10 Songs for The Year of The Word: The God Who Speaks

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have designated 2020 as ‘The God Who Speaks’: A Year of the Word to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini – Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’, and the 1600th anniversary of death of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin.

It will be a time of celebrating, living and sharing God’s word in a more focused way. That invariably means events, activities and liturgies which will need some suitable music that helps us to pray and explore themes around the Word.

These 10 Songs for the Year of the Word (in no particular order) will be making their way into many of the liturgies we’ll be planning and leading ourselves over the next few months. Hopefully, they’ll be useful for you too:

Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify here.

1. Word of God – David Gentiles

This anthemic worship song reminds us that Jesus is the Living Word of God.  Logos.  As we hear in the prologue of John’s Gospel – “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Even as we celebrate and share God’s written Word, we remember that all the promises of the God Who Speaks are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

“O Word of God come down from Heaven
You took on flesh even to death
Implant your word, transform your people
You are the Christ, the Light of Life
Jesus, the Word of God

 Listen to Word of God on Spotify
 From the David Gentiles EP Word of God (Available on iTunes)

2. Word of God – Bernadette Farrell

This simple, reflective refrain is much like a Taizé ostinato. The first line of the refrain changes each time – Word of God; Word of hope; Word of peace... So you can get creative and write some additional phrases to extend or adapt the litany for various occasions and contexts.

“Word of God, renew your people,
make us now your living sign.
Recreate us for your purpose
in this place and in this time.”

Sheet music & resources are available here
 Listen to Word of God on Spotify
 From the Bernadette Farrell album Go Before Us
Available on iTunes

3. God is Still Speaking – Marty Haugen

This is a versatile, rhythmic, processional song, with call-and-response style verses and an accessible refrain. We found this piece to be such a valuable addition to our repertoire that it made it into our collection How Can we Keep from Singing? Vol. 3. Our arrangement has simplified the harmonisation, hopefully making it more accessible for guitarists and small music groups.

“God is still speaking, blessed invitation.
God is still speaking, listen and draw near.
God is still speaking, see a new creation.
God is still speaking, stand and do not fear.”

Sheet music & resources are available here
 From the CJM MUSIC album How Can We Keep From Singing? Vol. 3

 4. Your Word O Lord – Resound Worship

This joyful song is a bit of a toe-tapper, and really captures the hope and reassurance that is to be found in God’s Word. It definitely has an all-age appeal, and will perhaps be particular useful if you’re looking for something upbeat that would be youth and child friendly.

“Speak, O Lord, speak, O Lord
We are ready to receive
Speak, O Lord, through Your mighty word
O set Your word in me

Sheet music & resources are available here
 Listen to Your Word O Lord on Spotify
 From the RESOUND Worship album Songs for Sundays

5. Speak O Lord – Keith & Kristyn Getty

As we’ve come to expect from the song-writing team of Getty and Townend, this is a meaty, modern hymn with a wonderful, lilting melody. The three verses are a prayer, that God will indeed speak, and that we will hear and be transformed.

“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.

Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.”

Sheet music & Chord Sheet are available here
 Listen to Speak O Lord on Spotify
From the Getty Music album Live at the Gospel Coalition

  Available on iTunes 

6. O Word of God – Ricky Manalo

This meditative, ostinato refrain also serves well as an acclamation to ‘greet the Word‘ during a non-Eucharistic liturgy. We often use it during Morning Prayer or Reconciliation services. There are solo verses for cantor, which can be sung while the assembly continues the ostinato – but we must confess to never having used them.

“O Word of God, come into this space.
O Word of God, come send us your grace.
Open our minds; show us your truth.
Transform our lives anew.”

Sheet music & mp3 download are available here
 Listen O Word of God on Spotify
From the Ricky Manalo album On This Day

 7. So Will I (100 Billion X) – Hillsong UNITED

At first glance this song is not an obvious choice for this list. But a closer look at the thought-provoking lyrics reveals the powerful imagery of a God who speaks Creation into existence; and whose promise of mercy continues to reverberate in the out-working of our salvation though Christ.

“God of your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once you have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of your voice.”

Sheet music & Chord Sheet are available here
 Listen to So Will I (100 Billion X) on Spotify
From the Hillsong album Wonder

Available on iTunes

 8. Thy Word – Amy Grant

Inspired by the familiar text of Psalm 118(119):105, this song reminds us of the guidance and encouragement that can be found in the Word of God. The refrain can easily be sung by the whole congregation, but the verses lend themselves more to a solo cantor. The refrain would also work well as a short sung response to a reflection or meditation on the Word.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path.

Sheet music resources are available here
 Listen to Thy Word on Spotify
From the Amy Grant album Straight Ahead (
Available on iTunes)

 9. Ancient Words – Michael W. Smith

This contemporary hymn has been described as “an homage to the Written Word of God.” The even metre and refrain make this piece really accessible even for a more traditional congregation.

“Ancient words ever true
Changing me and changing you
We have come with open hearts
O let the ancient words impart

Sheet music is available here
 Listen to Ancient Words on Spotify
From on the Michael W. Smith album Worship again

Available on iTunes

10. The Book – Boyce & Stanley

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul reminds us that the word of God is alive and active – it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. {Hebrews 4:12} This song explores the mystery of this living word, in the precious Book that seems to read us, the more we read it.

“Ancient truths that speak to every age
The words I can’t ignore,
each day they’re leading me

Revelation leaping off the page
Each day I’m reaching for
the book that’s reading me

Chord Sheet is available here
 Listen to The Book on Spotify
Recorded on the Boyce & Stanley album In the Company of Angels

Available on iTunes

We hope these song and ideas will serve you well as we journey through this Year of the Word, and that together we will learn to be ever more attentive to the voice of our God who speaks.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below… What songs would add to this list?

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