We shared this new song recently at our weekend worship services at Covenant Church. Our pastor was in a 3-week series on our vision (worship, connect, impact), and on this weekend he was preaching on "Core Worship." His text was Psalm 103. 

As I was sitting in the Saturday evening service taking notes, one line from the first verse really captured my imagination as a songwriter:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless His holy name!

The following Monday I sat down at the piano in my church office and began to craft the chorus to the song. The idea that was compelling to me about the line all that is within me, is that it appears to include so much of who we are as a child of God and as a human being. When we come to worship the Lord we bring all that we've been through up to that point in life. That idea is what I had in mind as I sat at the piano and crafted this chorus:

Let all that is within me bless Your name,
every broken part, every breath I take.
All that is within me, all I've been through,
Shepherd of my soul, I can sing to You,
with all that is within me, all that is within me.

Within a couple of weeks I found myself on the treadmill at the gym (a place where I often receive musical inspiration). As I was running I had a lyric and melody idea come to mind. I knew it would fit well as a bridge section:

Every tear, every fear, I don't face them on my own.
Every load, every road of this journey I've been on;
all the joy, all the pain, all that comes my way 
I bring to You; I bring to You.

Though the lyrics began as a description of the past few years of my own personal life I felt like the message captured something more universal that is relevant to all believers. We all experience the struggle and the restoration of our past and present circumstances. With Christ and the community of faith, however, we don't face them alone, we don't bear them alone. We bring all of these life experiences to God in worship. 

The next phase of the creative process came on my day off. Before leaving the house that morning I decided to play around on the piano and see if I could craft a verse to this new song. I sat down, opened my bible to Psalm 103 and began to play around with a simple chord progression. Before long a verse began to take form:

Father of unfailing love, 
Your grace and goodness are enough.
Each day I wake to mercies new; 
my heart is filled with gratitude.

I was playing in the key of D major. After the first two verse lines I moved to the minor three chord (F#m) which led into a pre-chorus section:

No matter heights or valleys low, I know that I can say

This lyric and melody led into the chorus nicely. I began to play through the whole song in the key of D major. It all fit well together, but I decided to take another approach. I thought of Matt Maher's song "Lord, I Need You" and Meredith Andrews' song "Spirit of the Living God," both of which take an octave jump with the song. 

I decided to move the key down to B flat major and try singing the chorus in a lower pitch the first time through and then jump up an octave for the second and subsequent choruses. B flat major was just a bit high, so I settled on A major.

I charted the song and recorded a demo. The band rehearsed it on a Thursday evening and we shared it in our services the following Saturday and Sunday. I still need to write a second verse, but I was pleased with the way the congregation received it in its present form.

The song is about bringing "all that we are" to worship: all the heights and valleys, every tear, ever fear, all the joy, all the pain. God wants it all. Whether we're worshiping alone or in a corporate setting we don't have to hold back, we can bring it all to the Lord.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, 
and all that is within me
bless His holy name!


Love this song, the words spoke to my heart, as if speaking to Jesus. Can't wait to sing it again. Pure worship.

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