Refreshing Original Worship
Posted January 30, 2018
By jaysmusikblog, Staff Reviewer
In 1999, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) inaugurated 24/7 prayer and worship. Two years later, IHOPKC began Forerunner Music, their home record label, to release the songs and prophetic worship birthed by artists in the prayer movement. Besides phenomenal releases by their artists, Forerunner Music has given us several compilations that highlight some of their up-and-coming artists, greatest hits and special nights of worship. These albums included Joy, Constant, Majestic, Immersed and Simple Devotion.
It's been several years since one of these compilations, but now Forerunner Music brings us Fully Alive, a beautiful worship album recorded live with a studio audience. Like previous compilations, the album features staple IHOPKC Worship artists (including Jonas and Laura Hackett Park, Jaye Thomas, Jon Thurlow and Chris Tofilon) and offers a refreshing mix of up-and-coming prophetic worshipers.
IHOPKC instrumentalist Sammie Lee opens Fully Alive with "Awake My Soul," featuring stunning vocals from Odeta. Fully orchestrated, the modern-day Psalm is a powerful call for our soul to praise Jesus with our entire being. Abi Bennett follows with her impressive debut titled "Fingerprints." Strong drums and full guitars create a soundtrack that is hard not to crank up. This prayerful song asks Jesus to be magnified through us, reminding us that "my life has the fingerprints of Christ."
A favorite IHOPKC worship leader, Laura Hackett Park, leads "Heart's Celebration." Energetic and uplifting, this track is a snapshot of her Onething sets, as she not only brings the original song but perfectly follows up with a spontaneous moment titled "Loved By You." In both songs, Laura sings about giving our whole being in worship in exchange for the great love of God. Almost the same musically, Jaye Thomas leads an upbeat cry for God's glory to invade our lives titled "Fill Us With Glory." Especially moving is the bridge, where Jaye's flawless vocals exclaim "God of glory / voice like thunder/ come and show us mighty wonders!"
Brandon Oaks, who made his first appearance on last year's Onething Live: All Cry Glory, returns with "Drawing Close." The deeply worshipful track simply states "because of Your love, I'm drawing closer to Your heart." Not only are Brandon's vocals perfect, but the slight techno beat and soothing background effects make "Drawing Close" one of my personal favorites off the Fully Alive album.
Next, Jonas Park leads "Grateful Love," which sings of how God's love has stolen our hearts, and the only fitting response is for us to give Him our love back. Laura's angelic vocals mix stunningly with her husband's in the full-string bridge, where together they powerfully sing "Grateful love is my unending song / I pour out all my love here at Your feet!"
The most upbeat track on Fully Alive follows: "Forevermore," led by David Forlu. An African techno beat mixes with the simple truth, "You're the same yesterday, today, and You'll be forevermore," making a fun celebration of God's faithfulness.
"Torches" is led by Lauren Alexandria. Much like her popular "Victorious in Love," this track is made very full with strong guitars and pounding drums as Lauren prophetically sings that "we're gonna shine with light / we're gonna rise up without fear like burning torches in the night." Newer artist Olivia Buckles appears next with her angelic vocals on "All I Need," simply declaring the timeless truth that "all I need is found in You."
"How Awesome Are Your Works," strong and based heavily on Scripture, is beautifully sung by Laura Hackett Park. It is also the only track on Fully Alive that features supportive vocals from Jon Thurlow. In the techno bridge, Jon sings, "Miracles start with praise / Obstacles swept away / This is why I was made: to worship You!" This moving bridge is a highlight not only of the track, but also of the Fully Alive album as a whole.
Chris Toflin's "Jesus My Brother" beautifully declares "Jesus, oh my brother/ I love You more than ever / from the cross Your love is carrying me now." My favorite IHOPKC Worship leader Justin Rizzo follows with "Come Now Joy," which is very simple and hymn-like with little else than acoustic guitar and backing group vocals.
Celebrating our God who breaks chains, "Freedom Song" is led by Lauren Alexandria. The bridge is a powerful moment where background vocals all sing "Amen!" as Lauren prophetically sings, "I see the darkest story shining with Your light / I see the King of glory breaking up the night!"
Jaye Thomas perfectly closes the Fully Alive album with "I Have Decided." Beautiful strings mix with Jaye's phenomenal gospel vocals in a passionate cry to follow Jesus wherever He goes: "I have decided to leave all I have, all I've known / I have decided to follow wherever You go." As moving as this closing track is, it's hard to not repeat!
The Bottom Line: Fully Alive is a refreshing worship album of original tracks from the IHOPKC worship leaders both well-known and up-and-coming. Each track finds the prophetic worshipers at their best with phenomenal vocals, heart-felt cries of hunger and fun celebrations of God's love.
For Fans Of: Onething Live, Audrey Assad, Misty Edwards
Song to Download Now:
"Grateful Love" (feat. Jonas and Laura Hackett Park) (Get it on iTunes here.)
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