Extra Techniques to Consider in Your Songwriting

Featuring Paul Baloche Posted on February 1, 2010

Lining. Here’s a technique you might want to try in your writing: it’s called lining. It’s very effective in situations where the congregation doesn’t have access to the words and music.  It has been used in many cultures, from ancient times to today, in Bible times, in the early American colonies where they had no hymn books, in tribal cultures with no written language. The leader sings a line at a time and the singers sing it after him or her. Sounds boring? Wait till you hear it done with a good solid groove. Think of that chant the Marines use in their marching drills, where the drill instructor shout-sings “I don’t know but I’ve been told ...” and the troops sing each line after him. We can think of few worship songs done that way: “Victory Chant” (Hail, Jesus, you’re my King!”) and the verses of “You’re Worthy of My Praise” and “Revival Fire Fall.” There’s room for more.  Here is the form, used in Jimmy and Carol’s “The Lord Rules!” from Heal Our Land:

The Lord rules (The Lord rules)
In power and might (In power and might)
The Lord rules (The Lord rules )
 In glory and light ( in glory and light)
In majesty ( majesty) honor ( honor)
Glory (glory) power (power)
The Lord rules (The Lord rules)
For ever! (for ever!) For ever! (For ever!)
And our God rules (And our God rules)
In the kingdom of men (In the kingdom of men)
And His is the power (And His is the power)
To raise up (To raise up)
To pull down (To pull down)
For He is the Lord (For He is the Lord)
Of all nations! (Of all nations!)
(Shout) God rules! (God rules!) God rules! (God rules!)

Call and Response. A similar device, called Call and Response, is found in Psalm 136, in which the leader sings different words to each line but is answered each time by the congregation with the same words, “His love endures forever.” Chris Tomlin’s “Forever” is based on this scripture. Jamie Owens Collins also used this device in “The Battle Belongs to the Lord.”

(Verse 1)
In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land
the battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand
the battle belongs to the Lord

We sing glory, honor,
Power and strength to the Lord
We sing glory, honor
Power and strength to the Lord!

(Verse 2)
When the power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord.

(Verse 3)
When the enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord
II Corinthians 10:4:
The weapons of our warfare are not physical, but they are mighty before God for the overthrow of strongholds.

God knows that, in this
chaotic world,
we need
of victory
we can find.
God has provided what we need:
The saving blood of the cross
The power of His name
The sword of His Spirit
And the shield of faith.
 These assure us that
the battle is
not really
It is
And He is right there,
armed and ready.



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