As many of us who grew up in the church community are aware, God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. He may not come when you want him, but he’s always right on time. Great and mighty is our ... well, you get the point.
While Saturday and Sunday is the day most of us get our Jehovah on, sometimes you need a little upliftment, sanctification, enlightenment, soul stirring or praisin’ going on in the middle of the week. Hell, sometimes you need that even if you only see the inside of a church house on Easter, Christmas and funerals.
When I do go to church, usually the thing I look most forward to is the music. I’m not the most religified person on the planet (I’m spiritual or whateva) but good solid church sanging will get me every time, and by “church sangin’” I mean choirs and solid vocalists who bring me to my feet by the end of the song.
Some of y’all who ain’t so religified know what I’m talking about: You’re in church usually because you need some saving, some relief or you’ve been guilted, forced or “I’m calling your mama”-ed into going, so you typically sit there minding your own business, largely observing, going through the motions until the praise team or choir gets going and they sing that song that hits you right in the spirit. You watch everybody else stand up, but you also know that they know you ain’t been there in a minute, so why you get all holified now—but the music, fam. The music.
Eventually you give in to the music because toward the end they hit a serious praise break and your soul seems to have taken over, so you stand up and sway and clap, and by the end of the song you’re ready to buy the entire service on CD—available at the end for $10.
Just me? Doubt it. Well, if you’re like me and the music is what’s provocative (you know, gets you going) and sometimes you maybe don’t know where to go to get that loving feeling, here are 10 songs that make you feel like you’re in church on any day of the week when you just need a little more Jesus in your life.
1. “It Ain’t Over,” by Maurette Brown-Clark
When she starts singing to keep progressing and moving and then punctuates all of those charges (she suggests we do a lot—I’m all in, ma’am) with an “it ain’t over,” I get all ready to hop into the car and head straight to the church house. She tells me to tell my friends and tell my family. Say no more, fam.
2. “God Is (Live),” by Derrick Wells & Legacy
Like many songs in the gospel canon, the magic happens on the tail end when, well, the choir and vocalists “take us to church.” This song is a prime example. At about the 3:30 mark, I don’t know the woman who is singing, but precious Laaaaawd she had me stop my car in traffic once and start clapping like I’d just been slain in the spirit like Faye in The Fighting Temptations.
3. “For Your Glory,” by Tasha Cobbs
If you’ve been to church and there’s a praise team, you’ve heard this song. I heard this song in church once without hearing the source song, and when I tell you my church’s praise team DID THAT. I started going to church weekly for, like, three months JUST to hear this song and the breakdown at the end. And I’m not joking at all.
This song had me SINGING actively in my pewlike seat (my church ain’t have traditional pews). Because I think Tasha knew she had a monster on her hands, the song is almost 7 minutes long, BUT she graciously got to the soul stirring around the two-minute mark. So kind of her.
4. “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” by Youthful Praise
Just get to around the 3:50 mark of the song and let it ride out. Life-affirming and all that you need early in the morning to get the people going.
5. “Great & Mighty,” by Byron Cage
This song is 10 minutes of “keep you swaying and throwing up your right hand to God the Father almighty.” This is one of those songs I actually want to see performed live. I’ve almost gone to Ebenezer AME in Fort Washington, Md., to try to catch that action, but the way their line for parking is set up and the way that my patience for waiting in line for parking is set up, well.
6. “I’m Blessed,” by Montage Pheloan
This is one of those slower songs that I’m almost sure if I were to see it live would probably have me in tears at some point. Something about the way the lead vocalist sings just, I don’t know, got me all appreciative and thankful. And when the choir gets to singing “still blessed” over and over, I be like, you right. And when the lead vocalist (I really need to find out who these folks are) gets back to work around 4:25, I’m cooked.
7. “You Brought the Sunshine,” by the Clark Sisters
What list about feeling the spirit would be complete without at least ONE of the Clark Sisters’ songs? Get your life.
8. “All Things Through Christ,” by Earnest Pugh
This man invokes D’Angelo AND brings in a horn section during the course of this song. What can I say except you’re welcome?
9. “Mighty Good God,” by Chicago Mass Choir
Straight upbeat, back to the basics, old-school-flavor church choir, have you out of your seat clapping looking for a tambourine and ready to snatch Sister Johnson’s church hat and wig. You know Sister Johnson.
10. “Father Jesus Spirit (Live),” by Fred Hammond
I have Shazammed this song no fewer than 30 times EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THE SONG just to make sure I don’t lose my ability to hear it again and get my hype on wherever I want. I saw this performed live at church once. At the 10 a.m. service, he had folks standing on chairs.