Quiet Time Playlist: Repentance Songs

Oftentimes, when we sit down to spend time with God, we will be overcome by memories of things we’ve done that we aren’t particularly proud of, events we were part of that we shouldn’t have been, perhaps even people we may have wronged.

When this happens, we can trust that this may be God prompting us to set things straight and “get right” with Him, so to speak. And when we can’t quite find the words, well, maybe one of the five songs below can express what you’re feeling, and help get you started on the road to forgiveness and healing.

“Undo” by Rush of Fools


The young Alabama band known as Rush of Fools earned its first number one hit with its debut single “Undo,” which expresses exactly what it means to struggle with sin and temptation, to fall and to rely on God’s grace to get up again.

Listeners will definitely be able to relate with the song’s lyrics. “I’ve been here before and here I am again,” sings lead singer Wes Willis, “To label me a hypocrite would be only scratching the surface of what I’ve been known to be.”

When the band hits the chorus and the breathtaking two-part harmonies, a repentant believer will definitely be able to sing along: “Turn me around, pick me up, undo what I’ve become / Bring me back to a place of forgiveness and grace / I need You, I need Your help, I can’t do this myself / You’re the only One Who can undo what I’ve become.” Pack some tissues.

“The Way That You Love Me” by Anthony Evans


People who followed season 2 of the hit NBC singing competition The Voice may remember Anthony Evans, the bespectacled singer who reached incredible vocal heights and made it to the quarterfinals. The Contemporary Christian community, however, was already aware of Evans and the phenomenal gift he possessed, showcased most potently in “The Way That You Love Me,” a track off his album The Bridge.

The piano ballad is extremely relevant for anyone going through a period of heartbreak or loss, and is seeking to align his or her heart with God’s. Repentance must come with an awareness of the sin, and Evans expresses the regret and the transformation so beautifully in this song. “This heart breaks slowly,” he sings, “tell me, what are You doing to me? / When I prayed, ‘Do what it takes,’ I didn’t know I’d lose everything.”

The Job-like declaration of faith, however, comes to its full power in the chorus: “It is the hurt that breaks me, it is the pain that pulls me to my knees / And the tears, they’ve changed me, ‘til what I couldn’t see becomes so clear to me / This is the way that You love me.”

“Rediscover You” by Starfield


This Canadian duo is responsible for some of the more memorable Christian pop-rock anthems of the past few years, including “Son of God,” one of my personal favorite worship tracks.

In “Rediscover You,” a single off The Saving One, Starfield masterfully expresses an emotion felt by many Christians who may be burning out with ministry work, giving a voice to the frustrated and grace-starved.

“I need to just admit my faith is paper-thin / I’m feeling so burned out on religion,” sings lead singer Jon Neufeld, “I say an empty prayer, I sing a tired song / I need to just admit that the passion’s gone, and I wanna get it back.”

The chorus then comes in, all alive with the desperate cry of a child in need of affirmation and grace from the Father, coming to full fruition with the bottom line, “Revive me, Jesus, make this cold heart start to move / Help me rediscover You.”

“I Need You to Love Me” by BarlowGirl


Female Christian pop-rock trio BarlowGirl has come up with some really intriguing songs, including a particularly caffeinated version of “(There is) No One Like You,” but the rich harmonies and heartfelt lyrics on “I Need You to Love Me” make this ballad from Another Journal Entry a truly powerful one for the Christian feeling particularly condemned.

When Alyssa Barlow sings, “Why are You still here with me? Didn’t You see what I’ve done? / In my shame, I want to run and hide myself / But it’s here I see the truth, I don’t deserve You,” we can totally relate to her confusion and truth.

By the time she and sisters Lauren and Becca launch into the emotion-laden chorus, “And I’ll stop this pretending that I can somehow deserve what I already have,” the epiphany of grace washes over the listener and soothes the guilt like cool water.

“Clear the Stage” by Jimmy Needham


I’ve saved one of the most powerful repentance songs I’ve ever heard for last in this list. Originally written and sung by Ross King, now an established songwriter in his own right, “Clear the Stage” has been given a powerful piano-driven makeover at the hands of talented Christian singer Jimmy Needham, whose spiritual walk was also moved when he heard the King original as a young believer.

“Clear the Stage” is a straightforward song that doesn’t quite sing of repentance, but encourages it: “Tell your friends that this is where the party ends,” Needham sings, “until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social / But seek the Lord, and wait for what He has in store / And know that great is your reward, so just be hopeful.”

The powerful chorus line—“worship is more than a song”—isn’t even the clincher, which comes in the truth of the soul-disturbing bridge. And just to tell you how important, powerful, and potentially life-changing the bridge is, I won’t even mention it here. Listen to the song. The bridge starts at 2:55.

This is the first in a series titled “The Quiet Time Playlist,” which recommends songs you can use in your personal devotion time with God. For comments or to recommend songs, please email ganns@gannsdeen.com.

 

Ganns Deen is a child of God, husband to Caths, and father to Nathan and Nicki. He is passionate about Christian music and tapping the power of the Internet to glorify God and spread the gospel. An award-winning songwriter in his own right, Ganns serves God full time in his capacity as online content supervisor for Victory Philippines. Follow him on Twitter (@ganns) or on his Christian music-themed blog, www.gannsdeen.com.

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