By Jamie Mountford
The Lord’s Prayer has been a powerful part of the Church’s liturgy since Christ shared it with His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13, and for good reason. Through this simple prayer, Jesus taught His disciples to realign their hearts and minds to the Lord’s sovereignty, thanking Him for provision and asking for His continued grace.
“Our Father” by Melanie Waldman melds this powerful, simple prayer with an anthemic praise chorus that can encourage worshippers. She hopes that by putting this prayer to music, it will bring transformation to a hurting church during these trying times. She says, “The Lord’s prayer has not be a part of regular worship services at my church. It’s rarely spoken. I hope this song will help bring this powerful prayer back into services everywhere.”
A Song Born in Lockdown
Waldman wrote this song during the COVID-19 quarantine, which created both challenges and times of reflection with the Lord. She recounts, “I’ve been staying near to the Lord throughout the quarantine; keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. During this time, I was setting out to write a song on salvation, but whenever I would sit to write, the Lord kept bringing up the Lord’s Prayer to me. He ministered to my heart through the words of the prayer with a melody.”
And while she was inspired to write as the Lord directed her, she also had to contend with the new regulations. Waldman says, “Creating songs during the COVID lockdown brought about many new challenges. Socially distanced co-writing, recording and finding the right collaborators all took creativity.”
As Waldman persevered, she saw the fruit of her creation as God nudged her personally. “God blessed me through the creation of this song. I know the song is for many, but I also think He had me write it so I would pray these words more often.”
The Lord also showed her tangible proof of His plan for “Our Father” through a specific event: “Just as I finished the song and was in Nashville to record it, I was invited to lead worship for an online prayer night for my church. The event was to be dedicated entirely to praying the Lord’s Prayer. The organizer and myself had a lovely nod and agreement with God – there are no coincidences.
“That night, pastors shared specific verses in the prayer, looking closely at the power in the words, and we concluded the event with me leading us singing ‘Our Father.’ It sealed the night in an incredible way. It reminded me that God is so generous and so good and He is so close to us everyday wherever we are, whatever we are doing.”
Collaboration is Key
Although the Holy Spirit was surely leading Waldman to pen this song, she also understands the importance of collaboration. Working with other artists and musicians hones our own skills, while giving voice to greater creativity and excellence.
Waldman worked with Michael Farren, an ASCAP Christian Music Award winning songwriter and worship leader in Nashville, TN. “Michael Farren and I wrote a few songs in 2019 so when ‘Our Father’ emerged, I had great hope for the song and I knew I wanted to bring it to a co-write with him. We worked on this and a couple other new songs. Michael’s wisdom and kindness has given me greater confidence to bring new songs to life. He is an advocate for whom I am truly grateful.”
Closer to home, Waldman knew her own husband is her best advocate, along with her friends. She shared her work-in-progress with them for feedback and encouragement. “My husband loves to listen. I sing my song starts and parts for him all the time. I was singing this song to him over and over. He encourages me and is honest with me.
“As the song developed, I was also sharing this with a daily online group I had been meeting with since the onset of the quarantine and it seemed to really resonate and bring people joy.”
The single also features Wendy Paul Paige, another singer/songwriter. The blend of Waldman and Paige’s voices adds another element of collaboration and beauty to the song.
Describing the Kingdom
The first verse repeats the Lord’s Prayer almost verbatim, reminding worshippers of the beautiful words of Jesus’s prayer so they can utter it afresh. However, the most powerful section of the song occurs during the choruses.
Waldman describes how the chorus, which incorporates the added doxology from later Bible manuscripts “for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” came into being. These powerful words of worship can include so many facets of God’s nature.
She explains, “In the chorus there were many possible iterations Michael and I were going over when we say “Yours is the Kingdom that…” and “Yours is the Glory that…” and “Yours is the Power that….” If you think about it, we could go on and on about His kingdom, power and glory.”
She recognizes that worship leaders may decide to add more lyrics to chorus 3 to give even more depth to the descriptions. But for her recording, she felt “as though these words said it all and said it best:
“Yours is the kingdom that cannot be shaken
Yours is the power that brings victory
Yours is the glory that outshines the darkness
Forever and ever, Amen.”
A Song for the Worldwide Church
As “Our Father” is so universal, it can be incorporated in any denomination or tradition. Music has a way of bringing Scripture to life while drawing us closer to the Lord in worship, and this song is no exception. With a very singable, playable tune, it can be taught to a congregation with ease.
Waldman states, “I love the idea of songs being like bread crumbs along a path that help lead people to Christ, or back to Christ—that a good song will echo in people’s minds, reminding them of the truth and how much they are loved as they go about their day. I believe the Spirit sometimes works through songs. I think this song, because it is so close to Scripture, can serve the larger worldwide Church as a musical form of the Lord’s Prayer.”
As our congregations sing “Our Father” in worship, may it remind us all that God is ultimately in control of His kingdom, filling us with praise and adoration to the One who delivers us.