Hymns and Rap: Motivation for the Christian Life

by Dave
We have an old Baptist hymnal that we use for our family worship. I like singing these with the kids because in them is a great depth of Christian experience. Through singing these songs we learn of the holiness of God (Holy, Holy, Holy), the fullness of my own need for the Lord (Out of My Bondage), and the amazing depth of the love I have received (O The Deep Deep of Jesus). And then there are those hymns that were written for the sole purpose of motivating people to go out of the pews and spread the Good News. These are hymns like: “So Send I You,””Jesus Shall Reign Wherever the Sun” and “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

But I do not only have my kids listen to hymns, we listen to a lot of rap. Why, you ask? For much the same reason. There is a movement of Christians who use rap to declare the Good News of Jesus Christ and encourage Christians. There are rap songs that teach my kids about original sin (In Adam All Die, Shai Linne), the 9 Marks of a Healthy Church (see album The Church Called and Collected), and even an entire album dedicated to calling my boys to take leadership in the home and at church (Man Up). But the thing I like the most about rap is that it motivates me like nothing else. When I am feeling disappointed because language learning is so difficult, or because of my lack of patience with the kids, or because the task ahead of us is so daunting, I listen to rap. These songs do not just tell me the truth, they make me want to fight for the kingdom. They make me want to press on. So, in an effort to spread the encouragement, I have linked to some of the best Christian rap out there.

Here are my Top 4 Christian Rap Songs for Spiritual Encouragement:

1. Don’t Waste Your Life, Lecrae

This was the first song in the modern Christian rap movement that I came across. The song is powerful and the music video motivates me equally.

2. War, Trip Lee
I had the excellent opportunity to hear Trip Lee sing this one in person in Dallas. How can you not be inspired by: “The Son came down to the wasteland we in, a death filled mess he’ll win no leavin’. No rest ’til death’s killed, the fight ain’t even, and death won’t be left still breathin’!”

3. Make War, Tedashii
This song starts with a quote by John Piper: “I hear so many Christians murmuring about about their imperfections and their failures and their addictions and their shortcomings, and I see so little war! Murmur, murmur, murmur…why am I this way? MAKE WAR!”
4. Joyful Noise, Flame
I love songs that make me want to be in Heaven and you might want to get used to this genre, because I am pretty sure we are going to be singing this one there. “Angels surrounding his throne and worthy is the lamb who was slain. The whole earth is full of his glory, all nations bow to his name. His majesty fills the heavens, our hearts give thunderous praise. Declare the Lord is forever. Make a joyful noise in this place!”
I hope these songs are an encouragement to you as well. Thanks Trip Lee, Lecrae, Tedashii, and Flame. You encourage my Christian life!

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For those completely uninitiated, you might want to check out Challies’ Middle Aged White Guy’s Guide to Christian Rap.

*Just for purposes of full disclosure, I was listening to Christian rap way before it was cool. My very first cassette tape was DC Talk and I (literally) walked around with my boombox on my shoulder blasting “I Love Rap Music!” 

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Author: David M. Hare

Dave is currently still engaged in language learning and analysis of the Kwakúm language. His focus is grammar and discourse analysis. The Kwakúm language committee is planning to begin translating the Bible in the summer of 2019. At that point Dave will focus on translation.

3 thoughts on “Hymns and Rap: Motivation for the Christian Life

  1. My name is Richie Rice, and I approve this message.

    Seriously though, hip-hop has a unique ability to motivate us through the crunk beats (yes, crunk), and to pack lots of lyrics into 4 minutes, leaving them to be unpacked by the listener (kinda like a sermon, but faster).

    I am white, I love christian hip-hop, and I am not ashamed. 🙂

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