Favourite worship songs
In this week’s blog our music group share their favourite worship songs. Worship is a key part of Bristo Baptist’s church services and music is one of the many ways we can express our praise and thankfulness to God. There are plenty of songs to listen to, from ones that encourage us to enter God’s presence to those that help us to reflect on our relationship with Him.
When we think of worship in the Bible we probably think of David, who wrote around half of the Psalms. Many people are inspired by his words for their own songs:
Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with the timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals… Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:2-6)
We are also encouraged to sing our worship to God by Paul in his letter to the Colossians: Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3:14-17)
If you’re interested in the evolution of worship music this fantastic video takes you on a rapid journey from the 6th to the 21st century. Who knows what fantastic songs will appear in the next 10 years!
When I became a Christian I felt that I gained a new purpose in life, so “Mercy Road” was the perfect song to have at my baptism last year. I used to sing this in my old church and have many good memories of playing it with friends there.
Lord You Have My Heart
My favourite worship song is “Lord You Have My Heart”. It has such a powerful yet simple message, a plea to God to take all I have and to use me for His purpose, and a reminder that I WILL Praise Him! It was sung at my Baptism by a four-part harmony group with an acoustic guitar. Beautiful!
I have found this version which is amazing!
How Great Thou Art
This is a classic hymn in so many ways. It has a simple, clear message about the truths and beauty of God, building to the wonderous sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. As a member of the worship group, it’s also lovely to have a song that everyone knows – and is ready to belt out when singing along!
It was difficult to think one of a favourite worship song as I have many and each for different reasons. However, I decided to go back to the beginning and I mention the hymn that first revealed God’s love to me, the condition I was in, that no matter how good I thought I was, God revealed that I was a sinner, as all have sinned and fallen short of God’s grace, that I couldn’t save myself, the only way to be truly saved was to put my faith and trust in Jesus and what He had done for me on the cross at Calvary.
The words of “Amazing Grace” reflect my testimony of how I once was, but how I am now through God’s grace and love. The version I personally like is the one sung by Judy Collins
Amazing Grace is a popular one with our music group! Another member writes:
As a lifelong choral singer, I love the tradition of choral worship in the church, whatever background it comes from. These songs calm my spirit and help me worship like nothing else. However, it isn’t just about the style of music – as for most worshippers, choral worship is perhaps more to be listened to than sung, but for me participation in worship is very important. This is why I’m drawn to great hymns that have stood the test of time – they’re perfect for congregational worship, and people from all backgrounds are able to join in, and they even cross denominational boundaries.
Amazing Grace is also great for its enduring popularity and universality. It’s so well known that it’s recognisable practically everywhere. It has been translated into many languages and has inspired Christian hymn-writers/songwriters for generations.
But I think what’s most significant about this hymn, the reason it’s so enduring, are the words and the backstory behind it. When I hear it I know that it was meaningful for John Newton; it’s not just theology or poetry (though it contains both in abundance.) For the same reason, it makes the theme of grace personal, and perfectly sums up and illustrates the gospel on an individual level.
I struggled to choose one recording of Amazing Grace, so I instead want to demonstrate the diversity of the song, and maybe one of these will appeal to you. Here are traditional, a cappella, gospel, bagpipe and world versions .
Days of Elijah
As a musician I love facilitating other people worshipping God. One of my favourite songs for this is “Days of Elijah” as it has so much energy as you play and sing it. The song gives us hope for the time when Jesus returns in glory and also helps us identify with Old Testament figures such as Elijah, especially his sense of isolation within the culture he lived in. I particularly love this video of US Marines singing and dancing – for me it really encapsulates the enthusiasm of the song! You can also see the lyrics here.
And Can it Be
Out of all the songs we sing, ancient and modern, the one that stands out for me is “And can it be” by Charles Wesley. It is a song that has come down the generations and is still a great sing today. What is striking about it is the way it expresses the wonder of the gospel message – as if every time Wesley thought about it, he still couldn’t get his head around the depth and boundlessness of God’s love and he was not ashamed to admit it. He shows us a humility which we may need to work on if we are to sing the words as he did.
What are your favourite worship songs? Have you discovered any new ones during the lockdown? Let us know!