Songs can become weapons to unsheathe in moments of stress, fear or joy. When words are hard to express, songs inspire prayer, praise and even help to process pain."
Nick is a husband to Sam, and a father to Judson and Isla. He is Corporate Worship Pastor at St. Pauls Anglican Church Chatswood, a musician, song-writer and producer. He also plays in the Band ‘The Watershed’.
Q: Tell us your 5 favourite Christian songs to sing as men!
Here are some of my ‘favourite’ songs to sing in church. But before you read on, let me explain how I understand ‘favourite’. Rather than sharing songs I like the ‘sound’ of, these are the songs that God has tethered to my heart and call to mind in my life day to day. Their melodies are timeless and match the movements of their words, and they’re easy to sing.
Sing these at church and equip the men of your community with these weapons. All men are called to sing. It is NOT a girly, weak, emo, or pointless exercise. Singing in church and through each day is an essential tool in the belt of every Christian man. Let songs of Truth shape your heart, your work, your decisions, and fuel your joy as we walk this journey to glory together.
1. It Is Well - H. G. Spafford
Have you ever made a unthinkable mistake?
Do you fear the sorrow that this world can contain?
This is what I sing through failure and pain. This song is your voice in that it provides truth to meet two key needs as we face sin, suffering and failure. Firstly, through the cross of Jesus we no longer bear our sin, so the helplessness state and shattering failure of our sins is taken care of. Secondly, through the up and down of life, from start to finish, from here to eternity, God sees our needs, provides, and remains reliable.
‘It Is Well’ might seem like a dismissive statement to our modern ears and can seem unhelpfully optimistic if declared without the sure truth of the gospel: ’My sin (oh the bliss of this glorious thought), my sin (not in part, but the whole) is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more!’. ‘It Is Well’ is the cry of a content soul in the nightmare of our world.
2. Before The Throne Of God Above - C. L. Bancroft
Have you ever doubted your salvation?
Have you ever caught yourself too comfortable in your own holiness, minimising the awesome grace of God in your life?
This is what I sing when I doubt God or struggle with pride. There is no greater assurance of your salvation and current standing before God in a single song than this. Each line answers the needs that only our Holy God can meet. Each verse has value for your soul. And when doubts attack you, sing: ‘When satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there who made an end of all my sin’.
3. Rock Of Ages - A. Toplady
Are you desperate to give you or your family security?
What are you placing your need for security in?
This is the song I sing when I worry and scheme (or whatever version of male anxiety is raging within me). This song is the big picture of your need for safety. It details how God shields you and provides for you - even though you’re deserving of His wrath. And as we work and labour to provide our family’s needs and provide for them, it is so valuable to be able to declare: ‘Not the labours of my hands can fulfil your laws demands. Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone. You must save, and You alone’.
4. Take My Life - F. R. Havergal
What can you bring to to God to offer Him?
What are we blessed with to give God along with the faith He provides?
This is the song I sing when I want to say more than I can think of to God as a prayer of commitment to Him. This song puts our lives, moments, bodies, expressions, wallets, expressions, intentions and desires into God’s hands. In a world where a pantheon of idols are right at our fingertips, it helps that a song can remind us to take captive for the Lord everything we touch in our lives: “Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee”.
5. A Mighty Fortress - M. Luther
Do you see the spiritual battle fought on the fields of your heart?
How do you fight back against the schemes of the devil?
This is the song I sing when I forget where my help comes from. This is a song that announces our help and victory. Through the gospel of truth, God fights through us! His power is great, His victory is sure and He is on our side. Why would we fear the darkest day when: ‘we will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us’. When singing this song, use modern word replacements to engage with your congregations (like exchanging ‘bulwark’ for ‘shield’).