Near to the Heart of God – Fingerstyle #Ukulele with Chords & Lyrics

Cleland Boyd McAfee (1866-1944) was a Presbyterian minister who wrote this beautiful hymn after the death of two young nieces caused by diphtheria. It has been published in at least 126 hymnals over the years.


It’s special to me because it’s one of the two hymns that were played at my mother’s funeral in 1959. The other was Whispering Hope, which I’ll also be doing a video on soon.


I played it fingerstyle, using Pattern #10 in my fingerstyle ukulele tutorial. This pattern is also known as a “forward-reverse roll” on the 5-string banjo and goes well with a lot of slower 4/4 songs. The only kind of tricky part using this pattern is in the chorus where you switch from C to Am. Each of those chords is played for only a half measure so you can play the first half of the pattern for C then the second half of the pattern for Am, which is what I did on the 2nd and 3rd chorus. The first time I played the chorus I just played the 3rd string followed by a pinch for each chord. It’s up to you. You could even just strum it there or eliminate the Am chord altogether and just stay on the C chord for the whole measure.