Friday, August 31, 2007

Vertical Encouragement

Christian lyrics can generally divided into two categories. 1. Lyrics that are horizontal, or directed towards people, and 2. Lyrics that are vertical, or directed towards God. Most Holy Hip-hop music would fall into the horizontal category. At Lampmode Recordings, most of what we've done has been horizontal. Our mission statement is to "highlight the character of God while spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and a Biblical worldview through Hip-hop culture." Making horizontal Christ-centered music with the aim of gospel proclamation and Biblical exhortation has served our mission well. However, the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I long to both hear and write lyrics that are more vertical in nature.

Part of why the Psalms deeply connect with so many believers is that they often chronicle the real life experiences of God's people as He interacts with them. The Psalms were breathed out by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21). He is the same Spirit who indwells God's church today. He causes the Psalms to resonate deeply with us because we share a common experience with God. Of course, the details may be different, but God's people in all ages have common experiences, such as joy in God's salvation, desire for God's glory, humility before God's greatness, guilt before God's holiness, gratitude for God's goodness and mercy, etc.

It's always a great encouragement for me when I hear other believers articulate the very same things that I've experienced with God. Ironically, it's often other Christians' vertical communication that gives me the most encouragement. As I peer into their prayer closet. In my heart, I'm saying "Amen. That's the aroma of Christ! We are interacting with the same God and He's producing the same effects in me. I'm not crazy!" lol. An awesome example of this, by the way, is a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett. I highly recommend it. This book has been a great blessing in my own prayer life.

But anyway, the following is part of a song from an upcoming project that I'm working on. The song in its entirety is a song of praise to God for His salvation in Christ. This part of the song is basically a prayer of praise and confession to God in rhyme form. I hope it encourages you.

Excerpt from "Throne of Grace"
by shai linne
produced by Vessels of Mercy

In the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of the Lord Jesus, I just wanna cry out before the throne of grace to the Father...

Heavenly Father, it's in the name of Jesus I pray
He is the way- for His sake, please receive what I say
First things first, blessed be Your Holy name
There's none like You; You stand alone and You reign
Lord, you know my frame- You remember that I'm dust
Jesus, who overcame- It's in Him I put my trust
No confidence in the flesh, it's obvious I'm a mess
No doubt- much more a mess than what I can see manifest

I confess that I daily fall short of Your glory
I've failed so many times- My sin's always before me
I take time to ponder the opportunities I've squandered
And how I'm prone to wander from here to yonder
My foolish, restless heart clings to dear idols
Which could never satisfy me- they're mere trifles
Like David said, You hem me in behind and before
You convict me of the sin that I've been trying to ignore
Lord, you see my immaturity, You see my insecurity
You see all my impurity- How long will You endure with me?
My heart's laid before You- stark naked, undressed
I pray that You would become greater and that I'd become less

Yes, when I see Jesus and His inherent loveliness
I'm reminded of my own comparative nothingness
And actually, I'm as primitive as can be
Compared to His magnificent, infinite majesty
You've shown me the glory of Christ- He's so Holy
My only hope is that You look upon the lowly
So I humble myself as I appear at Your throne
Not based on my righteousness, but Christ's merits alone
I'm crying out for mercy as I magnify Your name
You amplified the pain of the Lamb of God who was slain
So truly, I only have one request that will suit me:
Please open up my eyes to better behold His beauty
In Jesus name, Amen.

grace and peace,


andrew travis pantazi said...

It is very true that we must be focused on God. This reminds me of John MacArthur's book on prayer that I'm reading, "Alone with God" because in it MacArthur talks about how our lives should be in prayer. We should be praying without ceasing in all that we are doing. In all things, we should be communicating with God. This would obviously include songs of praise so this sounds like a great song because of its truth in it's praises and the worshipful attitude it resonates in the lyrics. I pray God can continue to use you to praise Him.
God bless,
andrew travis pantazi

Gabriel said...

Very nice Shai!

Will this be on Storiez or another project that you are working on?