BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#439 - "Lord, I Need You" by Matt Maher
Matt talks with Kevin Davis about how he wrote this song, and about the freedom of needing the Lord in good and bad times.
 


Known for writing the church worship anthems "Your Grace is Enough," "I Will Rise" and "Christ is Risen," Matt Maher has consistently penned songs with the expressions of joy, sorrow, repentance, hope and victory offered by the Psalms.  
 
His latest album, All the People Said Amen, gives a voice to the appreciation and adoration of God in every chapter of life. Matt Maher's enthusiastic and reverent style of writing and singing praise and worship songs has consistently been a draw for me. Maher's prayerful sentiments are consistently filled with his personal adoration of God. 
 
My church started singing Matt Maher's new song "Lord, I Need You" when it first released. It's exactly the type of catchy corporate worship song I've come to love from Matt Maher. The song features instantly sing-able vertical and prayerful lyrics: "Lord, I need You, I need You, every hour I need You, my one Defense, my Righteousness, Oh God how I need You." I sing along with the top of my lungs when Matt belts out, "Where You are, Lord I am free, holiness is Christ in me." Amen. 
 
I had the great opportunity to interview Matt in-person at the Creation Festival about his great new song "Lord, I Need You." 
 
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
 
This song was written with four other songwriters. It is a pretty great bunch of writers—Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, and two of Chris Tomlin's band mates, Jesse Reeves and Daniel Carson. We were getting together to write for the Passion 2011 conference. I was a newlywed, and my wife graciously agreed to accompany me. It was crazy, because I was in the middle of being on tour and we jetted over to Atlanta. She pretty much slept a lot. 
 
It was really a process of collaboration. Somebody wrote a line, and it was like passing the baton. Somebody else wrote a line, and so on. About halfway through of the process of writing this song, Jesse said the song reminded him of the hymn "I need Thee every hour." We pulled up the lyrics, and started mining from that song a little bit. I remember when the lyrics, "Where You are, I am free, holiness is Christ in me" were written, that was a big moment. 
 
I definitely respond to that revelation that our worth and our value are established in the facts that we are made in the image of God, and we are redeemed by Jesus. When God looks at us, He sees His Son. That's a powerful Truth. 
 
Please tell me about any Bible verses that you used to write the song.  

Psalm 150:2 (The Voice): Praise Him for His powerful acts, redeeming His people. Praise Him for His greatness that surpasses our time and understanding.
 
Psalm 33:3 (NKJV): Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
 
Psalm 40:17 (The Voice): Meanwhile, I am empty and need so much, but I know the Lord is thinking of me. You are my help; only You can save me, my True God. Please hurry.
 
What is the takeaway message for listeners and the Church?
 
The process of writing this song and a lot of songs for worship leaders is that the writing of worship songs is an act of worship. That's an opportunity where God ministers to us. Then, we go and lead worship and every time we lead people in worship, it's a confirmation of when we wrote the song. That's the case for me with this song. 
 
A year after writing this song, I'm now a dad, and I'm on the road, and when I sing this song live, it is ministering to me being a father and a child. I was and still am profoundly impacted by having a child. Having a son who isn't afraid to need his dad is powerful. He's very honest about it. That type of honest needing of a Father by a son, if you are at all semi paying attention as a Christian should shape how you look at God. God wants us to lean into Him. That's been the case for me. 
 
For the Church, I've been speaking at youth conferences this summer, and I know that people will go to God in their darkest hours and in times of struggle and in their need for Him. My hope is that people—whether a teenager at a Christian music festival or youth conference, or as an adult—would not only go to God in your time of need. My prayer is that you're so hit between the eyes with your need for God and His love that you also go to Him with your joy. 
 
In your joy, you need to still say, "Lord, I need You, oh I need You, every hour I need You,"—not just in your brokenness and darkest times. I think that's a struggle for people. A lot of Christians tend to look around and think the world is in a dark place, we're struggling economically and there's so much division in our country, but there's always a reason to have joy. 
 
Lyrics:
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You're my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
The devotional challenge in this song is to think about whether you believe every word when you sing along. Do you acknowledge that you need God every hour? Do you recognize that God wants us to lean into Him? Allow the Truth to sink in that as believers, holiness: sanctification and being set apart for God's use, is found by the indwelling of "Christ in me." 
 
A great reminder to listeners is to pray the words of the bridge, "Teach my song to rise to You, When temptation comes my way, And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You, Jesus, You're my hope and stay." As believers, if we could start to not only show our witness of God not only in our times of hardship, but also show our witness by leaning into Him and show our joy in terms of celebrating God. That in some ways is just as powerful and inspirational as a witness. 
 
Joy isn't just a happy emotion. It is also a deep peace and understanding of knowing that we are loved without a shadow of a doubt. We should not be ashamed to sing of our dependence on God and show Him reverence. This is an amazing new worship song for the Church and I love to sing to Him: "You're my one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, how I need You." Amen to that!
 
(You can listen to the song here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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