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  Prayer: Expressions of Worship
Artist: Various
URL: <>
Label: Vineyard Music
Time: 13 tracks/68:24 minutes

Prayer: Expressions of Worship is a very beautiful worship recording, but is not (public) praise and worship, nor is it background music; it is meant to be a prayer experience, just as the title suggests. Producers Darren Clarke, Casey Corum and Joe Randeen note that Prayer is "a recording that people could listen to in their quiet time or in a small group...being surrounded by music that speaks of God's goodness -- a sound that captures the feeling of being in God's presence." And in keeping with this sentiment, the project's first song, "Come to Me and Rest," is an intimate portrait of the prayer experience. "How Much More" by Scott Underwood flows from the first very nicely. Still at a modest pace, a mini-string ensemble adds intricacy to intimacy.

Not to joke at all about the slow tempo, but if the listener's intent is to use this recording as a vehicle for serious personal praise and worship and prayer, he or she must be very focused. If the listener's intent is to fall asleep to this recording, this, too, is possible; however, there are many other titles I would suggest in lieu of using Prayer for that purpose!

The pace of Prayer does shift here and there. "Take Us In," a highlight of the project, features a moderate beat with some light electric guitars. This particular song is perhaps "praise and worship lite," not quite fitting in with the simplicity of the Prayer pace. The only other offering from Prayer that's a mismatch is also incredibly unusual or uncharacteristic for Vineyard Music -- "Your Sweet Perfume" (reminds me a little of John Johnethis). One of my favorites here is Underwood's perfectly beautiful and delightful reading of "I Love Your Presence."

There are some lyrical gems here. "I Will Be More Like You" is a very fine personal anthem for anyone walking in His steps, and "Cry for the Afflicted" and "Mercy Mercy" are both incredibly intense in their emotional and musical pacing.

I would like to see a follow-up Prayer: Expressions of Worship project that tightens up the very best elements of this one. This particular recording, as a prayer/personal worship experience could work well, depending on the amount of focus from the participant. It should be a bit easier to keep a focus on Christ if the worship leaders' focus were solid.

Olin Jenkins   August 19, 2001


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