Songs For Lent: Psalm 42 Song

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For lent I’m returning to the discipline of writing a song each week.

As part of the process I’m going to delve into the back catalogue of those 3000 year old, Middle Eastern folk songs commonly known as the The Psalms.

Here’s the first draft of a song inspired by Psalm 42

Let me hear your suggestions for any improvements you think it might need:

Cheers – Andy
PS. I’ll be giving a free CD away each week to one person selected at random who leaves a comment on each of these song ideas – let me hear your thoughts!

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for the waters
so my soul yearns for you God
Even when I hear the taunting
and these tears have been my food

I, I will bring you praise
though it be a sacrifice
I, I will lift my gaze
and my lips will give you thanks
for you, you are good, you are good – always good
You, You are good – always good

Why so downcast oh my soul
why are you disturbed within me
don’t forget the faithfulness
you have known along the journey

Deep is calling out to deep
roaring like a waterfall
like the breakers of the sea
so your words wash o’er my soul

oh… oh…

I, I will bring you praise
though it be a sacrifice
I, I will lift my gaze
and my lips will give you thanks
for you, you are good, you are good – always good
You, You are good – always good

Day by day your love is constant
and at night you sing to me
even in the pain and darkness
You still hear the prayers I breathe
oh… oh…

I, I will bring you praise
though it be a sacrifice
I, I will lift my gaze
and my lips will give you thanks
for you, you are good, you are good – always good
You, You are good – always good


Facebook comments:

  • Jim Doerfler

    Nice. What Tuning? Standard?

  • Andy, I really like this. Thinking about this as a congregational song, I think it could work pretty well (apart from the oh, oh bits that congregations tend not to like to sing too much). The transition to the major for the chorus seems, perhaps, a bit naive – it isn’t really as easy as that sometimes to praise, but I don’t have a better idea – I’ve used this same transition from a song of my own also inspired by Psalm 42 funnily enough, and I’m still not wild about it there either :-).

  • Yep Jim, standard tuning in the key of Dm changing to F for the chorus

  • Hi Graham, yeah I realized the minor/major change for mood is sometimes a bit cliche though I am trying to retain the lyric idea that praise is still a painful sacrifice at times – perhaps I need to find a better way of articulating that in the chorus.

    I’m not really thinking of it as a congregational song, though that could change in the process

  • I like it very much. Our church family has just experienced an untimely death and we are all in shock and grief. I could picture us singing this song with heavy hearts and so the line “even in the pain and darkness” could be strengthend to emphasze how painful it can be. Perhaps “in my deepest pain and darkness” or something like that would work?

  • I like the contemporary sound.  It fits well with the prhasing.  Wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Marc Mullins

    Andy… this is my first time to comment on one of your songs. First, I love it. Absolutely awesome. I love the chord progressions and voicings on the guitar.

    I offer one suggestion for your consideration on the chorus. I’ve studied the context of verse 4 of the Psalm and find the memory of the Psalmist to reflect more on the celebration of worship than on sacrifice. With this in mind, I suggest the following re-wording of the chorus:
    “I, I will bring you praiseas I celebrate in worship;I, I will lift my gazeand my lips will give you thanks….”

    I also think your arrangement of Verse 1 / Chorus / Verse 2, Verse 3 / Chorus / Verse 4 / Chorus, Chorus could be rearranged as in: Verse 1, Verse 2 / Chorus / Verse 3, Verse 4 / Chorus, Chorus. While this would result in a displacement of the original order of the Psalm (your choice of Verse 1 followed by the Chorus follows the original order more appropriately), I like the idea of the verse, “Why so downcast oh my soul” following immediately after the verse, “As the deer pants for the waters….” When arranged and sung this way, you have the first line of the chorus (“I, I will bring you praise…”) sung for the first time after the phrase, “don’t forget the faithfulness you have known along the journey”. It seems quite natural to lead into “I, I will bring you praise” immediately after singing “don’t forget the faithfulness….”

    May I have your permission to use your song in the context of my own church family’s worship? Of course, I would cite you as the songwriter!

  • Marc,

    Thanks for commenting. Your suggestion for the arrangement is actually what I originally had, it just felt like a long time to get to the chorus – maybe I’m just impatient!

    It could all change in the editing process.

    And yes, you have my permission to use it – let me know how it goes.

  • Karla,

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the wording of that line – it could work. I’ll be reviewing all the suggestions during the editing process.

  • Christina – thanks for your encouragement

  • Csyres, In that line I’m trying to convey the Heb 13:15 line that equates the sacrifice of praise with being grateful even when we don’t feel like it

  • Chipo, 

    Thanks for your comments. I’m not even sure at this stage whether it will be a congregation song, although the chorus certainly could work

  • Sharin,

    Thanks for the kind words – that’s encouraging

  • Alistair,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I guess my thinking on the “You are good” line are that we have a perspective from this side of the cross where we can genuinely say He is good all the time.

    In this process I’m using the Psalm as a springboard for inspiration rather than a direct re-interpretation of the psalmists words.

    I appreciate your insight – thank you

  • Oh! you are good… you are good…. yeah.. you are good Andy!  the song is singable.  I mean it is easy to sing. Its also good to put some alto in some parts of the song. am singing the alto part and its good.   I feel like I am on top of the Cordillera mountains where the trees and the wind are shouting with joy with me… keep on putting music to the verses from Psalms and even on the other books in the bible..   Bring out that passion out of the box!  All the best!

  • Callies Doug

    My first impression is WOW it is awesome.  I just got into work today and seen your email, so this was a great way to start a day.  I will listen a few more times through today.  Thank you from all the faithful work you are doing in Gods name.

