I'm Pressing On (Higher Ground)

This lyrical gospel-style hymn is about the Christian desire to develop a fuller spiritual life and reach a "higher plain". The words are inspired by Philippians 3:13–14.

It was written by American retired businessman and Methodist Episcopal ordained preacher, Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856–1922) in 1892, when Oatman first started to write gospel songs.

With meter with refrain, it was originally set to a tune by Charles (Chas) H. Gabriel (1856–1932), which is called HIGHER GROUND. It appears that this tune is almost-always used for the hymn. 


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Congregation with piano:

Close-harmony family choir, unaccompanied - professional recording:

Choir with piano-led band, words on-screen, professional recording:

Choir with synthesiser, words on-screen, professional recording:

Instrumental - piano:


1. I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, life me up, and let me stand
By faith, on heaven’s table-land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

2. My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

3. I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

4. I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

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