Carolyn Wood’s Devotional
January 23, 2021
JUST A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS
But when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6
Just a Little Talk with Jesus is one of those songs I used to love to warm up with when sitting down with small groups of musical friends. Many quartets love to sing this song and have fun with it.
The song was written by Rev. Cleavant Derricks, pastor of a small African-American church in Alabama.
Cleavant Derricks was born on May 13, 1910 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He wrote Just a Little Talk with Jesus in the midst of the Great Depression. We do not know the exact circumstances and the accounts found vary from writing the song for his church to being inspired when he discovered $5 on the street he was sweeping.
What is known is that his church members needed new hymnals. Money was already tight during these difficult times, but the church was in terrible need of new hymnals.
During the 1930’s, Rev. Derricks is said to have travelled the southeast to many churches where he performed his songs and many others.
Rev. Derricks found a publisher, Stamps-Baxter, and contacted them. He stated he needed hymnals and did not have the money to purchase them, while offering a bargain. Would the publisher accept his song to provide hymnals for his church?
The publisher reviewed the songs, not wanting the majority of them, but there were two songs they agreed to purchase. One of these songs was Just a Little Talk with Jesus – published in 1936. It is said that Rev. Derricks received 50 hymnals in exchange for the rights to his song. Within just a few years the song had become one of the best loved southern gospel songs.
Rev. Derricks pastored churches throughout Tennessee and also a church in Washington, D.C.
Two other well known songs written by Cleavant Derricks are “We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials” and “When God Dipped His Love in my Heart.”
I became particularly fond of this song after introducing it to the residents of the assisted living homes and senior recreational centers here in Las Vegas. Of course, many of you have heard me say that I was told originally that though those who were living in memory care facilities might enjoy music, they would most likely not be able to engage or to learn new songs or hand signals. Well….not so with this song and many many others. Residents or members might seem to slumber through other parts of the service or some of the more subdued tunes, but the moment the first chords of Just a Little Talk With Jesus were heard, every head was raised, hands clapped and toes tapped. The smiling faces were always an inspiration and a testament to the depth of love Jesus had shown and how it was appreciated and given back in their joy.
I would most often introduce this song by mentioning the fact that when we pray we are not required to speak with eloquent or lengthy phrases, but to simply communicate our love and gratitude to our Maker. I would tell them that when I left them that day, I would be going for a little rest on the sofa with my warm cozy afghan on my toes. They were told it would be my intent to pray, but being rather tired, I might not be able to pray for a long time, but – to have Just a Little Talk with Jesus. Simple, just a little private talk. I would encourage you to try it sometime. Oh how wonderful, Oh how marvelous is the Saviour’s love for us!
As you listen to these renditions of Just a Little Talk With Jesus today, I dare those toes to stay still! God Bless!