Sunday, June 24, 2018
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST: QUIET PRAYERS
Bryan Duncan was born on March 16/53 in Riverside, California. He was lead singer for the Christian rock band Sweet Comfort Band who put out their debut album SWEET COMFORT in 1977. In 1985 he released his solo debut HAVE YOURSELF COMMITTED. My fave Bryan Duncan album is 1989's STRONG MEDICINE. Fast forward to 1996 and he released his eighth studio album QUIET PRAYERS (Myrrh). It was the third album in the MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST series. The first two, which came out in 1995 and 1996, were multi-artist efforts. QUIET PRAYERS was produced by Dan Posthuma and won a Dove for 'Inspirational Album of the Year'.
1. 'Bryan's Hymn (When I Turn to You)' was written by Bryan and James Felix. It's a tender inspirational ballad about God's goodness: "When I turn to You/You are always waiting/With a heart that understands before I speak and I learn from You/All that really matters/Though a million years go by You'll still love me/I no longer look for a place to hide/Cause I know where I belong/When I turn to You".
2. 'O Love That will Not Let Me Go' is a sleepy song that runs just shy of six minutes long and includes some great acoustic guitar work. These are some words of hope: "O joy that seekest me thru pain/I cannot close my heart to Thee/I trace the rainbow thru the rain/And feel the promise is not vain/That mourn shall tearless be".
3. 'I Surrender All' is a beloved hymn of the Christian faith. These words speak of spiritual dedication: "All to Jesus I surrender/Lord, I give myself to Thee/Fill me with Thy love and power/Let Thy blessing fall on me/I surrender all/I surrender all/All to Thee my blessed Savior/I surrender all".
4. 'Beneath the Cross of Jesus' begins as a peaceful instrumental and then finds Bryan singing the chorus of 'I Surrender All'.
5. Next up is 'Come, Holy Spirit'. It dates back to 1964 and was written by Gloria and Bill Gaither. It serves as a prayer: "Come, Holy Spirit, I need You now/Come, Sweet Spirit, I pray/Come in Your strength and Your power/Come in Your own gentle way/Come like a spring in the desert/Come to the withered of soul/O let Your sweet healing power/Touch me and make me whole".
6. 'Take My Life and Let it Be' is a beautiful piece that begins with these words we should all really pray at the beginning of each day: "Take my life and let it be/Consecrated, Lord, to Thee/Take my hands and let them move/At the impulse of Thy love/At the impulse of Thy love".
7. An instrumental version of 'A Heart Like Mine' follows. The original version was sung by Duncan on the 1995 album MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST. I for sure prefer the version with lyrics.
8. 'I Need Thee Every Hour' includes these lyrics of one letting down one's walls and getting real with God: "I need Thee, O I need Thee/Ev'ry hour I need Thee/O bless me now, my Savior/I come to Thee/I need Thee ev'ry hour/In joy or pain/Come quickly and abide/Or life is in vain".
9. What follows is a lovely instrumental medley comprised of 'El Shaddai' (Michael Card/John Thompson) and 'You are my Hiding Place' (Michael Ledner).
10. A version of Martin Nystrom's 1984 classic chorus 'As the Deer', which here only runs a bit over a minute and a half, is next. It's a song of testimony: "As the deer panteth for the water/So my soul longeth after Thee/You alone are my heart's desire/And I long to worship Thee".
11. Last up is 'Bryan's Prayer (I Love You With My Life)'. This soft ballad was penned by Bryan and finds him declaring his dedication to God: "Please know that I love You/I'll stay by Your side/I'll worship You in spirit/Dear Lord, be my guide/I will not suffer long/Cause You have suffered for me/I love You with my life". The song was originally on Sweet Comfort Band's 1979 album BREAKIN' THE ICE.
QUIET PRAYERS is a swell album. Prayers are sent up acknowledging our need as humans for God and His Spirit to come and refresh and renew us. Other songs celebrate finding belonging, joy, and strength in God. Also God's everlasting love is celebrated. Bryan makes it clear that he truly loves God, is dedicated to Him, trusts Him, and is surrendered to Him. Bryan says God is His heart's desire and Bryan wants to be used of God. The last song fittingly looks forward to Christ's return. Bryan's vocals are soulful and this album is chalk full of songs of an easy listening and inspirational nature. There are no fast songs to be found here, and that's okay. I'm rating QUIET PRAYERS, which clocks in at 38 minutes and 44 seconds, a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.bryanduncan.com or connect with him on Facebook.