Every now and then I broadcast on BBC Radio Cornwall and recommend a contemporary song that church congregations ought to try to sing. This month (February) it’s Through your Precious Blood by Martyn Layzell. Here’s what I said:
We’re almost in Lent, the period leading up to Easter, and so it’s a good time to start looking for songs that focus on the cross and the resurrection.
Of course, there are majestic traditional hymns but there are also some excellent new offerings out there and we’re going to look at one this month.
Through your precious blood, written by worship leader Martyn Layzell, is a great uplifting song that begins with the focus on Jesus and his saving work on the cross and ends with a declaration that the task of telling the story is up to us.
Martyn Layzell was the worship pastor at St Aldates Anglican Church, Oxford, until September 2008, when he started training for ordination.
He regularly leads worship at various events including Soul Survivor and New Wine, and features on several live albums from those events both as a singer and a songwriter. He has produced 2 studio albums and Through your precious blood comes from one of those.
It’s also on the live Spring Harvest 2007 Worship album One People.
The song lends itself to piano or guitar. It’s written in the key of Bflat which is a favourite guitarist’s key because you can put the capo on the third fret and then the hardest chord you need to know is Aminor. Also, if you’re playing solo guitar for it, you could drop it down a fret if the congregation finds it a bit high.
But back to the lyrics. The opening theme is the sacrifice of Jesus, picking up the idea from the New Testament book of Philippians of Christ emptying himself of all majesty to come into the world. The second verse develops the theme of undeserved love: a grace that gives us confidence that we have access to God.
The chorus declares that this saviour deserves all the glory as the only way to the Father and, because the work of God is continued by the coming of his Spirit in us, we can therefore tell the story to the world.
There is a mid-section – Jesus you are worthy/Jesus you are worthy/only you deserve all the glory – and when you sing it with a full band this is a good opportunity to bring down the intensity of the song and let the voices build until you come back in on the chorus for a finish.
If you’re playing as a solo guitarist you can accentuate this section by just keeping the rhythm going and encouraging the singing before returning to the chords for the final chorus.
It’s a song that congregations take to quickly and will be a good addition to your worship for the Easter period.