Three Songs that Shaped my Worship of God
By: Deji Yesufu
As I grow older, I find my refuge in the place of prayer. I have seen so many answers to prayer that I take it for granted that if I am able to bring anything before the throne of grace, that thing will be done. When I do not see answer to prayer, I am confident that it is either that such is not God’s will for me or else the Lord will have me to wait. So, my personal devotional morning prayer that once was a burden and must be done by sheer discipline is today a delight. Amen.
One of the highlights of my devotional time, however, is a time of thanksgiving. The Bible tells the saints to come into the presence of God with thanksgiving and enter his courts with praise. So, over the years I have a few songs I use in my devotionals. I am ashamed to say that they about the same songs I have been singing since the year 2000 when I eventually began to perfect the discipline of early morning prayers. From time to time, however, I try to bring a new song in between. It is just that the old seem to be better – we are mostly comfortable with what we are used to. So, there are these three songs that I sing in the place of prayer. In this essay, I want to share those songs with you and show how they have shaped my worship of God and my walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The first of these songs is a “prayer” song of some sort. I do not know who wrote the song originally and I have been unable to find it on YouTube. In 2005 I had returned to my “hometown” Zaria after about a year sojourn in Lagos looking for job. I spent much of my time indoors and then I opted to be trained as a Child Evangelist by the Children Evangelism Ministry (CEM) – the ABU Zaria chapter. I found the training to be a great blessing. About the time we were concluding the training, one of our teachers taught us the song and said that it is not a children’s song per se but a song that will help the Christian minister in his personal devotion. Here are the lyrics:
Show me thy way, teach me thy path
Free me from all of my fears;
Trusting in you is so easy to do Lord
When I see you as you really are…(2X)
Chorus: As you really are, Lord and King
As you really are, Lord of everything
As you really are, help me to see you as you really are (2X)
The magic in this song was that it came into my life when I was thoroughly hopeless. No job. No money. Failing health. It appeared the whole world was against me and in the morning, I will just turn to God and tell him to show me the way to walk that day and in his mercy he did. I still sing the song today but, in those days, when I first learnt it, it was a lifeline. It was pleading with God to save me daily and he did.
The second of the song is a song in one of CeCe Winans album and it is titled “Always”. Incidentally I am not sure I have heard anyone sing that song before anywhere else. It was a song I sang in a time of deep need and rather than calling on God for physical deliverance, I pleaded with him to help me to know him more. So, when I used to trek from Latter Rain Assembly in Ogba, Ikeja, to the Airforce Base, where I resided, I will be singing this song heartily in my heart to God:
Lord I pray, today, for the rest of my life
Live inside my heart, please stay for always
Till that timeless place when we are face to face
And we will embrace for always
Till today I am grateful to God that that song helped me to look beyond my physical needs and set my eyes on God above, looking forward to the day in his kingdom when I will settle down in his embrace, free from all ill, for always. I will urge you to learn the song off heart if you can and use it to thank God for the great salvation that he has given you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The third song, and certainly not the last song I sing in the place of prayer, is Phil Driscoll’s adaptation of the Magnificat into a song. The Magnificat is Mary, the mother of Jesus, song of praise that she sang in Luke 1:46-49. Which is an adaptation of Hannah’s song of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-2, when God had answered her prayers and given her a child. There is a contrast between the two women though: Hannah had sought for a child for a long time before God gave her a seed. Mary was not seeking to have a child; rather she was seeking to be betrothed. But God was seeking to send his Son to the world to redeem the world from sin. God chose Mary to carry this seed and Mary let out a song of praise to God for the blessedness and privilege of doing this.
Driscoll’s adaption of the song is particularly moving and since none of us know the tune with which Hannah or Mary sang their songs, we can make do with Phil Driscols’:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
And my spirit exults in God my Savior
For he has looked with mercy on my loneliness
And his name, will be forever exalted
For my mighty God has done great things for me
And his mercies will reach from age to age
Holy… holy… holy…
I sing this song every time I am trusting God for a miracle and even after the miracle has been received. The reason is because whether or not we receive answer to our prayers, God is worthy of all our praises and the Magnificat perfectly depicts this truth.
In my devotion these days, I am beginning to learn to sing hymns. Hymns are more theological in depth and they do not have the boring repetitiveness that our modern songs have. I would however thank the God of heaven that sent these three songs my way. They have helped me to see God even when I do not see him. They have helped me to find his path when his footprints might not be obvious. They have helped me to sing in praise as I await a victory and they have helped me to worship God in times when life chooses to throw one a harsh providence.
The Christian is a winner at all time through Jesus Christ our Lord. One of the blessings that we have in our walk with Christ is that we often find songs that perfectly describes our position with God at each point in time in our spiritual walk. And then we sing them. Amen.
Thank you for sharing how these songs helped you.
I am a song person.
May we continually make space for worship with the Lover of our souls.