No one told me I had to abandon the praise, worship, and Christian rock music that molded my early teenage life. It was the music that solidified my love of God and Jesus and began to form my testimony. The only problem was that I didn’t see anything comparable in our Latter-day Saint culture. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough, but that was almost 19 years ago. So in an effort to mold into my new life, I let go of that piece of my past, just like the cross I had worn throughout most of my teenage years.

Maybe there was praise music out there in the Latter-day Saint world, but like I said, I didn’t see it. At least not like what I had grown up with. However as I grew up, literally because I joined at 19, I began to realize that those pieces didn’t need to be discarded. They were an integral piece of me, and they made me feel closer to my Savior.

So I started listening to it again, and you know what? It’s just as good as when I first heard it. It’s only now in retrospect that I realize those songs where where I made some of my first connection with the Holy Ghost’s influence.

What’s the deal with praise and worship music?

What separates worship music from regular music. It’s actually pretty simple. Worship music is generally simple, easy-to-pick-up melodies. There is a lot of repetition and familiar chord progressions. And the vocal ranges are typically in the mid range. Worship music is generally led by a worship band or team, but doesn’t always have to be. A lot of contemporary Christian music that you would hear on the radio falls in the praise and worship category. Personally its through music, especially music that praises the greatness of our Heavenly Father that I find myself closer to him and the influence of the Spirit. Music is an integral part of my own personal worship.

Our Own Musical Horizons

Today I think we as Latter-day Saints have broadened our musical horizons, but my question is, is there a place for praise and worship music in our culture? I’m not talking about Sacrament meeting getting drums and guitars. I have deep respect for the sense of reverence in the meeting, but I also don’t think we fully commit to worship through our singing in Church sometimes. Reverence doesn’t mean we sing the songs like a funeral dirge. If we put effort into it, we can really connect with the Spirit through our praises. Even if they are off-key or out of tune. It doesn’t matter, because the praises are beautiful to Him whom we sing our praise.

So beyond Sacrament music, what are we doing in our own private worship habits? Is there a place for worship and praise music there?

So in an effort to share a little piece of what formed me into the man I am today, and to broaden our collective musical minds, I offer these. You may know some. Some my be new. I would encourage you to at least give them a fair shake before you say no to them.

My favorite 15 worship, praise, and contemporary Christian songs (in no particular order)

  1. He Reigns – Newsboys
  2. You Are My King (Amazing Love) – Newsboys
  3. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Elenyi (Originally sung by Hillsong United)
  4. Touch The Sky – Hillsong United
  5. Soul on Fire – Third Day
  6. Angus Dei/Worthy – Third Day
  7. God of Wonders – Third Day & Caedmon’s Call
  8. Awesome God – Hillsong United (not the original singers)
  9. Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) – BYU Noteworthy (Originally sung by Chris Tomlin)
  10. What A Beautiful Name It Is – Hillsong United
  11. I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me
  12. I Will Trust In You – Lauren Daigle
  13. Different – Micah Tyler
  14. Why God – Austin French
  15. Love Song For A Savior – Jars of Clay

Now what?

If nothing else, I hope that I’ve helped broaden our musical horizons just a little. There are so many more than I could list, and I know there are Latter-day Saints out there making some wonderful music. I love what the Bonner Family does. They are amazing. What about you? What songs bring you closer to the Savior? Let me know in the comments.