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His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Updated on August 7, 2012

His Eye Is On The Sparrow - Lyrics, Sheet Music, and Great Performances

Civilla Martin penned the words to this beautiful song in 1905 after being inspired by a couple who both suffered physical disabilities, yet lived happy Christian lives full of hope.

I sing because I'm happy,

I sing because I'm free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

This beautiful hymn reminds us of how God provides for us, just as he provides for the small sparrow.

(photo by Alan_Vernon used with permission under CC 2.0)

Mahalia Jackson Sings His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Lyrics to His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Words By: Ci­vil­la D. Mar­tin, 1905

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


The Story Behind the Hymn

The Inspiration for His Eye Is On The Sparrow

The lyricist of this beautiful hymn, Civilla Martin, was inspired by Mr. & Mrs. Doo­lit­tle to write this song. She wrote in a letter to Phillip Kerr:

Early in the spring of 1905, my hus­band and I were so­journ­ing in El­mi­ra, New York. We con­tract­ed a deep friend­ship for a cou­ple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Doo­lit­tle-true saints of God. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle had been bed­rid­den for nigh twen­ty years. Her hus­band was an in­cur­a­ble crip­ple who had to pro­pel him­self to and from his bus­i­ness in a wheelchair. De­spite their af­flict­ions, they lived hap­py Christ­ian lives, bring­ing in­spir­a­tion and com­fort to all who knew them. One day while we were vi­sit­ing with the Doo­lit­tles, my hus­band com­ment­ed on their bright hope­ful­ness and asked them for the se­cret of it. Mrs. Doo­lit­tle's re­ply was sim­ple: "His eye is on the spar­row, and I know He watch­es me." The beau­ty of this sim­ple ex­press­ion of bound­less faith gripped the hearts and fired the imag­in­a­tion of Dr. Mar­tin and me. The hymn "His Eye Is on the Spar­row" was the out­come of that ex­per­i­ence.

Source: Music in evangelism: and stories of famous Christian songs, 1954, by Phillip Kerr

Related Poetry

These beautiful poems describe the same emotions as this song, and discuss how indeed His Eye IS on The Sparrow.

Related Scripture

Matthew 6:26; 10:29-31

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?(NIV)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.(NIV)

His Eye Is On The Sparrow Videos

Song Poll

Ethel Waters: His Eye is on the Sparrow

Ethel Waters used His Eye is on the Sparrow as the title for her autobiography.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow: An Autobiography (Quality Paperbacks Series)
His Eye Is On The Sparrow: An Autobiography (Quality Paperbacks Series)

Ethel Waters's His Eye is on the Sparrow stands as perhaps the greatest autobiography of a black female performer, capturing both the horror and the joy of the African American woman's experience through the often bitter yet always forgiving voice of an indomitable spirit. This edition is supplemented with a new historical preface and over a dozen photographs.


Share your thoughts, opinions, and experiences with this song.


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    • supercelticangel profile image

      supercelticangel 4 years ago

      This is the first time I have heard this song and I love it!!!! Thank you so much for this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I heard Ethel Waters sing this song at a Billy Graham crusade in the 1960s and I still remember getting chills and being lost in the way she sang. Beautiful!

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 6 years ago from United States

      This is one of the first songs I sang as a teen in my church. It holds special memories and has a way of grounding us spiritually.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this song. It was the best part of the Sister Act movies. Great lens!

    • juniperberry lm profile image

      juniperberry lm 6 years ago

      thank you... was just what I needed to hear.

    • lexxsweet profile image

      lexxsweet 6 years ago

      Wow, this brought back memories of singing in choir as a kid. Nostalgia , thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Stopping back to enjoy my Dad's favorite song.....and drop off some angel dust.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love that song!

    • OrganicHealth3 profile image

      OrganicHealth3 6 years ago

      Every time someone say they gone sing a solo in a C.O.G.I.C or Baptist church they always sing this song.

    • profile image

      JadaFuego 6 years ago

      It is just something about matter who sings it...the song makes your soul cry.

    • ultimapalabra profile image

      ultimapalabra 6 years ago

      Thank you for that lens, I love this song very much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love this song.

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the lovely song lyrics.

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 6 years ago


    • one Bridge profile image

      one Bridge 6 years ago

      Sweet :)

    • BGLJane profile image

      BGLJane 6 years ago

      beautiful. I did not know the history of this song. Please listen to some of our original music at

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      A lovely lens. Blessed today :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I was in the neighborhood and had to stop for a listen again, I always have sweet memories of my Dad when I hear it. Sweet!

    • businessblossom1 profile image

      businessblossom1 7 years ago

      Your lens on "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" is similar, conceptually, to my own . . . I lean a little more on the writerly side, but this is nice. Lensrolling you to my 14 hymn lenses . . . keep up the good work, to the glory of God.

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 7 years ago

      I hadn't heard this song before I found this lens, thanks. It's beautiful.

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 7 years ago from New Market

      Beautiful, uplifting music! I love listening to different interpretations by each singer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Wonderful song and, truthfully, I never even thought about the inspiration behind it. Thanks for sharing. It is so nice to be reminded that our Father, who knows the number of hairs on our heads, is careful of even the tiny sparrows. How much more must He care for us!

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 7 years ago

      Wow, could Mahalia Jackson ever sing! Nice to know the background of this beautiful hymn also.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      His Eye Is On The Sparrow, was my dad's favorite! I just think this is a lovely lens.

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Your lens is a blessing for many - may I add my puny little SquidAngel Blessing to it? Wonderful work you do on Squidoo, PastorKay! Thanks. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      You seem to understand the power of a single song. Tipi's and my Dad just loved this song. We sang it many times when we were young. Since Dad moved to heaven, I get all teared up every time I hear it.

    • adventuresinaut profile image

      adventuresinaut 9 years ago

      I love this song too, but I did not know the story behind it. I need to go check the hymnal in church and see if it's in there, or request the choir sing it sometime. It's so pretty thanks for putting together such a great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Reading the lyrics, brought tears to my eyes. My Lord is so good! Thanks for the reminder!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 9 years ago

      I love this lens...I love the song...5*

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      oh yes! our mom's very favorite hymn. Beautiful lens! Thank you!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh, I really enjoyed this lens. This was my mother's most favorite hymn and I can just hear her singing it. Thank you so much.

    • DAD1104 profile image

      DAD1104 9 years ago

      Very nice.