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Updated 05/29/2013


Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehova

John Hughes

The words to “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” were penned by William Williams, Pantycelyn
(also known as
Williams Pantycelyn and Pantycelyn) (1717 – January 11, 1791). 

Williams is generally acknowledged as Wales's most important hymn writer. He was also one of the
key leaders of the 18th century Welsh Methodist revival,along with Daniel Rowland and Howell Harris.
As a poet and prose writer he is today considered to be
one of Wales's greatest writers.

Williams was born in the parish of Llanfair-ar-y-bryn, Carmarthenshire, early in 1717. His family were nonconformists. He was educated locally and intended to become a doctor. This changed when he had a religious conversion while listening to Howell Harris, the evangelical reformer, preaching in Talgarth in 1737. He took deacon's orders in the Church of England in 1740 and was appointed curate to Theophilus Evans (1693-1767) in the parishes of Llanwrtyd, Llanfihangel Abergwesyn and
Llanddewi Abergwesyn.

William Williams

Because of his Methodist activities he was refused ordination as a priest and from then on he committed himself entirely to that movement. He travelled throughout the country preaching and establishing seiadau, local fellowships of Methodist people, for the converts he won. He died in 1791.

John Hughes, 1907. Hughes wrote this tune in Tonteg (near Pontypridd), Wales, to commemorate a music festival held in nearby Ca­pel Rhon­dda, Hop­kin­stown. It was first per­formed No­vem­ber 1 that year to Welsh words by Ann Grif­fiths; in the ear­ly days it was simp­ly known as Rhondda, but within a year he changed the name to Cwm Rhon­dda, used Pe­ter Will­iams’ trans­la­tion, and the rest is history.

This hymn was sung, in Welsh, in the Acad­e­my Award win­ning mo­vie How Green Was My Val­ley (1941). It was sung in Eng­lish at the fun­er­al of Di­a­na, Prin­cess of Wales, in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don, Sep­tem­ber 6, 1997.

Lyrics by William Williams


Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
[or Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer…]
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!