NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis lists his favorite worship songs of the year.
2012 has featured some incredible new albums and songs by Christian artists. As a believer, one of my daily devotionals is to spend time worshiping my Lord and Savior Jesus by singing Him worship songs in adoration of His Majesty and Love. These are my top 20 new worship songs of 2012 that all lead me into the Throne Room. (You can also view my entire list on Amazon here.)
1. When Love Was Slain (feat. Crystal Yates, Will Yates & New Nation Music) by Jennie Lee Riddle This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave. “When Love Was Slain” is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives and acknowledging that “I am freedom’s slave.” The case of those that are the servants of sin is sad, but thanks be to God it is not hopeless. You can make the decision to admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and came to die as a sinless Savior on our behalf, and choose to make Him the Lord of your life. What a wonderful, loving and gracious God that we serve. I am so thankful to Jesus for saving me. John 8:36 says, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Amen to that!
2. The Kingdom by Starfield Just like The City Harmonic's hit song "Manifesto," "The Kingdom" is the type of song I wish I was singing at my church right now. The song boldly declares a statement of faith: "we have come to testify, God is surely great, love is like a river wide, let everyone beneath His skies, lift their voice and sing, for the Kingdom of our God carries on, carries on, carries on. His Kingdom is inside of you, it's everywhere you are." Amen to that! This worship anthem is just the type of infusion that the church needs with its honesty and bold lyrics. I get totally swept up by the bridge, "everybody sing Hallelujah!!"
3. O My Soul by Audrey Assad Have a box of tissues handy as I bawl like a baby every time I listen to this amazing song. "O My Soul" keeps the emotional flow of my favorite album Heart going as Audrey beautifully sings during her piano-based ballad, "don't lie to yourself, o my soul, just love your God, your worries will never love you, they'll leave you all alone, but your God will not forsake you, o my soul." Oh my, the tears just flow as I worship along with Audrey. The song is a flawless and emotional depiction of the beauty and majesty of our Creator's "Heart."
4. Come To Me (Feat. Jenn Johnson) by Bethel Music feat. Jenn Johnson This new worship song "Come To Me," is from the new Bethel Music album The Loft Sessions. I considered Be Lifted High among the best worship albums of 2011 and based on "Come To Me," I expect big things for Bethel Music in 2012. The song is sung tenderly by Jenn Johnson from the perspective of God singing over us--"I am the Lord your God...no evil will conquer you, steady now your heart...lift up your weary head, I Am with you, wherever you go, come to Me, I'm all you need...come to Me, I'm your everything! There is incredible comfort and biblical Truth in this song and Jenn's passionate vocals will have you hanging on every word.
5. Image of God by Christa Wells "Image of God" by Christa Wells & Nicole Witt opens with a stirring violin part, and is an incredibly tender worship offering to God and a beautiful song. The song has a gorgeous blend of violin, piano and Christa's stellar vocals. I really love the chorus--"we come in pieces, we come in fragments, we come discolored to the foot of the Cross...our Maker sees us, all that we have been, bonds us together...the image of God." The song is profound and moving. If you like prayerful songs that bring you to the Throne Room in worship like "Blessings" by Laura Story and "Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant, then don't miss out on this incredible song for the Church. 6. Second Chance by Rend Collective Experiment "Second Chance" is one of the best worship songs I've ever heard. I'm completely convicted by the strong lyrics and find immense comfort in this song filled with biblical truth. I am especially comforted by the truth of the lyrics of the song--"Oh Your Cross it changes everything, there my world begins again with You, Oh Your Cross it's where my hope re-starts, A second chance is Heaven's Heart." Amen!
7. Let Me Feel You Shine by David Crowder*Band "Let Me Feel You Shine" is a great song that stirs my heart and increases my convictions to grow closer to God during my worship and devotional time. We all have our security in that we something we sometimes trust more than God, and this song challenges me to pray more to grow closer to God. The cost of discipleship is to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. God sent Jesus so that we could have light return. As believers that's our story and our challenge to think about how we are reflecting the light of Jesus and how we are spending our time before we die.
8. What Love Is This by Kari Jobe I'm a big fan of transparent and vulnerable lyrics, and this song expresses my thoughts and prayers in a reverence and sweet sincerity delivered by Kari Jobe’s powerful and moving vocals.
9. Into The Glorious by Christy Nockels Christy Nockels' anthemic title track "Into The Glorious" is a surefire hit song with a prayerful refrain reminding me of Brooke Fraser's brilliant and gorgeous song "Shadowfeet," both in music and message. I hang on every note as Christy belts out her "heart's cry" to God--"Out from the ordinary, into the extraordinary...I can hear You calling and inviting me into the glorious."
10. Take My Hand by Lindsay McCaul "Take My Hand" is a guaranteed hit song and has already been featured in a television show. The song showcases not only Lindsay McCaul's gifts as a songwriter, but her shimmering, emotion-laden voice. Lindsay sings this tender and prayerful ballad directly to God, "Didn't You know that I'd be scared, Couldn't You see that I was unprepared...I just need You to take my hand." Lindsay McCaul has pure and strong vocals that remind me of Brooke Fraser and Audrey Assad who are my favorite female vocalists of all time. I consider Lindsay someone to watch out for in 2012 and based on her debut album, she gets my nomination as the best new artist and female vocalist I've heard in the past year.
