Worship that reflects God’s diverse creativity
Sing Your Praises: One Thing Live
Label: FORERUNNERMUSIC (www.forerunnermusic.com)
Length: 12 tracks/73:42 minutes
For those not familiar with International House of Prayer (IHOP) recordings, this serves as a diverse introduction. Sing Your Praises: One Thing Live features 11 different artists leading worship in a live setting. They each have one song with the exception of Laura Hackett, who has two.
Included is “The Gift,” a closing piano ballad from Misty Edwards, who may be the most popular artist on the label. But each IHOP release that I have reviewed by other artists is similar in quality.
Part of the appeal is that they tend to be a little outside of the mainstream. These are not generic worship songs. The production values and artistry place them among the leaders in this genre.
This type of music gets its share of criticism, but I marvel at how far it has come. These IHOP releases reveal a maturity over early efforts in this field.
Frequent themes are a longing for Christ’s return, the reciprocal love between Him and His bride, the Church, and God’s majestic holiness.
If you are tempted to think, I’m more of a hymns person. I venture that Keith and Kristyn Getty, those superb modern-day hymn writers would applaud, “For I Was Far,” by Anna Blanc. If you hear it on the radio, you could think that you were hearing Kristyn. It would fit on a Getty album.
Another standout, for its uniqueness in perspective, is Jon Thurlow’s “Let Me See Your Face.” This is written and sung from God’s point of view. He woos His broken child asking that she but turn to Him. This is not Jacob wrestling with the angel. It’s the weary one, his way hedged-up with thorns, hearing a voice behind him saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” God is speaking tenderly, “Just let me hear your voice.”
A favorite, for its recorder-like sound, dreamy guitar and peaceful atmosphere is Laura Hackett’s “The Love Inside.” Her other track is more dramatic, but does not have as much impact. The soft word carries more weight.
Imagine a crowded trendy club in some glamorous city, the air filled with anticipation as people wait for the show to begin. Suddenly, a DJ or master musician appears, starting the event with a high energy song. The crowd surges forward, pogo dancing in time to the throbbing beat. But something is different. There is more to this than music and dance. There are words of exaltation. The man in front is leading people in praise to God. Ascribe glory to God! That’s the setting I imagine for “Sing Your Praises” by Matt Gilman.
I like the clear annunciation from Rachael Faagutu on the reggae-inspired “Survival Plan.” She proclaims truth about God, and her husband, Wallace, elaborates in response. Their voices join on the rapid-fire chorus. This is an artful use of a style not as common in praise and worship.
“We Make Room” by Jaye Thomas, which features The Cry, is decidedly gospel. Other tracks border on alt-rock.
This release certainly reflects the creative diversity that God has shared with the human race. He could have made just one variety of apples. Instead, we have many, and that is just one fruit. In a similar way, He allows a multitude of expressions and the use of creativity in worship. It’s all for the purpose of magnifying His glory.
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness (Psalm 29:1-2 ESV).