#1070 - "Praises" by Woodside Worship
NRT's Kevin Davis talks to the worship band about the meaning behind their recent song

Posted: May 20, 2021 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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From my first listen, I was totally captivated by the studio album Response by Woodside Worship, a ministry of Woodside Bible Church in the Detroit, Michigan area. Their new single, “Praises” has a worshipful alternative rock vibe and captures the enthusiastic and worshipful tone of their worship album, which is centered on songs in response to and adoration of God. “Praises” is in that same vein.
I'm really engaged by Woodside singers Cathryn Gibson’s and Kristen Diephuis’s emotional vocals and the deep, prayerful lyrics throughout the new song. “Praises” is written, based on Revelation 4. It sings, “The elders bow down low and lay their crowns before the Holy One, the Holy One/The one who always was, is and is to come—Jesus.” I had the chance to speak with Cathryn and Kristen about “Praises.”

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Cathryn: Initially, our intent was to write a song together that could be sung on Sunday mornings by our congregation at Woodside Bible Church. We knew we wanted to write a song about praise. But, the more we thought about what a praise song would look like, the more we felt like our words were falling short. 

What we realized was nothing we could write to God would be as glorious as what He deserves. Our efforts can never be enough to pay for what Jesus did for us on the cross. Basically, our sacrifices are finite, but God is infinitely holy.
Kristen: We wrote the song four years ago, and we sang it at church a few times. But, we never got around to recording it due to leadership changes. Our head pastor retired. Also, Woodside Worship put the recording on hold for a season. 
A year and a half ago, on a three-hour flight for work, I came across a recording one of our husbands had made from a Sunday morning service. When I listened to it, I found myself worshipping on the plane. Then, I felt a heavy burden inspired by the Holy Spirit to share this song. I reached out to Cathryn and told her about the experience. We’re excited to see how God is glorified through this song.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Revelation 4:1-11 (NIV): “After this, I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. 
Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also, in front of the throne, there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. 
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front, and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. 
Day and night, they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’ Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever. 
They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will, they were created and have their being.’”
Hebrews 13:15 (AMP): “Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.”
What is the takeaway message?
Cathryn: I love what you hear—our voices singing in unison—when you listen to “Praises.” It reflects the chorus in heaven and how we’ll be singing the song’s words to God. 
We wrote this song based on Revelation 4 (we have another song based on that passage). The whole chapter is applicable to this song. It sets the stage for what it’s like in heaven and there’s a weightiness to that. When you read that whole passage you understand who God is better, and how holy He is, and what the setting around Him looks like and sounds like. 
Revelation 4 reflects a vision that God gave Jesus’s disciple John. In the vision, John sees these amazing living creatures with elders surrounding God’s throne. God doesn’t want perfect words sung back to Him, He wants our hearts and true worship. 
Our heart for this song is for us to realize that our inadequacy to measure up is great, and there’s no way to bring the Lord a perfect offering from our imperfect selves. It’s about the truth of who God is and giving Him what He deserves.
Kristen: We intentionally used Jesus’s name in the song’s bridge to make it clear that He is the one who is worthy of our praise. Jesus is the only one deserving of our praise. We hope this song spreads to wherever God leads—whether it’s for personal worship time or in church services. We’re excited to see how God can move mountains using this song.
What could I give to the one who gave it all for me? 
What could I pour out on Him who poured out everything? 
I have nothing but to praise Your holy name 
I have nothing but to lift my voice and sing 
All praises to the one who gave it all for me 
(And) Blessing be poured upon the lamb of God
Be lifted high
How great are Your mercies, God, that I can speak Your name? 
Let alone to come before You covered by Your grace 
I have nothing but to praise Your holy name 
I have nothing but to lift my voice and sing 
All praises to the one who gave it all for me 
(And) Blessing be poured upon the lamb of God 
Be lifted high 
The elders bow down low and lay their crowns before the Holy One, the Holy One 
The one who always was is, and is to come – Jesus, Jesus 
The elders bow down low and lay their crowns before the Holy One, the Holy One 
The one who always was is, and is to come – Jesus, Jesus 
The one who always was is, and is to come
Jesus, Jesus

All Praises to the one who gave it all for me 

(And) Blessing be poured upon the lamb of God 
Be lifted high 
(Be lifted high. You alone. You alone) 
(And) Blessing be poured upon the lamb of God 
Be lifted high
Closing Thoughts
Reminding me of songs like “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe and “Who Could” by Meredith Andrews, you'll be worshipping our King Jesus right along with Cathryn and Kristen. 
You can sincerely pray these biblical and prayerful words and cling to the truth: “Praises/All praises to the one who gave it all for me/Blessing be poured upon the/lamb of God/Be lifted high”
“Praises” takes me to the throne room in heaven. I love how prayers and songs of praise are a communal experience that we can all share. The Lord wants us to long for heaven. When we've been indwelled by the Holy Spirit, we have a personal relationship with the comforter and a peace that surpasses understanding to know that this fallen world isn't all that we’re living for.
We're promised an eternity with God, which is so much greater than anything we've experienced on earth. The biblical descriptions of heaven are so glorious. And, this song gives listeners a foretaste of heaven. 
As the scripture and famous hymn repeats, "Holy, Holy, Holy," God often speaks to us three times. Biblical scholars consider the number three as something that is used to get our attention, draw emphasis, or show completion, as God is three in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Examples in scripture include Jesus asking Peter three times if he loved Him after Peter had denied the Lord three times, and giving Peter a vision three times of unclean animals on a sheet. Biblically, we know we will be singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" day after day, and night after night, which emphasizes God’s sacredness.
We need to fully trust God. Proclaim this faith statement with confidence: "Blessing be poured upon the lamb of God." What a powerful expression of what it means to accept that God never leaves or forsakes us. He's all we need.
"Praises" totally moves me in my personal worship time. It's an incredible song for the church. You yourself will be raising your heart and hands in worship along with it. It feels like at times as Christians we're living on another planet and we're fighting all the time. We all know why—because we weren't made for this world.
Writing and singing songs of worship isn't always easy when life isn’t going well. We're called to worship and we need to be obedient. We’re dependent on God for every breath. A state of brokenness keeps us on our knees. It helps us realize how much we need God. Choosing to worship when we don't feel like it deepens your faith. 
Even during our greatest struggles, we need to find joy and peace from knowing God. This song for the church reminds us that the pain of this world is temporary. It reminds us to live for heaven. As Christians—the bride of Christ—we'll worship Him forever, singing to our bridegroom.
The song's enthusiasm and energy are infectious and a great way to commit to King Jesus. So many people can relate to the song's message. I was immediately hooked by its emotional and prayerful tone. 
Take heart and stand amazed. Be amazed by God's presence. And know that His Holy Spirit is indwelling in each of us who are followers of Jesus. The Word of the Lord doesn’t return void. And, this song puts God’s Word in the mouths of believers reminding them of the truth of God’s promise: “The one who always was is and is to come – Jesus, Jesus.” 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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