Stay – the songwriter’s notebook

When I was in Kansas City back in July I visited the Prayer Room of the International House of Prayer (IHOP). One common complaint I hear about worship music is that’s it too repetitive. It just goes on and on. Do we have to sing it again and again for the next ten minutes? We said it already. I got it. Be forewarned, if this is truly your position you will not appreciate IHOP.

But I think about meditation.

Scripture is full of instruction to meditate on God. See Psalms 1, 48, and 77 to begin to scratch the surface on this. And what is meditation if not a disciplined attempt to consider something over and over again? The mechanism of meditation is repetition.

I don’t hear much talk about meditation in churches today. We need it. We are a generation conditioned to making decisions based on sound bites and 140-character messages. In our fast-paced society, we are losing our ability to ponder and reflect.

My brother-in-law teaches at a small Christian University in Tennessee. I was talking with him about all of this and he told me that he tries to address this by assigning scripture passages to first read, then say aloud, and reflect quietly on for a block of time. He used the phrase “linger over the word.” “Linger” was the working title for this song. We ended up not using the word, mostly because we couldn’t get away from the Cranberries association.

During the writing of the song, we discovered that we really wanted to write about was not so much “hey you, think about God for a long time,” but instead “I will choose to remain in the presence of God even when tumultuous circumstances compete for my attention. The time is well spent and gives me life.”

I forgot to shoot a video, but because Michael has a studio in his house, we got a pretty good worktape. Here it is. I hope you like it.


Father quiet my heart, quiet my soul / lead me to rest; i’m letting go / covered by angels, help me to be still and know

that You are with me when mountains shake / You are faithful through tears and heartache / you’re my Refuge, where else could i go / i will stay here

in the midst of the chaos, trouble, and noise / your whisper brings peace, your strength is my joy / your love is the shelter that nothing could ever destroy

in Your Presence, that’s where i’m restored / in Your Presence, there’s life forevermore / in Your Presence, that’s where i belong

(c) 2012 Farren / Riggs


About Jonathan Riggs

Singer, actor, songwriter, and entrepreneur. And I like vanilla bean.
This entry was posted in songwriter's notebook, Songwriting, worship and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Stay – the songwriter’s notebook

  1. dianehurst1 says:

    This is a great message because of the frantic pace many of us have (thinking of myself here). Parts of this song remind me of Psalm 16:11.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’ve kept a frantic pace too, Diane. I’m not very good at this, but I am growing. And yes on Psalm 16! Blessings to you.

  2. Greg Hitchcock says:

    After a very, very long day I just closed it out by listening to Stay. It was a cool time of worship for me before going to bed. Thanks guys, a very nice offering to our king and tonight it ministered to my soul. Keep writing.

  3. Kevin Riner says:

    Fully agree. My thoughts on this I wrote sometime ago. You can read them here.

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