Classic Hymns - It Is Well With My Soul Lyrics and History on

Lyrics to “It Is Well With My Soul”

By Horatio G. Spafford
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Song History: “It Is Well With My Soul”

“It Is Well With My Soul” is a hymn written by Horatio Gates Spafford, a prominent American lawyer, Presbyterian church elder and hymnist, following the tragic events in his life.
Horatio Spafford was married to Anna Larsen from Norway. Aside from being a prominent lawyer, he and his wife were also close friends of evangelist Dwight Moody. The Spaffords were quite popular in Chicago in the 1860’s but they were no strangers to tragedy. They invested in real estate, north of the city. However, this was taken away from them during the Great Fire of Chicago in 1871. Prior to the great fire that same year, the Spaffords suffered the loss of their 4-year-old son to Scarlet fever.
In a desire to give his family a time to rest, they planned a trip to Europe. However, due to an unexpected business need, Horatio needed to stay behind for a few days while his wife and 4 daughters sail ahead via the French ocean liner, Ville du Havre, on November 21, 1873.
Four days after the ship departed crossing the Atlantic, it collided with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn. It was reported that Anna took their daughters to the deck where they knelt and prayed to God for their life to be spared. The ship sank in 12 minutes carrying with it 226 passengers including Haratio and Anna’s children. Unfortunately, only Anna survived among his family.
The rescue brought Anna to Cardiff, Wales after 9 days. She sent a telegram to her husband saying, “Saved alone, what shall I do?”. Not long after Horatio sailed out to join his grieving wife. As he passed near where his daughters died, he penned “It Is Well With My Soul”.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford Move to Jerusalem

Horatio and Anna later had three more children, but their son, Horatio Goertner Spafford, died of scarlet fever at the age of four. After the birth of their youngest daughter, they moved to Jerusalem where they devoted their lives into philanthropic work among the people regardless of their religious affiliation. Because of this, they gained the respect and trust of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities.
audFour days before his 60th birthday, Horatio Spafford succumbed to malaria on October 16, 1888 and was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem.

Popular Versions of “It Is Well With My Soul”

Philip Bliss composed the music of “It Is Well With My Soul”. Later on, the song was published in Gospel Songs No. 2 by Sankey and Bliss (1876). Many renditions were made by various artists such as Don Moen for Eternal God (1991); Jennifer Holiday for On and On (1995); Amy Grant for Legacy… Hymns and Faith (2002); Hillsong Music as a single (2011); Audrey Assad for Inheritance (2016); and MercyMe sampling the song in “Even If” from Lifer (2017), to name some.