Five Praise Songs that could double as Love songs

By: Tom Westerholm

I have a love/hate relationship with Christian praise music. I find the vast majority of it vapid, insubstantial and theologically lacking, which makes me sad. Psalm 68:4 invites us to “Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds–his name is the LORD–and rejoice before him.” One would hope, with the Bible calling for beautiful music to praise God, modern writers would put a little more thought into their lyrics.

But some praise music is worse than vapid. Some is outright creepy: praise songs that are utterly indistinguishable from the writer’s syrupy romantic life. Here are my top five praise songs that could double as the song you play on acoustic guitar to your girlfriend right before she tells you “We should just be friends.”

#5. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever- Mercy Me

The offending lines

I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever

I could sing of your love forever (I could sing of love)
I could sing of your love forever (I could sing, I could sing)
I could sing of your love forever (I could sing of love)
I could sing of your love forever (I could sing, I could sing)

I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever”

The probable intent

The singer could sing of God’s love (wait for it) forever.

The unintended result

The singer could sing of his significant other’s love forever. Which is good, because if he ever finished singing of her love forever, she would probably dump him.

#4. More- Matthew West

The offending lines

I love you more than the sun…You are mine and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today and tomorrow I’ll say it again and again
I love you more.

Just a face in the city
Just a tear on a crowded street
But you are one in a million
And you belong to me.

The probable intent

Speaking as God (which I always find a little weird), Matthew West attempts to assure us that we are unique and we belong to God.

The unintended result

A love song so sappy it sticks in the listener’s head like tape on arm hairs.

#3. You Raise Me Up- Josh Groban

The offending lines

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas…
You raise me up to more than I can be.

There is no life, no life without its hunger
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes I think I glimpse eternity”

The probable intent

A totally unpretentious song discussing the way God lifts us to greater heights everyday, as a chorus of singers oooh and aaaaah behind Josh Groban’s soaring vocal lines and stringed instrument arrangements.

The unintended result

A totally pretentious song discussing the way Josh Groban’s girlfriend inspires him to greater heights, as a chorus of singers oooh and aaaah behind Josh Groban’s overly vibrato’d vocal lines and melodramatic instrument arrangements.

#2. Endless Ocean- Jonathan David Helser

The offending lines

In the beginning you were singing
In the end you’ll still be singing over me
In this moment you’re right beside me
You’re everywhere, you’re in the air that I breathe
Every morning you keep coming
The waves of your affection keep washing over me.

The probable intent

A song about how God has been there from the beginning of time, loving us unconditionally.

The unintended result

A quick question: when have you EVER heard the word “affection” used in a platonic way?

#1. Brit Nicole- You

The offending lines

I’ve been looking for love in another’s eyes
Searching for water, but I come up dry
You, I’m coming back to you. The only thing I know worth living for
I’m yours
I’m coming back, coming back, yeah
I’m coming, coming back, yeah
To joy that speaks to my deepest need
To arms never far out of reach.
Yeah, how your love, it calls to me
I’m yours, I’m yours, yeah yeah
I’m yours, I’m yours, yeah yeah

The probable intent

God is the only love who can satisfy our friend Brit.

The unintended result

Brit takes the female species back several hundred years by fawning starry eyed over her lover for roughly four minutes, promising him “I’m yours, I’m yours.” And if there was any confusion, she makes sure to emphasize the “yeah yeah” parts as well.

But the story gets worse: apparently Brit has been fraternizing with another man (“I’ve been looking for love in another’s eyes”). Brit! You scarlet woman!

But don’t worry. She’s “coming back to you. The only thing I know worth living for.”

What a relief. I was afraid Brit wouldn’t come back, come back. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah.


6 thoughts on “Five Praise Songs that could double as Love songs

  1. Ryan Rodgers says:

    I think you are over-reacting to lyrical intent. What type of praise music, contemporary praise music, radio contemporary praise music background do you have? There are secular songs that could be view as songs written to our Savior. Should we not also write an article to these secular artists telling them to stop writing songs suggesting love for a higher power? I am wondering why you, a Christian-college professor, are hating on people who have been given talents of music from the Lord to witness to others.

    • Why would this article suggest that we should tell secular artists “not to write songs suggesting love for a higher power?”

    • Leslie says:

      Christian Artist shouldn’t have to write “secular friendly” lyrics. If you’re trying to tell people about God why wouldn’t you mention Him in the song? If they’re afraid of scaring people away by saying Jesus Christ then how do they expect non believers to want to accept Him as their Lord and Savior? Besides everyone knows that only Christians listen to Contemporary Christian music. They’re not reaching new people they’re just spreading the word to fellow Christians (spoiler alert: they already know)

      P.S. Contemporary Christian artists should start using the talents God gave them to compose good music instead of refashioning “Amazing Grace” to fill lyrical gaps.

  2. […] Five Praise Songs that could double as Love songs ( […]

  3. Sarah Kugler says:

    I think Tom is making a valid argument; contemporary Christian culture – especially that aimed at and fostered by young women – has developed a strange propensity for depicting Jesus as “boyfriend” or “future husband.” Yes, there is language in the Bible of Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as his bride. That doesn’t explain why, when I walk down a wing of a women’s dorm at my small Christian college, I notice that the decorative theme is something along the lines of “My future wedding to Jesus” — complete with a wedding dress hanging from the wall and hearts with the stereotypical white Jesus picture on one half and a young woman’s picture on the other. People talk about their relationship with Christ as if it’s their “My Wedding” board on Pinterest. Is what we want the social status and sense of accomplishment which comes from being romantically attached to another person – because seriously. Few probably like being “that single person” when everybody else has found their Ryan Gosling – or do we want to actively pursue the Kingdom of God on Earth?
    The love of God isn’t monogamous. He didn’t choose me, out of all the women in the world, to be his wife. And he didn’t just choose you either.

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