Benjamin Hastings: Putting God Back In his Rightful Place
- Hastings says, “This practice of rewriting the Lords Prayer… like a poem, like a devotional.” There’s almost a liturgy to it because you are practicing the way Jesus told his disciples to pray.
Benjamin William Hastings, a Northern Irish songwriter, singer, and worship…
Benjamin Hastings, the Scottish born singer songwriter, and former member of Hillsong United, speaks about how important it is to keep God in his Rightful place in life. “It’s the repositioning of God in our lives, the accurate, true positioning to be a better way of saying it.”
The Lords prayer is a beautiful way to practice this. It’s re-contextualizing God in the reality of current life so your not forgetting his presence or ignoring it. Hastings says,
“This practice of rewriting the Lords Prayer… like a poem, like a devotional. There’s almost a liturgy to it because you are practicing the way Jesus told his disciples to pray.”
Hastings grew up reciting poetry, monologues and dramatic prose in school competitions. This influenced his writing and he is a massive fan of poetry to this day. It exposed him and made him aware of how meter, rhythm pattern, and structure plays such an important role in composition. “It’s like the intentionality of all that, and the meter, applied something.” He goes on to say how exposure to that embedded its way into his writing and is something he can’t escape.
At a conference where Hastings was serving, walking folks to their car in the heavy rain, a woman, a stranger really, turned to him and said,
“Your a writer. You have the ability to express the truth.”
This spoke to Hastings, and he felt as if he’d heard from God. Hastings doesn’t worry if the song is right for the church, or would work on the radio, he’s focused first on writing the song to God, and putting God at the head of the table of his life.
Benjamin William Hastings on The Walk
Listen to “Benjamin William Hastings: Did God Send The Storm?” on Spreaker.
It’s the repositioning of- of God in our lives, or the- the accurate, the true positioning is maybe a better way of- of saying it. And so I think for me, I think the Lord’s Prayer is actually a really beautiful sort of way to align that. There’s a N. T. Wright book where he lays it out.
I think he illustrates something called the Lord’s Prayer. One of the things I find really beautiful about that is he- so he goes through every line and the importance of every line and why it’s in that order and how it’s effective.
And so a while ago I- I got in this practice and I don’t do it every day. I should. Sometimes I forget. But, I get this practice of almost rewriting the Lord’s Prayer, and I write it like a kind of like a- maybe not like a poem, but like a devotional.
And I’ll basically just say the same thing, but in different words. So like, dear great cosmic Father of the universe, like, who owns the star, something like that. And then I’ll- that will be our Father in Heaven. And I’ll- I’ll moved on and I find that really helpful as, far as, um, like a daily practice of, I guess worship
because you’re putting God back in His rightful place, you’re recontextualizing Him in your life, making Him present, and not that He isn’t present, but it’s- I guess that’s- that’s kind of the point is that we have such a way of forgetting his presence, like ignoring it.
That is one of the things that I’ve- that I’ve tried to practice. And I- I find it actually really, really helpful and really, I guess- and there’s a certain liturgy, to it because you’re actually practicing the way that Jesus prayed in a new way
I guess, um, that I find that quite helpful. I grew up doing speech and drama, which is like this. Um. It’s- I’ve rethought of this a few weeks ago and I was like, it’s so wild that I did this. That’s the funniest thing.
We would stand up, memorize poems. Or like a monologue or something. And you would competitively recite the- the poem in this room of like, there’s probably- I don’t know, like probably a hundred parents there to watch their kids or whatever.
And each kid would get up and recite the same poem. And whoever, like, recited it best won the competition. But I did that for years. And I’m super grateful for it in hindsight, because I was getting exposed to all this amazing poetry that I think, then, embedded its way into my writing.
And even structurally in my writing, there’s things that I really can’t escape from, you know, I like rhyme patterns or syllable kind. And in lines, like the intentionality of all that and the- the meter of how something sounds. So I do feel like that Irish poetry actually really influenced my- my writing.
And I’ve always with that- been a, a massive fan of hymns. And again because they do mirror in the same sort of way, like a great hymn reads like a, a great poem. And so I love- I’ve got a few hymn books like old, old hymn books at home that I’ll just sit and read, especially some of
the ones that just lasted ages. Like the truth in them are so profound and they still- the poetry of it still cuts so, so deep. And I think if it’s lasted 200 years, there must be something pretty special about that.
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Benjamin William Hastings, a Northern Irish songwriter, singer, and worship leader, was raised in Belfast but spent the better part of his twenties in Sydney, Australia. There he fell in love with Jessa, a beautiful girl who also shared a love for words, and a year later they decided to share a name. In their early years, they tried to write together but as it turns out, that was not very good for their marriage so they focused their attention on starting a family which resulted in two very perfect children. While living in Sydney, Benjamin fell in with a church crowd who just so happened to be some of Jessa’s childhood friends - that motley crew was Hillsong UNITED. Thanks to their friendship and through numerous collaborations, recordings, and tours, Benjamin has been part of many of their biggest songs, such as writing and leading vocals on UNITED’s “So Will I (100 Billion X).” He also penned Cory Asbury’s No. 1 hit “The Father's House,” Brandon Lake’s “Gratitude,” and Hillsong Worship’s "O Praise The Name (Anástasis)." Yes, he’s written a whole lot of songs which, if you add them all together have been streamed over 500 million times (not quite 100 billion, but it’s on the way!).