which they collaborated. After that, they worked together on many more.
The words of this song first appeared in Songs of Devotion by Howard Doane (New York, 1870)