#733 - "I Surrender" by All Sons & Daughters
David and Leslie of All Sons & Daughters offer the old story that inspired their newest song.

All Sons & Daughters' last release, their self-titled album, feels completely seamless and intentional. The album includes standout recordings like the hauntingly accessible "Christ Be All around Me," "You Will Remain" and the lose yourself-in-the-moment singability of "Great Are You Lord." It was my 2014 Worship Album of the Year.

In anticipation of their forthcoming new release Poets & Saints, they have released "I Surrender," beautifully setting the tone with Leslie's and David's distinctive and emotive vocals. I'm really engaged by the deep, prayerful and vertical lyrics. If you like All Sons & Daughters' previous hit songs of worship, then you'll also enjoy this song. This is one of my favorite songs of the year. 

"I Surrender" has a catchy and engaging feel, and the theme is a great reminder and challenge to surrender all for Christ in our worldly culture and society. This a great song which I would love to sing with fellow believers and profess the Truth that without Jesus, we are nothing. I had the chance to speak with David and Leslie about "I Surrender."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

David: The entire record was inspired by a lot of different people, and Francis of Assisi was one of the greatest inspirations. We knew the most about him going into the writing process for the whole project. We were excited to dive into his life and look at it deeper. We went to Assisi, and we had the opportunity to hang out with a Franciscan monk. He told us more about his life that we didn't know. 

We walked the grounds and sang his song "All Creatures of our God and King," which he wrote on this hill where they would take a prayer walk there. We soaked in so much stuff that when we came back we were inspired in many ways. This song came from looking at the old hymn "I Surrender All," and when we thought about Francis' life, it was a perfect match up. Francis had money and everything that he could desire, but God began to shift his heart and his spirit towards rebuilding the church. The thought of dying to ourselves and dying to our own desires and thinking about the hymn meshed up so beautifully. 

Jason Ingram joined in with us and helped us finish the song. For the album, we looked at a lot of old hymns and old poetry and things that were closely tied to the people or written by the people we based the songs on. We felt like "I Surrender All" really connected strongly with Francis of Assisi and what he was about. It all started from there.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Isaiah 6:8 (NASB): "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"

Luke 22:42 (NKJV): "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."

Acts 20:24 (NKJV): "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV): "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

What is the takeaway message?

Leslie: This is the most thematically diverse record we've done because it is ten songs based on ten different people. The songs are pulled from quotes or hymns or something connected to their stories. A lot of them had heartbreak, heartache and brokenness. A lot of them had parent problems. I think we can all identify in some way with a layer of brokenness in our own stories that cause us dig deeper with God. 

The thing we hope people take away from this album is not only a deeper desire to understand the stories of people who have lived before us, because that's one element, but there are layers of stories and content that we hope energize people the way we were. We hope that in and through their stories, they can find moments they identify with in these songs, as songs become the milestones of our stories. The reason that we still sing these songs from forever ago is that they have been milestones in people's journeys, and they keep going back to them and singing them and referencing a time in their life that mattered. Our hope is that these songs are some new milestones for people that connect to the ancient story of redemption. 

In addition to the album, we have 8 to 10 minute video conversations about these poets and saints and their stories. There's a participant's guide, and our pastor wrote a book as well. There's a seven week Bible study curriculum that goes with the album also. We want people to be affected in their own way. By reading Francis' story, is God going to ask me to give away my clothes and give away my possessions? The encouragement isn't that your story becomes the exact story of these poets and saints, but to find those similarities. 

For me, what is the thing I need to surrender to God? Maybe it is worry. Maybe it isn't as tangible as money or possessions but something that stays hidden in the recesses of our minds. How do we surrender those things to God? For this song, there is a constant call for surrender as Jesus followers of our own desires and our plans and purpose. It is a timeless message.

The riches of this world will fade
The treasures of our God remain
Here I empty myself to owe this world nothing
And find everything in You

The riches of this world will fade
The treasures of our God remain
Here I empty myself to owe this world nothing
And find everything in You

I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You

Take my life a sacrifice
You alone I'm satisfied
Here I empty myself to owe this world nothing
And find everything in You

Ohh, Ohh, I find everything in You

I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You

Not my will, but Yours be done
Not my strength, but Yours alone
Nothing else, but You alone
I find everything in You

I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You
I surrender, I surrender, I surrender all to You

The song challenges me to think about what I'm allowing to rule in my heart instead of giving myself completely to God. This song is all about trusting in God and confessing to Him and others when you fail or have struggles and pray "Here I empty myself, to owe this world nothing, and find everything in You." Lay your doubts and struggles at the feet of Jesus, and He'll take them from you and release you from those burdens. God wants to hear from you. 

This is a great and challenging song for believers. We raise our hands to celebrate and in surrender. We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God's ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love.

This is a wonderful song of encouragement and a prayer to ask God to break your pride, live redemption's story and move closer to who we're meant to be in Christ. This song connects with my favorite passage of the Bible and my life verse, Isaiah 6:8. This verse stirs me to answer my calling as a Christian to do God's will. I'm consistently praying that I have the courage to say, "Here I am, Lord send me" when God calls me. This song is a great prayer and answer to that call. What is one area in your life that you feel God may be calling you to exercise faith, even though you doubt your strength?

Everything we do is a ministry. Lift up your voice and your life to God and submit to Him. My hope for this song is for people to pray along and live out these words. Our weaknesses are nothing to hide. In fact, because of our weaknesses God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed. I sing this song at the top of my lungs and proclaim to God: "Not my will but Yours be done, not my strength but Yours alone, nothing else but You alone, I find everything in You." Amen to that!

Listen to the song and story below.




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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