Prayer and meditation during the Lenten season can take many forms but for those who are more melodically inclined, sometimes praying with a beautiful song can be the beginning of a powerful moment of intimacy with the Lord. Consider praying with some of these songs throughout this season, and allowing their lyrics to challenge and inspire your Lenten journey.
“Every Death” by Kings Kaleidoscope
“Maybe a cross is the bitter love I’m waitin’ on”
This song offers a brief reflection on the desire for eternity that every human experiences. In our lifetimes of “not enough” where “every death is approaching,” there is something in our hearts that longs for more. In this Lenten season, as we turn our eyes to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are invited to let our deep longing be satisfied by him who asks us to “return to him with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning” (Joel 2:12).
“White as Snow” by Jon Foreman
“Would You create in me a clean heart, oh, God? / Restore in me the joy of Your salvation”
This song draws directly from the words of David recorded in Psalm 51 which we will pray as a Church on the first Sunday of Lent. Praying with this song can move you to a place of repentance, crying out for mercy and begging for a clean heart. This is a great song to pray with before or after the sacrament of reconciliation!
“A Prayer” by Kings Kaleidoscope
“You know, I died too / I was terrified / I gave myself for you”
This song captures the valleys of the human experience and Jesus’ meeting us in them through his suffering and death. The first portion of the song, sung in the first person, is a prayer of anguish, fear, doubt, despair and crying out to know where Jesus is in this desolation. The final verses of the song are a response sung from the perspective of Jesus — a promise that his suffering and death have brought him close to us in our own.
*Please note there is an explicit version of this song.
“Pieces” by Amanda Cook
“You don’t give your heart in pieces”
Throughout this season, we reflect on the reality that the Lord holds nothing back in his love for us. He would not be content with abandoning us to the consequences of our sin. Instead, he gives his whole self in order to draw us back to him. As you meditate on the sacrifice of Christ, allow these words to guide your reflections on the extent of his love.
“Come Let Us Worship And Bow Down” by Steffany Gretzinger
“For He is our God / And we are the people of his pasture”
Anchored in themes found in Psalm 23 which we will pray on the fourth Sunday of Lent, this hymn is a call to give God what he is due: our worship. The images of sheep and shepherd used throughout invite us to reflect on not only the goodness of God but also his worthiness of our worship; and at the heart of worship is always sacrifice. Allow these simple lyrics to encourage you as you live out your Lenten sacrifices.
“Remember What It Cost” by JUDAH., Aodhan King
“Here I am so undeserving / But You made me worthy to draw near to His feet”
With reflections on the agony in the garden, the heaviness of the cross and the Father’s perspective of the crucifixion, this song offers beautiful lyrics to pray with throughout Lent, but especially during Holy Week. Allow this song to help you to truly “remember what it cost” for you to be saved from the consequence of sin by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
“The Cross Made the Change” by Common Hymnal, Justin Grey
“Nobody thought that this Son of sorrow / Would be broken for love, to fix our tomorrows”
This song may be most fitting towards the end of the Lenten season, or even early in the Easter season, as it looks at the cross from a place of gratitude and joy. Allow these lyrics to be a source of hope as you journey through the desert of Lent with Jesus.
“Thanks Be To God” by Jon Foreman
“I love the truth, I’ve seen the light / But the shadow inside is still alive”
Throughout Lent, we are challenged to confront the reality of sin and its consequences in our lives. Left to ourselves, we are helpless in the fight against temptation and sin. Yet the good news proclaimed throughout Lent is that God delivers, Christ sets free. This song is an invitation to embrace that tension that though we are sinners, we have a deliverer.
“Graves Into Gardens” by Brandon Lake
“You turn shame into glory / You’re the only one who can”
While this season can often seem dreary or melancholic, it prepares us for great victory: the resurrection of Jesus. This song is a beautiful reflection on that victory — our shame, our sin and our brokenness is all met with the love of a Savior who turns our death into life; our graves into gardens.
“Who Am I” by NEEDTOBREATHE
“You grow your roses on my barren soul”
The most enduring prayer of Lent might very well be a question: “Who am I to be loved by you?” Who are we to be pursued, tenderly cared for and sacrificially saved by the God of the universe? Yet, he looks on us with love and invites us into new life with him. Spend time praying with that question and recalling the goodness of God through the lyrics of this song.