Behind the Song: Room at the Cross for You

He was saved at the age of twelve.

By the time he was seventeen he was composing and performing his own songs and began preaching by the time he graduated college at the age of twenty-two. He was ordained into the ministry on April 28, 1939.

Ira Stanphill

Stanphill served several churches and was known as a singing evangelist, singing and preaching all over the United States and the world. He is known to have preached in at least forty countries. At his services, he would ask the congregation to submit suggested titles for a song. He admitted that the results could be good, bad, or indifferent. Some of these songs were only sung that one time.

One ad for a crusade Stanphill held in 1964 described him as an “Preacher of Old Time Religion.”

Legend says that one morning when he was preaching in Kansas City, Missouri in 1946 he was thumbing through the suggested song titles and came across the words Room at the Cross for You. The words struck a chord with him and before the service ended he had penned the words to the hymn we now know as There’s Room at the Cross for You.

However Stanphill stated that he did not pen the song until later that night when he was home and looking through the slips of paper in his pocket. The words spoke to him and he sat down and wrote the hymn out.

Ira Stanphill

In the 1970s, Stanphill hosted a weekly television program “Young at Heart.” Stanphill founded Hymntime Publishers, served as the company’s president and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2001.In 1983, he published his autobiography This Side of Heaven.

Stanphill composed over 500 gospel songs, including Mansion Over the Hilltop, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow, I Walk with His Hand in Mine, Follow Me and Suppertime by his death on December 30, 1993 in Overland Park, Kansas.

There’s Room at the Cross for You continues to live on and change lives. The story goes that one day Willard Cantelon, an evangelist, and Al Garr, his song leader, were holding a crusade. A young man, lost in depression and having decided to end it all with suicide, walked by on his way to a nearby bridge to take his life, while they were holding services. As he passed by he heard Al Garr singing There’s Room at the Cross for You. He was so gripped by the message that he stopped and walked inside, where his life was forever changed as he gave his life to God. The man would later become an evangelist in his own right.

The national broadcast Revival Time used Room at the Cross for You as their closing theme.


From a suggested title to a moving conversion there is always Room at the Cross for You #songstory #hymnstory Share on X


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