Hope College Worship – Thy Love Unfailing – Songs for Lent

Every semester one of my worship teams at Hope College will record a few songs for the current church season. Last month in the midst of crazy work on our yearly worship CD we recorded a few retuned hymns for Lent/Holy Week. Most of my students have no idea about the retuned hymn movement so it was fun to see them working to meld our chapel style of ambient modern rock to tunes I had written. Hope you enjoy.

1. BE GRACIOUS TO ME, LORD (PSALM 57) – for Maundy Thursday
Words: Michael Parry, 1973, © 1983 by Hope Publishing, Co
Music: Bruce Benedict, 2010 © Cardiphonia Music
2. BREATHE (O BREATH OF LIFE) – for Holy Saturday
Words: Bessie Head, 1914, add. Nathan Partain.
Music: Nathan Partain, 2000, Arr. Bruce Benedict, 2015
Words: Greek Hymn (Trans. by John Brownlie, 1907)
Music: Bruce Benedict, 2014 © Cardiphonia Music
A pdf of the songbook is included with the full album download.
Thanks to Michael Van Patter for the lovely design.

City Church Music – Love Divine, Victorious

A second EP released recently by City Church in San Francisco featuring the City Church choir.  Music Director Karl Digerness and composer Minna Choi’s attempt to integrate a small choir into supporting congregational music.  This one featuring songs for Holy Week.

A pdf of leadsheets is included with the album download.

Prayer to the Holy Spirit as Breath

As part of our series through the book of acts at Hope College a few of my colleagues are writing prayers meditating on the various images of the Holy Spirit in scripture.  Here is my prayer based on the image of the Holy Spirit as Breath, Wind, and Life.

Acts 2:1-2 (ESV)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Holy Spirit,
Holy Breather,
moving this way and that
invisible to our broken, adamic eyes.
Come Breathe on us.
Come breathe and lift and swirl and fill
Perforate our lives with your holy breathe and
enliven these cold forsaken bones
…winnow away death that life might spring up.
Wind of God,
blow far from us
all dark despair, all deep distress, all groundless fears,
all sinful desires, all Satan’s snares, all false values,
all selfish wants, all wasteful worries.
Breath of God,
Blow into us your holy presence,
your new creation, your living love, your healing touch,
your unearthly courage, your mighty strength,
your perfect peace, your boundless concern
your divine grace, your neverending joy.
Wind of God, blow strong, blow fresh, blow on us now.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.
adapted from a prayer in the Worship Sourcebook, page700, 2nd Ed.

Resources for a Series in the Book of Acts

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Hope College has been worshipping their way through the book of Acts this year and I’ve been collecting and curating resources to support and encourage our journey. Many of these resources, especially music, is geared specifically towards my current context but I’ve also found some liturgical gems as well.  Especially powerful have been the prayers we’ve been writing around the major scriptural metaphors of the Holy Spirit.

Our staff read John Stott’s illuminating little book Baptism And Fullness: The Work of the Holy Spirit Today to begin the year.

Our Song List:

Holy Spirit – Jesus Culture
Light a Fire – The Royal Royals
Spirit Break Out – Worship Central
Let the Spirit of the Lord Come Down – Nigerian Traditional
Breathe – The Brilliance
Come Holy Ghost – Bruce Benedict

Prayers to/for the Spirit

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit (St. Augustine)

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit
that my thoughts may all be holy;
Act in me O Holy Spirit
that my works, too, may be holy;
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit
that I love but what is holy;
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit
to defend that is holy;
Guard me then O Holy Spirit
that I always may be holy.

Holy Spirit as Dove – Grace Claus
Holy Spirit as Breathe/Wind – Bruce Benedict
Holy Spirit as Re:Creator – Grace Claus
Holy Spirit as Fire – Trygve Johnson

Prayer of an Artist – David Taylor

Liturgy and the Holy Spirit

Confession (worship sourcebook)

Spirit of the Living God,
All nations, tribes, and tongues belong to you.
All glory, honor, and praise are due your name.
Therefore, we confess that we have been a divided people—
Mother from child, Brother from sister, And neighbor from friend.
Have mercy on us and send your power upon the church,
That we may know, once more, that you have
Baptized us in one baptism, one faith, one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Tear down the walls of hatred and the towers of sin in our lives.
May your Spirit descend upon our lives and make us holy and one.
In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Epiclesis – Prayer of Richard Baxter

Collect – Prayers for Pentecost

Collected Prayers for the Feast of Pentecost

“O Holy Spirit, descend plentifully into my heart. Enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling and scatter there Thy cheerful beams.”
- Saint Augustine

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit – St. Augustine

Here are some prayers attributed to St. Augustine [LINK]

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.


Holy Spirit, powerful Consoler, sacred Bond of the Father and the Son, Hope of the afflicted, descend into my heart and establish in it your loving dominion. Enkindle in my tepid soul the fire of your Love so that I may be wholly subject to you. We believe that when you dwell in us, you also prepare a dwelling for the Father and the Son. Deign, therefore, to come to me, Consoler of abandoned souls, and Protector of the needy. Help the afflicted, strengthen the weak, and support the wavering. Come and purify me. Let no evil desire take possession of me. You love the humble and resist the proud. Come to me, glory of the living, and hope of the dying. Lead me by your grace that I may always be pleasing to you. Amen.

Bits and Bobs – Winter 2015

Liturgy of Seasons - Vol. II: Winter's Woe cover art

There has been some great music released already this year..and good for us as we crunch our way through Winter up here in western michigan!

Here are a few CD’s and projects to check out:

a group of sacred songwriters writing from community up in Seattle, WA.  They contributed a track to our Incarnation Songs comp. Good stuff from Kyle Turver, Jess Alldredge, etc. Support before March 25.

The Crossing Music - Liturgy of the Seasons Project
Scott Johnson and co from The Crossing in Columbia, MO were awesome enough to send me LP’s of a current songwriting project using hymns to tell the story of the christian year. Produced by Dave Wilton & David A. Cover.

Sojourn MusicNew Again
New album from Sojourn Music featuring a great collection of original songs, retunes, and covers. Especially love Let Justice Roll and their cover of Bifrost Arts Psalm 126. Here is a great write up on “Let Justice Roll” by Bobby Gilles.

Early Christian Prayers (Hamman, Trans. Mitchell) – PDF
This is a fantastic and exhaustive collection of prayers from the early church.  A great introduction to writers, texts, themes, and approaches to prayer in the first couple hundred years of the church!

Carl Gladstonethe abolitionist hymnal
With the support of our friends, backers, and fellow abolitionists we were excited to launch this anti human trafficking hymn project!  Proceeds from sales of the cd and hymnal go to fight modern day human slavery.  The 27,000,000 people held as child soldiers, bonded laborers, and sex workers need the church to wake up, and these songs will hopefully help in that effort!