The Worship Series: Lord I Need You
Written by Christy Nockles, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Maher © sixsteps Music
"The Worship Series" is a project that's very near and dear to my heart. Combining my passions for music, theology, worship, and teaching, I've created a short series of articles designed to deepen our collective understanding of modern worship music. Each highlights a specific worship song, and seeks to find its theological and biblical roots. I've also included original videos for each song, to give my own "stripped down" take on the song. It's my hope that these articles help mold and shape the way we approach modern worship music, and give us firm theological ground from which to sing about our God. Enjoy!
The beauty of this song is in its simplicity. We begin from a posture of confession, stating that God is the ultimate source of our peace and rest. From here, we move into a simple yet powerful chorus:Lord I need You, Every Hour I Need You
As we rest in this reliance, we remember that it is solely by the grace of God that we are saved and sustained. God's grace is the foundation of our freedom, and that freedom enables us to live a testimony of worship that points others to Jesus.
The bridge of this song stirs us to sing the truths we've been dancing around in the first half of the song. Teach my song to rise to You, when temptation comes my way. We acknowledge that we are reliant on God, even such that it is God who shapes the songs we sing. Our worship, just like our testimony, is a product of God's grace, and we're reminded here that this is the reason we sing. Worship. Is. Formational.
Why Sing It?
Something unique can occur when we join other Christians in lifting up these truths. Even though we're singing in the first person (I need you, not we need you), we still experience God's transforming grace as a community. As the song suggests, the record of God's grace can be seen most clearly in our testimony. You're my one defense, my righteousness. As we live our lives, the very act of depending on Him tells others about who He is.
The nuance of this idea can get complicated, but this is a very important reason to sing this song! As we (individually) declare that our sole dependence is on God, we (corporately) display a community of broken people who are united by the object of their worship and the character of their Savior. I need Jesus, you need Jesus, and the song allows us to experience personal confession and corporate worship simultaneously.
While we should acknowledge and admire the beauty of this song's simplicity, we must also pay close attention to the underlying truths behind these words. There are some sobering realities at work in the bridge:
Teach my song to rise to you, when temptation comes my way, and when I cannot stand I'll fall on You, Jesus You're my hope and stay.
These are incredible statements of truth, and I believe they perfectly align with Scripture; but let's not miss what's being discussed here. When we sing about temptation coming and our inability to stand, we're not talking about abstract realities. These are all but guaranteed in the Christian walk, and the bridge helps us come to terms with that. It's "when" they come, not "if".
It's very easy to rely on God when life is good. Our flesh naturally inclines toward comfort; and when we're comfortable with life, our hearts are more likely to sing "Lord I need You...to keep making me happy".
We ask God to shape our worship, or to teach my song, not necessarily because we don't know how to worship (though this certainly could be the case), but because we anticipate faith-shaking trials. What we're really asking for in this bridge is disaster-prep. Knowing that hardship brings out the worst in us, this song teaches us to shore up our defenses, train our hearts in Godliness, and make Jesusour sustainer us when we inevitably fall.
Teach My Song to Rise to You,
...When Temptation Comes My Way and When I cannot Stand...
I Will Fall on You
A Biblical Foundation
I think a fitting Biblical parallel for this song is the final section of 1 Peter. Here we're encouraged that God's ultimate plan is for our good. The Bible acknowledges the hardships of this life, but also encourages us with the future glory of a world redeemed by Christ.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11.