I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

This is a hymn about Jesus invitation to people who are tired, thirsty and in darkness - and the rest, life and light that he can offer.   It is popular for funerals in some places.

The words were written by  Scottish, Church of Scotland and then Free Church of Scotland churchman, poet and hymnodist, Horatius Bonar (1808 - 1889).

With meter of D,tunes it has been set to include:
  • KINGSFOLD - a traditional English / Irish tune, which is very similar to the folk-tune for Star of the County Down.
  • VOX DILECTI by John Bacchus Dykes (1868)
  • EVEN by  W. H. Havergal (1846).

It is often presented as a Celtic hymn, but there are also a number of Southern-gospel renditions - as seen in some of the examples below.


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Small group with lead singers and congregation:

Solo singer with guitar and violin / woodwind backing:

Choral arrangement, unaccompanied


I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “I am this dark world’s Light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise, and all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found in Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that light of life I’ll walk, till traveling days are done.

ABC Notation

T:I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
GF| "Em"E2 E2 E2 "D"DE | "G"G2 G2 "D"A2 GA | "G"B2 B2 "Am"AG "C"E2 | "D"D6 "G"GF |
w:I_ heard the voice of_ Je-sus say "Come_ un-to me_ and rest. Lay_
yyyy"Em"E2 E2 "Am"E2 DE | "D"G2 G2 "D"A2 GA | "G"B2 B2 "Am"AG E2 | "Em"E6 "D"Bc |
w:down, thou wea-ry_ one lay down thou_ head up-on_ my breast." I_
yyyy"G"d2 B2 "Em"BA G2 | "Am"A2 A2 "G"B2 GA | "Em"B2 B2 "C"AG E2 | "D"D6 "G"GF |
w:came to Je_sus as I was, so_ wea-ry worn_ and sad; I_
yyyy"Em"E2 E2 "Am"ED E2 | "G"G2 G2 "D"A2 GA | "C"B2 B2 "Am"AG E2 | "Em"E6 z2 |]
w:found in Him_ a rest-ing place, and_ He has made_ me glad.

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