Rachel Halbach
10 months ago

Write the Song that is Being Written

Read time: 3 minutes

Worship music is awesome. And it seems like it’s only getting better and better, right? We all have our favorites, like 'This is Amazing Grace' or 'O Praise the Name.' Our current worship songwriting culture has the privilege of supplying the global church with new worship music. New songs are in pretty high demand, though, and sometimes our songwriting culture faces a pressure to create consistent and congregational, yet fresh music for the church to consume. And while the spreading of God’s name and the production of music that praises Him is never a bad thing, we may need to take a step back and look at some of our motivations behind songwriting.

Songs have a powerful storytelling effect in our culture. Songs were never meant to be forced out into the atmosphere without significance; music itself begs to be impactful. We use the gift of song to share stories of God’s love, His character, His redemption, and His work in our lives. When we write songs, publish them and sing them—in every step of the process—our primary objective is to give God glory and praise. After all, the song is never the songwriter’s to begin with. The song, just like everything in the believer’s life, is given by God and our only responsibility is to give it back to Him in worship.

The danger that our current Christian songwriting culture faces is the temptation to produce assembly line worship music; mass-produced, uninspired songs to appease the high demand of the church. When we give in to this pressure, and take our eyes off the Source of the song, we open a door for unholy desires like competition and fame-seeking behavior to creep into our process. We should be careful never to let the song industry take precedence over the Creator of song.

That being said, one of the things that delights and glorifies God the most is when His Creation shares His story with one another. As the body of Christ, we are meant to live in unity and to lift each other up. When we write songs, instead of writing to please the church or the culture, we should write from a place of honesty and individuality. Vulnerability about our own individual journeys opens the door for other people to relate to our circumstances and to share in our struggle.

The most impactful worship song that we can write can be birthed out of the circumstances of our lives. David in the Bible, one of the most revered songwriters of all time, wrote the majority of the Psalms from a place of suffering and pain.  

David’s songs are the ultimate example of what songwriting should look like. Psalm 40 gives us a glimpse into his “songwriting process:”

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

David’s songs are a direct reflection of his deep, unyielding dependence on God during a time of darkness. His struggle was what propelled him to seek God’s face, to hear God’s voice, and to know the character of God in a deeper, more intimate way. He wrote down all that he discovered, and because of David’s honesty, God has used him to help countless people worship the Father in spirit and in truth through the book of Psalms.

David did not attempt to sugarcoat any part of his relationship with God when he wrote music. He did not worry about making his songs “congregational,” or marketable, and likely did not concentrate on writing in a major key or making the rhyme scheme fit just right. His songs were not written simply for the consumption of others, but out of the overflow of his own heart—and by the grace of God, we are able to partake in his honest worship.

You might not realize it, but right now, a song is being written over you. Your life is a melody and God is the Great Composer, the Great Songwriter. Your journey—not just the successes but the struggles, too—is all part of God’s intricately written song that He has given to you, and He is asking you to give it back to Him. 

I encourage you—even if you don’t think it’s catchy, or congregational, or even worth writing about—write the song that is being written in your life right now.