Phases of the Heart: A Philosophy of Worship Music, Part 6

Larry BruceWorship CornerLeave a Comment

Songs of Declaration

All my life you have been faithful
All my life you have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God.

Chorus, “Goodness of God,”
Jenn Johnson / Ed Cash / Jason Ingram / Ben Fielding / Brian Johnson

This Worship Corner is Part 6 in a series to share the process that guides the team in the adding of new material for our worship library. Recently I have endeavored to highlight each of the four “Phases of the Heart” that I use to categorize our worship library. To catch up, please visit

The second phase: Songs of Declaration. This phase of the heart encourages a worshiper into a place where they can praise God for who He is, what He has done, and what we can expect from a God who keeps His promises. If I’m honest, most of the songs in our library are tagged with this category. It should be easy to see why. This is with this phase of the heart that most worshipers should also feel most comfortable as these songs are only stating the truths about “How Great is Our God,” and about all the “Great Things” He has done.

Declaring God’s character and His relationship to us through the blood of Christ is, if I can say it this way, obvious worship. But it is also essential worship. Going forward with the following two phases of worship (which we will get to in the coming months) is hindered without preparing the heart by singing songs of declaration in concert with the whole body of Christ. By opening our hearts with declaration, we break through the self and focus on the Spirit that moves us forward in worship to a place where we can receive grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

I mentioned “Great Things” above as an example because it points to Jesus as the hero of our salvation story, who conquered the grave, and who breaks the chains that hold us captive to sin and death. It is a great song of declaration. But it also is a call to worship, or song of invitation, as it begins with the “come, let us worship our King / come let us bow at his feet.” I wanted to share this specifically because there are plenty of songs that are hybrids, or that can exist in multiple categories.

Consider also the song, “Goodness Of God.” Every line of that song conveys the relationship between a worshiper who knows the faithfulness of God and desires to sing in remembrance of Him whose goodness pursues us as Psalm 23:6 is echoed as the crescendo bridge. As we sing, especially together, we allow God to occupy the heart and fill it. What comes next is our response. But I will save that for next month.

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