How do you define reverence? Each person you ask will have a different answer. To me, reverence is respect, honor, exaltation, fear, awe and wonder.
In music, we sing often about how God has redeemed our story and delivered us from the evil one. Testimony through music is powerful and heavily recommended. However, we cannot forget that music is also for praising God's name. Think of Psalms 8:1: "Oh Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens."
This feature counts down the Top 10 reverent songs that celebrate God for who he is: Holy, Savior, Redeemer, the Chosen One and the Lamb.
10. "You're the Lion of Judah" by Robin Mark
The Book of Revelation heavily inspired "You're the Lion of Judah," a reverent song written by Christian singer/songwriter Robin Mark. Some of the lyrics mirror Revelation 5:13: "And I heard every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying: 'To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever.'"
Robin Mark sings: "And the angels will cry / 'Hail the Lamb who was slain for the world, rule in power' / And the earth will reply / 'You shall reign as the King of all kings / And the Lord of all lords.'"
This worship song, complete with traditional Celtic instruments, was recorded live at Christian Fellowship Church in Belfast, Ireland.
9. "Awesome God" by Rich Mullins
Before a tragic car accident ended his life, the legendary Rich Mullins penned "Awesome God," a timeless worship song that has been sung in churches for at least two generations. The song's title shows true reverence for God.
The word "awesome" has become a watered-down slang word that we all use when we see something impressive. "Awesome" is an adjective for the word awe: "an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration produced by that which is grand, sublime, and extremely powerful."
God is worthy of awe. We are in awe of him. The lyrics describe Him perfectly. "Our God is an awesome God / He reigns from heaven above / With wisdom, power, and love /Our God is an awesome God."
Hillsong United and Michael W. Smith, as well as other notable artists, have covered Mullins's classic hit.
8. "Glorious" by Paul Baloche
Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame or admiration. Also, glory is defined as adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving. Paul Baloche's song of reverence "Glorious" shows these distinctions: "Glorious my eyes have seen / The glory of the Lord / Glorious He stands above / The rulers of the earth."
In describing the heart behind the song, Paul Baloche said "'Glorious' paints a picture of seeing Jesus for who He is, as the risen Christ and the living God."
7. "Ever Be" by Bethel Music
It is hard to continue to praise God's name in difficult times. Bethel Music's "Ever Be" is a song of reverence because it serves as a reminder that we should continue to revere God with hope and perseverance while living in this broken world. The hook in Bethel Music's reverent song makes this declaration: '"Your praise will ever be on our lips." Worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal of Bethel Music sings: "You will be praised / You will be praised / With angels and saints, we sing worthy are You Lord."
Natalie Grant released a cover of "Ever Be" on her 2015 album Be One. Aaron Shust followed suit with his cover, which was released in early 2016.
6. "Come Holy Spirit" by Vertical Church Band
Those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer all have the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. Oftentimes, we take the Holy Spirit for granted, forgetting that it is our comforter in tough times and our councillor whom helps lead our everyday lives. Meredith Andrews invites the Holy Spirit to take hold of her in the highly reverent "Come Holy Spirit," a song from Vertical Church Band's new album Frontiers: "Come Holy Spirit come / Come rush in like a flood / Come in neverending waves."
5. "Great Are You Lord" by All Sons & Daughters
In an interview with NRT's Kevin Davis, Integrity Music worship leaders David Leonard and Leslie Jordan of the band All Sons & Daughters revealed a strong message of adoration in "Great Are You Lord," a song from their eponymous album: "You give life, You are love / You bring light to the darkness / You give hope, You restore / Every heart that is broken / Great are You, Lord / It's Your breath in our lungs / So we pour out our praise / To You only."
The duo says that the reverent song takes some inspiration from 2 Corinthians 4:6: "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
"Jesus wants us to show our light by demonstrating some of His characteristics to people in need," the band says. "It's great that people are connecting with these songs in church, but my prayer is that 'Great Are You Lord' reflects a lifestyle for believers that they are living out [his word] every day of the week."
4. "No Other Name" / "Saviour King" by Hillsong Worship
For more than over 30 years, the highly influential Hillsong Church has produced countless worship songs that congregations sing in churches worldwide. Two songs in particular, "No Other Name" and "Saviour King" stand out as proclamations that celebrate God's sovereignty.
God has many names: Jehovah, Emmanuel, the Creator of the Universe.
In "No Other Name," Hillsong Worship sings holy is the name of Jesus: "His face shines brighter than the sun / His grace as boundless as His love... / Light of the world reaching out for us / There is no other name / There is no other name / Jesus Christ our God."
For "Saviour King," from the 2007 album All of the Above,Hillsong United sings: "Let now our hearts burn with a flame / A fire consuming all for your Son's holy name / And with the heavens we declare / You are our king / We love you Lord, we worship you / You are our God, you alone are good."
3. "How Great Thou Art" by Carrie Underwood
In the 1950s, George Beverly Shea first popularized "How Great Thou Art," a poem written by Swedish pastor Carl Gustav Boberg in 1885. Since then, many artists such as Paul Brandt, Susan Boyle and the legendary Elvis Presley have released a rendition of this timeless hymn. Carrie Underwood recorded one of the best modern versions of the hymn, which was included on How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites from the Grand Ole Opry. Her vocals clearly connect you to God with awestruck wonder.
"O Lord my God, when I'm in awesome wonder / Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made / I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder / Thy power throughout the universe displayed / Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee / How great Thou art! How great Thou art."
2. "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road
It is a shame that Addison Road parted ways after just a few albums. Luckily, Jenny Simmons has pursued a solo career to share her beautiful voice with the world. One of the band's best songs, "What Do I Know of Holy" from their 2008 eponymous album, sends a clear message that we underestimate God's holiness.
"I guess I thought that I had figured You out / I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about / How You were mighty to save / Those were only empty words on a page / Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be / The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees."
Because we can't see or hear him, it is easy to believe that God is a friend who is on par with us. However, God is our friend--our Father--who is a Holy God, one who must be honoured, respected and worshiped. Addison Road did a brilliant job illustrating this fact in this song.
1. "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin
I think of Joan Osborne's song "One of Us" that asks: "If God had a name, what would it be? / And would you call it to his face / If you were faced with Him in all His glory?" Worship pastors would answer this question by saying God is omniscient (infinite knowledge), omnipotent (unlimited power), omnipresent (present everywhere) and omnibenevolent (perfect goodness).
"Indescribable," a hit penned by singer-songwriter Laura Story and sung by the worship music maestro himself, Chris Tomlin, answers the question with the message that no words can capture God's holiness: "Indescribable, uncontainable / You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name / You are amazing God / All powerful, untameable / Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim / You are amazing God."
To answer Osborne's question, if I saw God in all his glory and splendor, I would drop to my knees in complete awe--no breath, no words, just awe-inspired reverence for the One who made me.
What is your favorite song expressing awe and reverence?
Phill Feltham is a Canadian journalist with over eight years of experience writing and editing content for print and digital media. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, travel, and the power grid. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus. Highlights of Phill's work can be found on his portfolio site PhillFeltham.com and his official blog, The Weekly Wanderer. Phill lives out his faith with his wife, Jodi, in the Greater Toronto Area.
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