How to Write a Worship Song
Writing a worship song is obviously similar to writing a secular song except for one important difference – your intended audience happens to include God. Praise and worship songs can be written in any genre or style, as a hymn or chorus, or even a simple Bible verse set to music.
While the nuts and bolts of writing a praise and worship song may seem simple, the final result must always be a song that makes everyone want to sing along and worship God.
- Ask God to inspire you. Many people can write a song, but few can write lyrics that are powerful, moving and anointed. Creating a worship song requires the writer to be humble before God while basking in His majesty and glory.
- Draw on personal experience. Writing a song about personal experiences can be very powerful, but only if it brings attention to Jesus. A good praise and worship song will touch people in a way that causes them to think about how awesome God is and feel moved to praise Him.
- Use scripture and Christ-centered lyrics. Many worship songs and hymns include verses from the Bible. Using scripture encourages worshipers to memorize the Word. Use short passages that have a rhythmic quality, like those found in The Book of Psalms.
- Keep it simple and easy to sing. A worship song must be easy to learn and sing. It should be written in a key that is not too high or low. It should have a strong melody, not too many words, and simple phrasing. Everyone in the congregation, whether young or old, male or female, should be able to sing the chorus without straining their vocal cords.
- Don’t rely on memory alone. Always keep a notepad (physical or digital) and recording device around to capture new ideas. Most people forget their lyrics and melody if they are not written down or recorded. Inspiration for any song, particularly a worship song, can come at unexpected times. Anointed worship services, important life events, and even mundane day-to-day routines can birth worship songs that will affect people’s lives for generations.
- Listen to it, then listen to it again. After you develop the chord progression, record the song to see how it flows. Listening to it a few times will help you identify awkward phrasing and chord changes that might distract from the worship experience. Sometimes getting the song just right takes time and patience. Sometimes it comes in a flash. Either way, bathing in it with a prayerful, open mind is always a good idea.
- Perform the song in a small worship setting. After you feel comfortable with it, use the song in a small setting like a bible study or Sunday school class. If all goes well you can add it to your main service. Always be aware of how the Holy Spirit is moving and make adjustments accordingly.
The ability to write a timeless praise and worship song comes through perseverance, practice and God-given ability. Our job as worship leaders is to encourage people to participate in worship. This includes writing songs that are not only easy to sing, but also anointed.