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Arsenal of Praise, Songs that fuel joy and thanksgiving

My arsenal of praise.

I started this project in August. I had been listening to the same praise songs for the last several years. I needed refreshment. "Sing to the Lord a new song!" Psalm 96:1

I polled friends, asking their favorite worship music. I gave one criteria: These songs must not reflect thankfulness of circumstances, but thankfulness of the UNCHANGING qualities of God.

I should have made one other criteria...
I probably should have said, "And I'm looking for things that don't sound like Christian music, because apparently I don't really like Christian music."

I blame my high school choir teacher. She taught us to appreciate every genre of music. She had us dissect Hebrew texts, African tribal dances, Italian arias, and Underground Railroad spirituals. We learned them all in their contexts, and then performed them with gusto. Her enthusiasm was contagious. And as a result, I am rarely ever satisfied with general pop music. Thankfully, artists like Adele and Mumford have raised the bar in the last few years, but I am still a notorious channel changer of the car radio, and my custom playlists need a lot more variety than Hillsong alone can provide. Even though they're great--really, beautiful music, just not what I was looking for...[keep reading]...

The playlist I wanted to create was not for mere enjoyment. This was to be an arsenal--a weaponry of praise. Yes, I use the war lingo intentionally. "For the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world..." 2 Cor. 10:4

Because of that too, I wanted songs with a quick tempo. Our main mode of transportation is walking, and the kids and I will play these songs of praise while we walk. The majority of contemporary praise music is soft and slow. These songs would be well-suited for times of closet meditation, or maybe getting a relaxing massage on a rainy day, but for us, the melancholy tunes do not suffice. Why so mellow? If the lyrics cause dancing for joy, then the tempo should allow for such-- am I right?

So here is my arsenal of praise: 1 hour and 45 minutes in a variety of musical genres, with tempos that allow for walking, jumping, dancing, and other active verbs that snuff out the enemy's attempts to squash our joy.

1. Victory, Yolanda Adams, 2005, Genre: Gospel. We start the day off with this song. Every day. Powerful! And the fact that this video is her declaring it loudly in the streets of NYC = goose bumps!

2. Victory in Jesus, Selah, 2014, Genre: Blues. One of my favorite hymns, totally fresh!

3. Lord, You're Mighty, Prestonwood Choir, 2012, Genre: Choral Worship. This is my church!

4. My Lighthouse, Rend Collective, 2014, Genre: Irish folk.

5. My Soul Sings, Andrew Greer & Friends, 2015, Genre: American folk. My favorite musician in the world.

6. Good Good Father, Curt Vernon & Julie Futch, 2014, Genre: Spiritual. It's not the song you're thinking. I found it while searching the same title that everyone else suggested.

7. Tis So Sweet, Chelsea Moon & Uncle Daddy, 2010, Genre: Bluegrass

8. Christ Is Risen, He is Risen Indeed (Live), Keith & Kristyn Getty, 2013, Genre: Contemporary Hymns. Fun fact: this video was filmed at our home church in TX. We were there that Sunday, so when she says, "Sing with us!" Karl and I were part of that. :)

9. Tell the World, Lecrae, 2014, Genre: Hip Hop

10. Happy Day, Soul Survivor, 2006, Genre: Christian rock. Makes my kids dance for all the right reasons. Their hearts are so precious.

11. Nobody But Jesus, Acappella, 1993, Genre: Vocal Jazz

12. Break Every Chain, Tasha Cobbs, 2013, Genre: Gospel. POWERFUL!

13. Joy, Rend Collective, 2014, Genre: Irish Folk

14. I Believe, Wes King, 1998, Genre: Christian Rock. The sound is reminiscent of 80's classics like "Jesse's Girl."

15. All Hail the Power of Jesus Name, Acappella, 1994, Genre: Classic Hymns

16. This is Amazing Grace, Phil Wickham, 2013, Genre: CCM

17. Shackles, Mary Mary, 2000, Genre: R&B/Soul

18. Heart Like Mine, Miranda Lambert, 2009, Genre: Country. Don't judge. This song connects with hearts. My daughter gets the most loving expression when she listens to this, knowing that Jesus will understand her heart and love her no matter what wrong she does. I know God has used this song to draw people to Himself!

19. Nothing But the Blood, Jars of Clay, 2005, Genre: Folk Rock

20. Revelation Song, Phillips, Craig, & Dean, 2009, Genre: CCM

21. We Believe, Newsboys, 2014, Genre:Christian pop/rock

22. Everlasting God, Lincoln Brewster, 2006, Genre: CCM; Our family also loves to sing this one in Italian.

22. Awesome God, Rich Mullins, 1989, Genre: Worship. Time to pull this classic back from the archives. Seems appropriate to end the list with the song that opened up this genre for the entire world. This link takes you to 10 translations of this amazing song.

What's in your arsenal?

If you'd like to read more about the power of praise, Judy Douglass has written a great short article: Words of My Life: Thanksgiving

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