You don’t have to be super religious in order to appreciate Christian music, but it only adds to the experience. I was raised Lutheran, but it wasn’t until high school when I discovered different types and genres of Christian music. Thanks to a few wonderful friends, I became a fan of this new realm of music in my life. Ever since, I have gravitated towards a few specific songs that appeal to me in a particular way that, while I still enjoy other songs in the genre, others haven’t quite had with me. I’m not a devout listener to religious music, but these songs always impact me whenever I listen to them. You don’t have to agree, but that’s the beauty of it. Here are five of my favorites in no particular order.
“Promise of a Lifetime” – Kutless
This song has a strong, personal connection to me. In late summer of 2011, I lost my grandmother to cancer. In the following weeks, I would begin senior year and I was in a weird place mentally. Thankfully, I had gained a close friend a few weeks beforehand that introduced me to more Christian music, which lead me to discover this song.
The instrumentals, particularly the somber, yet powerful piano notes and major chords with guitar and vocals, deliver a heavy and strong feeling that is capped off by the lyrics. The end of the bridge, “Putting my understanding aside / I am comforted,” combined with the beginning of the chorus, “I know you’re always there / to heal my every prayer inside / I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime,” really hit home with me at the time. No matter what would happen, God would always be there for me – which is a very comforting feeling for anyone.
“Love Has Come For Me” – Colton Dixon
This is easily the most upbeat song on my list, which isn’t an accident. The song has a modern, happy vibe that is meant to be uplifting and (at least in my case) feel like I’m rocking out at the same time. The electric guitar and drumline make the song feel as though it is running and celebrating, which is what we are supposed to do since we have God’s love. Rejoice!
“Learning to Breathe” – Switchfoot
I bet you might be surprised to see this Switchfoot song on my list, but bear with me. The song is all about trying to find our way to God’s love in the world that we live in. The drumline and background beat brings this notion to life. We’ve all struggled with certain things in our life and sometimes it can be hard to fully embrace God – I know I have. We have to work and invest ourselves in order to receive His grace, but it is also about believing and making it through the tough times – which is strongly suggested in this song.
“Zero” – Hawk Nelson
Once upon a time, I performed an original song for a class when I went to a community college. I played the piano and sang the lyrics. After the performance, a friend and classmate of mine (who was way better than I was) told me that my song reminded him of “Zero” by Hawk Nelson. I hadn’t actually heard of this band, so when I got home, I looked them up and understood the comparison. Even better: I loved the song. It has heartfelt moments with soft vocals and piano notes which lead into the classic rock bridge and chorus that the old-school Hawk Nelson was known for.
“Only Hope” – Switchfoot
This particular Switchfoot song is personal to me as well. The soft, mystical aura surrounding the song engulfs me every time I hear it. Not only is it the oldest song on the list, it is also the most unique of them all – specifically the beginning of the bridge. It has also remained one of the most popular songs by Switchfoot throughout the years. Mandy Moore even sang the song in the Nicholas Sparks book-to-film adaptation: A Walk to Remember, which has also remained one of the most memorable parts in a memorable, classic movie.