11. The Altar by Tricia Brock "The Altar" is a stand-out original worship song co-written by husband and wife Tricia Brock and Nick Baumhardt along with Jonathan Lee. I love how transparent and vulnerable these songs get, as "The Altar" has a chorus that wrecks me, "Come to this place, Come seek His face, find the hands of forgiveness, Look into the eyes of Grace, run to Redemption, with tears of joy and pain, let fire fall and purify our hearts, come to the altar, come to His arms."
12. Carry Me To The Cross by Kutless “Carry Me To The Cross” closes out the great new Kutless album Believer with a song of praise to our Father in Heaven crying out “Hallelujah!” We are His first fruits and “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father.” This song is a great way to say “praise to God, You carry me every day, You carry me all the way, You carry me to the Cross.” Amen!
13. Hope by Sarah Macintosh Let me just say this is one of the most captivating albums I've ever heard. Sarah has a vocal sincerity and creativity that rivals Brooke Fraser, Audrey Assad and Sara Groves, who are my top female Christian vocalists of all-time. One of the stand-out moments of the album is the worship song "Hope," where I get completely swept up in the bridge, "We will run, we will laugh, we will dance, we will shout, when You're back for us, You come back for us!!" I sing those words praying for Jesus to return at the top of my lungs. I am a believer and my testimony is that my love for music led me to Jesus Christ due to the Gospel messages of Christian music. This is a great album for your unsaved family and friends.
14. When the Stars Burn Down (feat. Jonathan Lee) by Jennie Lee Riddle I absolutely love Jennie Lee Riddle’s songwriting and this beautiful and stirring worship song co-written with Jonathan Lee. The song has also been recorded by Phillips, Craig & Dean and Travis Cottrell. I really appreciate Jennie’s insight into the song especially as I sing along with the biblical truths throughout this song, especially the incredible bridge: “There will come a day, standing face to face, In a moment we will be like Him, He will wipe our eyes dry, Take us up to His side, And forever we will be His, Singing blessing and honor, glory and power, forever to our God.” The song title says a lot, “when” not “if” the stars burn down.
15. 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) by Matt Redman "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman really excites me as a worshipper and musically is my favorite song on this great album, the most complete album by Redman in my opinion. I would love to sing this song with fellow believers as the song has great energy and reminds me of "I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever" by Delirious as Matt and the congregation declares in unity, "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, Oh my soul worship His Holy Name, Sing like never before, Oh my soul, I'll worship Your Holy Name."
16. For Your Splendor by Christy Nockels "For Your Splendor" and "Into The Glorious" are absolutely incredible and personal prayers flawlessly delivered by Christy's sweet and sincere vocals. I'm emotionally moved by the chorus of "For Your Splendor," as it addresses my heart's cry to be found in Christ: "With my roots deep in You, though I'm small I'll still be standing in the storm, and I'll grow up strong and beautiful all for Your splendor Lord."
17. How Great You Are (feat. Jared Anderson) by The Sonflowerz Some of the The Sonflowerz songs on By Faith could be added to church worship services including "How Great You Are." My favorite part of the song is the bridge which declares "Let my whole life be to You a sacrifice." Amen! I'm a big fan of transparent and vulnerable lyrics, and this album is chock-full of that type of prayerful song, and many of the songs include Brit-rock type guitar riffs as the sisters are most influenced musically by legendary and recently retired worship band Delirious, one of my all-time favorite artists. "How Great You Are" was co-written with and features Jared Anderson from Desperation Band.
18. Strong God by Desperation Band Jon Egan from Desperation Band’s mission is all about writing and singing songs that reflect what it means to have freedom in Christ. This great new worship song “Strong God” really sets me in the proper mindset to praise God for His amazing gift of Creation and for loving me so much that He gave His life away for all that was lost. I love singing out the lyrics: “Father to the fatherless, Defender of the weak, Freedom for the prisoner, We sing, This is God in His holy place, This is God clothed in love and strength, Sing out, lift your voice and cry out, Awesome is our strong God, mighty is our God!” Amen!
19. The Same Loveby Paul Baloche In "The Same Love," Baloche softly sings "the same Love that set the captives free The same love that opened eyes to see, Is calling us all by name, You are calling us all by name, The same God that spread the heavens wide, the same God that was crucified, Is calling us all by name, You are calling us all by name." Jesus is ever true to His Word. What He spoke on earth, He affirms in heaven. The Word is a message of grace. We can all take comfort in the Truth expressed in this song which comes directly from God’s Word: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Amen to that!
20. You Know Me (Feat. Steffany Frizzell) by Bethel Music feat. Steffany Frizzell "You Know Me" stops me in my tracks as Steffany Frizzell slays me with her confessional and prayerful vocal style, especially in the bridge--"nothing is hidden from Your sight, wherever I go You find me, You know every detail of my life, cause You are God and You don't miss a thing." That biblical Truth comes right from Psalm 139 and there is great comfort in knowing Jesus and being known by Him in every detail of our lives. Amen to that!
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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