Be with Me, Lord

It will be 10 years this summer since this song was published in the church song book “Songs of the Kingdom”, by DPI (I had written it a couple years earlier). “Be with Me, Lord” has definitely become the most popular of songs I’ve written. Maybe it’s because of the infectious repetitive chorus. Maybe because so many can relate to the sentiment of the lyrics. Honestly, I’ve got to give credit for this song to Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

How I remember it, I had been listening this great album, “Graceland,” by Paul Simon, in particular this song called “Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes.” On that song the choral group Ladymith Black Mambazo (these cool African guys) close out the song going “Ta na na na na, Ta na na na na” over and over again. I remember humming the tune while taking a shower and somehow that repeating phrase became “Be with me, lord; be with me, lord” –over and over, and OVER. The next few days I kept mumbling it and my wife was like, “can you stop that, please?!” I went on a prayer walk at a park near my house, and the melody and lyric of the three verses just came to me. So many of my prayers seem to be filled with the content of those verses:

“I need to know that you are there, God.”

“I know you promised I wouldn’t be tested more than I could bear… so help me!”

“Help me to be bold. Help me to make a difference. Help me know you’re with me.”

I wrote out the parts and taught it to some singers in my local church, and then it just gradually started catching on in churches around our fellowship. It was cool last year to get to go both to Mexico and hear them singing it in Spanish, and to Ukraine and hear them singing it in Russian. Here is a video of the Keiv Ukraine experience. There was this awesome band of musicians that I jumped in with. We couldn’t even communicate with each other except through music, smiles, and hugs. We had about 5 minutes to throw it together. On stage was a group of singers in Russian, and a group of Americans singing in English. The audience was filled with about five thousand people, mostly singing in Russian. It was really cool. On the video you can hear the second verse being sung in Russian.

Also this past year my church did a special worship service where they appointed me a “Minister of Music and Media” and the kids surprised me by singing the song. My young friend Daniel Plymell played guitar and all these kids filled the stage to sing. I love that my own kids hold this as their #2 all-time favorite song (#1 of course is “Blue Skies and Rainbows” – which my middle child referred to for the longest time as “Blue Guys and Rainbows”). I think these are great words to have rolling around in their brain. Here’s the video (my oldest son is the one in blue the camera zooms in on during the first verse):

I put out a CD a few years ago called “Be with Me, Lord.” Here is the version of the song that appeared on that album.
Be With Me, Lord

Here is an earlier version of the song. I couldn’t decide which recording I liked better for the album, so at the time the CD was being released I put it out to vote and the one above was chosen. I still like this version too, though.
Be With Me, Lord (prerelease)

Finally, here is a version that appeared on an album put out by members of a church in Berlin, Germany — a total surprise and a lot of fun to hear it when a friend gave me a copy.
Be With Me Lord – IGC Berlin

Chord Chart – here is how I normally play it
(by the way, this was a purely a capella song for a long time. But then a friend Tammy Fleming asked me to play guitar with it for a women’s event and I’ve been doing it with guitar ever since)

1st two verses: E / A B
D …
Last verse: G / C D

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14 Comments on “Be with Me, Lord”

  1. marty says:

    Great stuff brian. i miss you man. the fort worth church just did that song this past sunday with some add jamaican verses and sound flair to it. it’s the ever-evolving kingdom song. love it. blessings to your family.

  2. Jennifer Clark says:

    Thanks for this Brian :-) My husband & I enjoyed you song leading us after a Marriage Retreat when we combined with Inland Empire on Sunday (if I remember right)

    Anyway, love this song and it is great to have it “rolling around” in my head all the time as well :-)

    Love in Friendship,

    Jennifer & Stephen Clark (currently in Turning Point – LA, CA :-)

    • jbriancraig says:

      Thanks for your encouragement, Jennifer – I love anytime I get to worship with the Turning Point group. I’ve learned so much from Jay and the guys.

  3. Thanks brother for the music my name is Marcos Herrera
    I met you in Tijuana in 2008 on the withdrawal of praise to my Station Disciple Radio (Radio Discipulo in spanish), I like to include your songs in our radio programming.

  4. Chris says:

    Hi bro… I’m Chris from Malaysia.

    Love your song… we’ve been singing it a lot in church!

    Just wondering whether there is any instrumental version available… preferably in midi format? Would be great to just play the music on and sing along :)

    • jbriancraig says:

      Cool to hear you guys sing it there! My old tape machine broke and I lost access to original tracks, so I don’t currently have back up tracks. But I get asked for them a lot, so I plan to put some together at some point. God bless you all there in Malaysia!

  5. kmeganiz says:

    do u have the lyric? thx

    • jbriancraig says:

      Sure, here you go

      BE WITH ME, LORD

      Sometimes I feel
      That I could fight an army
      With just me and you,
      And there’s no one could harm me.
      O, but sometimes I
      Can feel a little shy.
      It’s then I need to know
      That you are there, that’s why I’m singing

      Be with me Lord (repeating)
      Be my only God!

      I know you said
      That I would not be tested
      More than I could bear
      And that you’d have my best in mind.
      With everything
      That ever comes my way,
      I know you’re in control
      So hear me as I pray. I’m singing…

      Now help me, Lord
      To share what I’ve been given.
      Help me make a difference
      With this life I’m living.
      As I show my neighbor
      Where true treasure’s stored,
      Help me know you promised
      You’d be with me Lord. I’m singing…

  6. hey, do you have any arrangement of this for keyboard/piano? I’m actually from a church of christ, but a girl introduced this song to our youth group (yes, in acapella), and I really would like to learn this song to play and show her…but I only know the harmonys to it; and I thought it would be really cool if the COMPOSER of the song gave me an arrangement. Thanks Brian!
    -Daniel

  7. Barbara Grant says:

    I’ve had your song kicking around in my head and heart the past few days, so was delighted to find this page and hear it again… singing this with your online video was a great part of my morning quiet time! Bless you for being obedient to the Spirit in writing this!


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