Cross-Centered Worship: “The Prodigal”

We have noticed a disturbing trend in the corporate worship songs of the church. Perhaps you have too? It seems that we sing very little about the main point of Christianity. This is due, in large part, to church leaderships desire to be more “sensitive” to those who attend the service but are not Christians.

The research tells us (we are told), that non-Christians don’t really want to hear about sin and guilt and being accountable to a holy God.  Hearing about a Savior dying on a bloody cross for their sins is not high on their priority list. To reach them,  we must eliminate these topics from our sermons and our songs. Sadly, much of the Evangelical church has mistakenly signed on to this approach. We could not disagree more strongly!

The message of a crucified and risen Savior and the reconciliation that this can bring is the only message… the church has! It is the one and only message the church has been entrusted with and that the lost so desperately needs to hear.

This weeks song is called “The Prodigal” and was written by Meghan Baird and Ryan Baird.  I have included it not because it is a great song for congregational singing, but because it reminds us all of the empty life Christ redeemed us from.  I hope it ministers to you.   If you like this song, be sure to check the “Like” box at the bottom of the post and/or the “Rate This” box at the  top of the post.

The Prodigal

You held out Your arms, I walked away
Insolent, I spurned Your face
Squandering the gifts You gave to me
Holding close forbidden things
Destitute, a rebel still, a fool in all my pride
The world I once enjoyed is death to me
No joy, no hope, no life

Where now are the friends that I had bought
Gone with every penny lost
What hope could there be for such as I
Sold out to a world of lies
Oh to see Your face again, it seems so distant now
Could it be that You would take me back
A servant in Your house

You held out Your arms, I see them still
You never left, You never will
Running to embrace me, now I know
Your cords of love will always hold
Mercy’s robe, a ring of grace
Such favor undeserved
You sing over me and celebrate
The rebel now Your child

© 2009 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

By Meghan Baird and Ryan Baird

If you liked this song, you will probably also like this song:  Cross-Centered Worship “All I Have Is Christ”

About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on January 7, 2011, in Christianity, The Christian Life, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I would tend to disagree that we don’t talk about the cross much in our newer songs. It seems there are quite a few. “Thank you for the cross, Lord” (Hillsong), “Once again” (Matt Redman), “How deep the Father’s love for us” (Stewart Townend), “The wonderful cross” (Chris Tomlin), to name a few. What seems to be the deeper issue with these is that they don’t so often focus on the horror, disgust, and scandal of the cross as the way in which it has been victorious. We talk about the resurrection side of the cross without first talking about the painful, death part of it.


    • I can’t believe you disagree with me! LOL! I have traveled all over the mid-western states. I have worshipped in 30+ congregation in the past 2 years. What I have seen, is that the cross is horribly absent. It may seem like I am painting with too broad of a brush, but it has been what I have noticed. If you are part of a congregation that gets it, then you might never know how deplorable the situation is. I would be interested to hear what other people have experienced.


  2. You’re probably right…I’ve only been in maybe a dozen or so. I would say we’re writing the songs, just not singing them. I pray it would change!


  3. I want to comment on “This is due, in large part, to church leaderships desire to be more “sensitive” to those who attend the service but are not Christians.”
    We as a church in this, the 21st century have bought into the philosophy that it is important not to offend anyone – therefore we have eliminated a lot of words which were once sung in all the older hymns. Basically, we sang doctrine and by singing them often the people learnt about things like redemption, sanctification, holiness and what Christ went through so we could be forgiven.
    We have in a word, become so politically correct and so comfortable that we are no longer challenged when we go to church – but sadly, neither are the non-christians.
    Jesus himself said “If I be lifted up – I will draw all men to me” – what we are doing, is trying to do it ourselves in the world’s way.
    Occasionally one of the goats becomes a sheep – but not as often as should happen.
    I am not judging pastors or particular churches, but isn’t it time that we left corporate behaviour to the world and got on with our calling to preach the unadulterated word of God and get out there making disciples of Jesus, not disciples of a particular pastor or denomination?
    Then … the angels in Heaven will truly rejoice over that sinner who truly repents!


  1. Pingback: Cross-centered Worship Songs: “Jesus Died For Me” | Not For Itching Ears

  2. Pingback: Cross-Centered Worship: “The Greatest of All” | Not For Itching Ears

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