Behind the Song: Surely the Presence

Rolf Lovland

Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place is a praise hymn from the 1970s which is still popular today.

The song was written by Lanny Wolfe and inspired by Genesis 28:16, “When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

Lanny Wolfe is an American Christian music songwriter, musician, music publisher, and music teacher.

While the chorus of this praise hymn is best known, there are also two beautiful verses that accompany the chorus.

In the video below, Wolfe describes how the song came to him while waiting for a church dedication.  The words and melody filled his heart, which he quickly wrote down and taught to his trio and the audience on the spot.

Wolfe is a Grammy Award winning songwriter who is also known for writing Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy”, Greater Is He That Is In Me, Whatever It Takes, My House Is Full, One Day Too Late, Wise Men Still Seek Him, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year and “More Than Wonderful”.



  • Sister Julie Weckwerth

    How can I get copyright permission for SURELY THE PRESENCE to use in a prayer service with our Sisters?

    • You are welcome to share. Thank you for stopping by and asking. Blessings!

      • Elsie Huebner

        Is it copyrighted? Can it be sung and recorded on church video?

        • The author Lanny Wolfe holds the copyright to the song. Check with your church about their copyright license and what it allows. You can find the sheet music and sing with a live accompanists.

          • Elsie Huebner

            We sing it every Sunday with live accompanists at church. But now we are making video’s of service (during church closure because of corona virus)…and sharing them on YouTube, webpage, etc.We don’t have copyright license, so I guess this is prohibited. Thank you for replying.

  • Loretta Blaylock

    This song is always been a blessing to me, I listen to it almost every morning, during my prayer time. Thank you so much for writing this awesome song, I so pray that some of these older songs would be sung in churches today.
    God bless you

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