Contemporary worship leader and recording artist Laura Hackett Park as well as the worship team of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, Missouri have breathed several new worship anthems into the Church from their annual onething Live conferences: "You Won't Relent," "You Satisfy My Soul," "The Gift," "So Come,” and "Pour My Love on You."
The Secret Place is a profound listening experience. It soothes, moves, and challenges listeners. The eternal love of Jesus is beautifully expressed in these compelling songs that’ll overwhelm your heart, mind, and soul.
Opening track "Shalom" features a worshipful refrain and Laura's strong vocal delivery. When Laura passionately sings the song, I hear a prayer of gratitude and commitment to lift God's name high in her voice. She desires to give her gifts back to Him. I had the chance to speak with Laura about “Shalom.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
It’s a long journey with this song. I feel like every believer struggles with fear because that’s the enemy’s first line of attack. He wants us to have doubts about our future. Satan doesn’t know the future; only what God has revealed. That’s what’s been part of my own journey: how to discern which voice I’m listening to in my life.
One way the Lord has helped me overcome this obstacle was by learning about shalom. Shalom is a Hebrew word that means peace, wholeness, prosperity, and so on. But, shalom is more than just abstract peace that comes upon you. It’s part of who He is, the spirit of peace. As previously mentioned, shalom is a complete wholeness, body, soul, and spirit.
On my last album, I sang about being under the shadow of God’s wings. I feel like He comforted me. Recently, I’ve realized that I can live in the secret place of His presence and be trained for war at the same time. This has been a full circle theme in my life (my 2010 single, “I Put on Christ,” addresses being trained for war).
“Shalom” is about receiving the Holy Spirit here with us when we’re going through tough circumstances. Psalm 91 was part of what inspired me to write this song. Isaiah 43 stood out to me as well.
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Isaiah 43:2(NKJV): “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”
Psalm 91:1-2(NKJV): "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
Deuteronomy 31:6(NKJV): "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."
John 10:10(ESV): "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
1 Peter 2:9(NKJV): "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
Romans 8:28(VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."
Romans 8:38-39(NIV): "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
What is the takeaway message?
The song’s chorus came out in a spontaneous worship set that I started singing, and the Lord led me to Exodus 14:20, the scripture that talks about the fire by night and cloud by day that stood between the Israelites and the Egyptians. This is a picture of how the Lord can keep us in a place where the enemy can’t even see us.
This is a dear song to me. I sing it over myself, and my kids sing it around the house. For many years, I was living on the defense. I feel like the Lord has been saying, “I want to teach you how to live in My glory cloud. I want to teach you how to live in My presence, the secret place.”
My hope is that The Secret Place EP helps listeners enter a moment with God. I want it to be an invitation for others to just talk to Him and see what happens because God is in the business of wowing us and drawing us close. I want people to know God. I want them to feel peace. And, I want them to be home and reconciled to Him.
Shalom, shalom The Lord is in your midst Shalom, shalom
The Lord will fight for you
He won't let go
Through fire and wind and storm Shalom, shalom
The Lord is in your midst
Your glory like a cloud
Is covering me now The eyes of my enemies Cannot see me With safety You surround Your people as a fire And my heart is overcome Because I know You see me
Shalom shalom The Lord is in your midst Shalom shalom The Lord will fight for you
I pray for peace that passes understanding, and as so, I really connect with the lyrics, “Shalom shalom/The Lord will fight for you.” One takeaway for me about this song is that God put it on Laura’s heart to ask Him to release her from depression—and she was obedient.
She spent time in prayer with God to overcome her depression. And, He healed her. This healing is available to all of us. Take whatever struggle you’re dealing with and lay it at the feet of Jesus.
During the coronavirus pandemic, as everyone deals with anxiety about health and finances, you can run to Jesus and know that His love surrounds you. Let God change how you think.
Step out in faith and trust in God—even when you want to give up or can't see where you're going. We aren't the source of the power to overcome our challenges. God is our greater source that brings true power. As 2 Corinthians 12 states, in our weakness, God's strength is perfect. Remember, that if God is for us, who can be against us?
Laura’s faith is deeply rooted in the Word of God, which is how she was inspired to write “Shalom” and come out of darkness and deep depression into His marvelous light.
As a result, as listeners who can relate to every word Laura is passionately singing, we can commune with her in knowing that she needs these words as much as we need them as listeners. That's the beauty of the bond we have as believers.
“Shalom” is a daily prayer, asking God to come and change our hearts and our lives. Change in such a way that our behavior and our lifestyle flow from God, living inside of us. Only Jesus can give us our true identities.
This song is truly praying in God’s will, as He desires the best for His children and for us to join in and pray along, “He won’t let go/Through fire and wind and storm/Shalom shalom/The Lord is in your midst.”
Jesus commands each of us to trust Him completely. Trusting Jesus assures us that we don't have to be afraid. So, even when we don’t feel it, pray these words along with Laura: “Your glory like a cloud/Is covering me now/The eyes of my enemies/Cannot see me/With safety, You surround/Your people as a fire/And my heart is overcome/Because I know You see me." 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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