Posted by Worship Central on 2 June 2017

I woke up fairly early on the second day of a songwriting retreat with this refrain going around my head, 'Praise the Lord, O my soul, I will sing of your great love forever.' It was one of those moments (they don’t happen every day!) when I knew I needed to find a guitar pretty quickly and capture the melody and these words on my phone – so I raced down to the main songwriting room, found the first guitar I could and recorded it all before breakfast.

Of course, these phrases are commonplace in the Bible: Psalm 89 vs 1 says, 'I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever’ and in Psalm 103 we see how David commands his own soul to praise the Lord, ‘Praise the Lord, my soul, all my inmost being praise his holy name’. Tim Keller makes an interesting observation, ‘Here is how to work the gospel into one’s own heart until it transforms. It happens through inward dialogue, speaking directly and forcefully to your own heart rather than just listening to it.'

After breakfast, Sam Bailey, Anna Hellebronth and I met up to write together as part of the retreat and we were really keen to write a song about the cross. Once the verses began to take shape the song came together fairly quickly and the idea I had recorded that morning became an obvious fit for the chorus - we worked on the bridge later with Ben Cantelon.

I guess the heart of the song is simply to thank God for ‘His great love’ whose very heart for us is shown at the cross and that his death would bring continual life to our praise whatever we may or may not feel. As the poet George Herbert says,
 
“Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare dayes:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.”

More like this

the Friday pickle - should worship leaders be teaching their congregation how to sing songs from other cultures?

I’ve sung ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ in a Ugandan village without any electricity, heard all kinds of Delirious songs filling the air of Mumbai slums and listened as ancient-looking Aboriginals blasted out ‘When I Survey’. But every time we worship at my church we sing in English and we sound like Mumford and Sons on a Coldplay appreciation day. What’s all that about?

Five Tips for Leading Worship When Tragedy Strikes

These days it seems like every other week there’s a breaking news crisis that sends shocking images to the front pages, spreads fear like a virus and gives us all pause for thought. So what do you do when tragedy strikes in the very week that you’re on the rota to lead? We asked Paul Baloche for his top tips...

The Friday Pickle - what if they don’t sing?

Some people don’t like singing. They don’t really like music all that much either. It’s not that they’re performance shy or trying to be contrary, it’s just that music and singing don’t move them.