Does “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” Make It Right?

Is “Just a Little Talk With Jesus” able to do all that the song claims: 1) make it right, 2) take care of prayerful yearning when our heart is turning to heaven, 3) make us whole, 4) clear the way, and 5) take care of doubts and fears?

The Bible certainly commands us to sing with both the spirit and the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). This means that we need to understand what we are singing when we sing it. The lyrics of this song are as follows in our song book:

I once was lost in sin but Jesus took me in, and then a little light from heaven filled my soul;
It bathed my heart in love and wrote my name above, and just a little talk with Jesus made me whole.
Sometimes my path seems drear, without a ray of cheer, and then a cloud of doubt may hide the light of day;
The mists of sin may rise and hide the starry skies, But just a little talk with Jesus clears the way.
I may have doubts and fears, my eyes be filled with tears, But Jesus is a Friend who watches day and night;
I go to Him in prayer, he knows my every care, And just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.
Now let us Have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell Him all about our troubles,
He will Hear our faintest cry and He will answer by and by;
Now when you Feel a little prayerful yearning, as your heart unto heaven is turning,
You will Find a little talk with Jesus makes it right; it makes it right.

We need to remember that song lyrics are in poetic form, and they are frequently metaphorical in nature instead of literal. There are several figures used in this song: light from heaven, bathing the heart, clouds of doubt, mists of sin are words that are used in a metaphorical and non-literal way. At the same time, the song is speaking literally about talking to Jesus. How do we talk to Jesus today? The song says, “I go to Him in prayer.” Do we go to Jesus in prayer? We do since Jesus is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and intercessor (Romans 8:34). We should also take into account Jesus words to the disciples in John 16:23, “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” Does this mean that Jesus was forbidding all prayer to Him? Some have construed this verse in that way. Yet, Jesus says in John 14:14 to the same disciples, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Acts 1:24 also is a prayer to Jesus: “And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen.” Stephen prayed to Jesus when he was stoned to death (Acts 7:59-60), yet these were remarkable circumstances. In 1 Timothy 1:12-13, Paul thanks Jesus directly in prayer.

The other part of this song that might be construed the wrong way is the end of the first stanza where it says, “and just a little talk with Jesus made it right.” The beginning of this stanza is referring to salvation. Were we saved merely by having a little talk with Jesus? If we were to take this very literally, it would not be true, because we know the Bible teaches salvation through faithful obedience to Jesus Christ. One might construe this figuratively, however, understanding that it is our talk with Jesus through His word that saves us. James 1:21 says, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” Peter wrote, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23). If we consider that our talk with Jesus is also Jesus speaking to us through His word, then it would surely be the case that having Jesus talk to us through His word, and our obeying Him made us whole. This probably isn’t how most people are going to interpret this song, but it could be interpreted in that way.