  • charles

    Yes, liked the song very much Andy.  Its easy to listen to, but the lyrics are profound.  Thank you for sharing. 


  • Jacquelyn Claxton

    Hi Andy,
    I just listened to your Psalm 42 and found myself watching your fingers to get how you were doing the chords.  I could do that!  I like the idea of going two verses then the chorus, too.  Then on the chorus-They’re such powerful words, like you would be excited-singing I will bring you praise! and  I will lift my gaze-and back off on the other comments-though it be a sacrifice and-and my lips will give you thanks for you, etc.  , actually, I think I’m looking for some emotional variance, but I like the tempo/pace.  I know this was just a beginning, and many people have good ideas for it-yes, looking for passion coming through.  Songs evolve and I’m sure this will become more passionate as you use it.  It is good, thanks for sharing with us! 

  • Jacquelyn, glad you found the chord voicings helpful and yes I hope the editing process will add something extra to the final result

  • Drg41 Dave

    Well Andy I am afraid I have to disagree with most of the comments. . where is your God x2 Let the people know what’s going on. I disagree that praise  is some times a sacrifice. V 3 Oh my God I have been faithful all along the journey as you know. Why is my soul so downcast.Are you disturbed with me. This is the first time I have ever felt the need or want to speak negatively about any of your previous songs, I don’t like the rhythm.But I do like the words and have just thrown in a few changes that I thought would get the message across a little better. I hope you don’t take my thoughts to be a put down because that’s not the way they were meant. You know as a good song writer that we all have our own little way’s  of how we would like to put our songs out. we need to put out our feelings so our listeners feel the song also. Keep up the good work my friend God has given you a great talent.

  • Alistair Orton

    I agree that God is good all the time, and that from our perspective as those who live on this side of the resurrection, we can always “see” that.
    But in ministry as I have watched people dealing with grief and pain, there are certainly times when they are not able to say it, or sing it.
    Some years ago when my wife was suffering from “altzheimer’s”, and getting worse…. I was not coping very well. I even asked my doctor for some “patience pills”. My counsellor one day asked me “How do you cope?” At that moment I recalled my Lord dying on the cross… but I was too deep in grief to be able to say “God is good.” The best I could manage was “I know that God is there”.
    Sometimes people are like the psalmist who re-iterates his disquiet; who continues to hope, and who anticipates the time when he will again be able to praise. But not yet.

    But I forgot to say earlier: I love the verses of your song. I am fascinated by the chord movements… and envious of your musical skills. Even more envious of your courage in the way you seek to bring God’s word to people whose musical preferences are quite different from those of my own generation.
    God bless your ministry.

  • Tparkermusic

    As a songwriter, i love to hear new stuff.i love the bouncy walk down riff in the beginning.great attenion getter.very creative.

  • Jack Blake

    Great song, Andy!!
    Might sound good with a little DADGAD added in for a backup
    Also — ending the chorus on a minor chord might possibly be effective — A minor, I would think
    It would serve as a transition back to the verses.
    Goes great with the Lenten penitential theme.

  • Keith

    Hi Andy. Enjoyed your presentation of Psalm 42. I don’t think that we, the audience should evaluate your own artistic presentation.  Sure you can gauge responses and reactions, but in art there are so many ways for presentation, that you should continue to follow your own artistic dictates and let the Lord inspire you.  Compose from the heart.

    Make sure that you don’t catch on to a new guitar riff that you like and milk it.  Let the Psalm dictate the mood and feelings from within your own heart, and play from there.

    Having said that, I do like your middle section contrast, especially in the harmonic sense.  For myself, I may have ventured into greater rhythmic contrast as well.  But that’s not to say what you have presented is off the mark.  Let your music flow from how the words affect you.  Great stuff. Go for it. Blessings Keith.

  • Tgovender

    sounds great… like that something different is being done with the psalms

  • Weeian4

    so good Andy to see you back doing this. Been doing some of my own stuff each week with group of Filipino worship leaders and having gr8 time. the song is fab and on first hearin i was catchin the chorus and really can see it used in worship setting. Go for it Andy..guess its all about time and discipline but GR8….Ian White would be loving the new take on Psalms!!!


    Bro, Andy… All I can say… Praise the Lord for the gift He has given you to worship Him with your God given talent… Bro…the song touches on a topic that I sense in my heart… which is …. be real and genuine about our relationship with the Lord… that is … we see ourselves up and down in our faithfulness to walk with Him… but He is always good to us.   Bro… your song sings of grace… I would encourage you to GO !  GO!  Go!  do not let your flesh , others, or the enemy temper with your heart of worship for our Lord.  Go Jesus said to us… and He has given you a ministry to Go and through song bring Jesus to the ends of the world.  In Jesus name. amen. 

  • Mboudousquie

    Yes, God is good!  I closed my eyes and listened and felt like I was flowing in the song…can’t improve on the words..blessed words. My only suggestion is to get some to join in with you on the chorus. Praise Him! Keep writing!

  • Jack – I’ll play around with some ideas like that when I get to recording in properly.

    Thanks for the suggestions

  • Brian Alcorn

    A really great tune, wonderfully inspired and conscientiously composed. I often seem to forget that the Psalms were written as songs – it’s great to see them given a new lease of musical life! I couldn’t offer much in terms of suggestions, I think it’s pretty darn good as it is! (Obviously a studio recording would have more layering/harmonies/instrumentation but as you did it there it was fine)

  • Hey thanks Brian!

  • Colleenaitken

    I wouldn’t change a thing Andy. I absolutely love it. I can only imagine how this would sound with added instruments! 

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