We Choose To Bow Song Story

Featuring Dan Adler Posted on July 17, 2012

I wrote this song before we started Heart of the City in 1996 when I still worked at the Church of the Open Door. But we recorded it on our first Heart of the City CD in 1999. I remember sitting through one of Pastor Dave Johnson’s sermons around Easter time when he was talking about the scourging of Jesus before His crucifixion. Not unlike the movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, he spoke in detail of the mocking and torture of Jesus. He quoted the scripture that described them pulling out his beard and covering Him with spit. He spoke of how they mocked Him and degraded Him and told Him, if really was a prophet, to prophesy as to who just hit him as they were raining blows upon Him. As I sat and listened to those horrible and degrading things being described, I felt something rise up in me that wanted to say “No!” to all of that. I wanted to stand in the face of their mockery and abuse and declare Him to be who I know He really is! I wanted to honor Him and declare Him to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords and the most precious One that I know! I wanted to worship Him for being willing to endure such abuse for my sake and for the sake of a rebellious world. I wanted to write a song of worship that many could sing that would contain strong, substantive declarations of truth and worship in the face of such lies. So later on, as a I pondered these things, these words rolled out in a song…”Though a million voices choose to deny You, we choose to bow!..”

In that period of time, Shirley McClaine, the actress, had helped to popularize the New Age movement – which is a combination of Eastern Buddhism and Hinduism and American narcissism. She spoke of standing on a mountain in Peru and declaring “I am God!” Not many humans say that out loud, but lots of us live that way and many philosophies and some religions endorse that belief. So the first verse includes the lines, “Though they deny that we all are sinful. Though they proclaim God is in us all. Though we are told we don’t need a Savior. Humbly now, at Your feet we fall.” And the chorus of the song goes on to say, “We choose to bow! We choose to sing! We choose to crown You the King of Kings! We are not God! We say out loud, 'Only to You do we choose to bow!'”

I wrote this song over a couple of weeks period of time and during that time, I did something that I knew was sinful and I felt bad about it. As I went back to writing this song, my words mocked me. “Sure, you choose to bow! Right! What a hypocrite!”. I felt really discouraged and thought that I’m just too flawed to write such a song. But then the Lord reminded me of why He endured that suffering in the first place – to make wicked people like me righteous, and that even in failure, I can honor Him, as I once again choose to bow to Him in acknowledgement of my sin and in repentance. And so then as I began to write the 2nd verse, these words came to me, “Though we may stumble and we may falter. Though we have wandered and gone astray. Mercy is given to all who call You. Mercy is given to all who say… We choose to bow…”

As I went on to ponder the implications of making these declarations, I felt a bit of a shudder inside. I realized that though I’m free to say these things now in the USA, many believers in other countries and at other times have to and have had to pay a massive price for such declarations and I may have to some day as well. So I wrote the third verse about the cost of discipleship.

Since writing this song, it has now been published in a beautiful choral arrangement by Alegis Music and put in several songbooks and recorded on several CD's including the Azusa Pacific University Choir. Another great blessing that has come from this song, is to hear that it’s been translated into a couple of languages and sung in other countries. I was deeply touched a few years ago when at one of our events, someone who’d gone on a mission trip to the Ukraine, gave me a DVD of this song being sung in a little Ukranian congregation. They told me that the message of the song was strongly embraced by the Ukranian people after years of having atheistic communism forced upon them and that the music sounded to them like their own style of music. They don't sing real great, but how beautiful this sounds coming from these people in this situation. 

Worship, according to the dictionary, means "to ascribe worth to, to bow down to or to give homage" to God. Jesus chose to embrace the agony and shame of the crucifixion to atone for our sins. I want to now choose to bow to Him in every way because He is so amazing and so worthy of my worship.