Matt Redman is one of the defining worship artists of this generation.
Over the years, he has ushered many into worship both through his concerts and songwriting. Throughout his lifetime, Redman has planted churches, released worship albums, and produced award winning music that reaches across the world. Yet, while many of us know his material and sing his worship songs in church, we might not know Matt Redman’s story – and how he ended up writing one of the most famous worship songs ever.
Before his entrance into the Christian music sphere as a worship leader, Redman was simply trying to navigate life as a lonely, fatherless kid. At the age of 10 years old, he tagged along with his mother to a Luis Palau service at the QPR football stadium, part of the evangelist’s 1984 Mission to London.
Palau called for his audience to become like children of God. He described God’s heart for his people by using language like “my son” and referring to God as a Father throughout the message. Palau brought near something that might have previously felt far off and aloof. This language resonated with a lonely child who had lost his father just three years prior.
Redman is a gifted singer, songwriter, and worship leader, and his ministry has helped many find Christ. While most songs take time and effort to write and perfect, Redman says the song 10,000 Reasons was born out of the effort of under an hour of work.
While in the midst of an album’s worth of work, songwriter Jonas Myrin asked Redman to sit down and listen to a melody that he thought could be crafted into a song. After hearing the song, Redman sat down with his guitar and poured out his heart in music. In those few minutes, most of the song was written.
The 10,000 Reasons story clearly shows an outpouring of Redman’s heart for worship. He describes the song as reflecting what a Christian’s heart attitude towards their Heavenly Father should be.
Each and every day we should have more than 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord our Savior, but we often enter every day with a heart attitude of grumbling and complaining instead. We blame God for the ways our life isn’t going according to plan. We look to Christ as an easy solution instead of our saving grace.
Just like the Israelites in the desert, we blame God for the manna that He provided and instead ask for meat.
The 10,000 Reasons story calls Christians to change our attitude of ingratitude into a heart of repentance and praise. It calls all believers to look to the eternity that is waiting for us in heaven when we can look forward to praising His name without ceasing. 10,000 Reasons is based on Psalm 103, and both the song and the psalm call their audiences to sing praises God with no exceptions. Despite the hardship that the psalmist faces, he turns to God and praises Him for the ways He has blessed him. Instead of blaming Him for the disease, he thanks Him for providing healing.
Even though the psalmist has been in the pit, he thanks God for His deliverance instead of questioning His faithfulness. 10,000 Reasons calls for the same thanksgiving and blessing instead of wallowing in the hardship that this world will throw at Christians.
The believer should wake every morning with God’s praise on their lips, looking to the future with full confidence in who God is and what He will do for his people.
As the song says: “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” The believer should enter every hardship with an eternal mindset, understanding that whatever happens, God will be faithful to carry them through.
While the song is inspired by Psalm 103, when comparing the song and the psalm it is not hard to see that the song is only loosely based on the scripture. Redman communicates that while he is blessed by hymn writers that put scripture to music, he instead wants to write songs that address the writer’s heart behind the Scripture.
The lyrical hook “Bless the LORD” is repeated throughout Psalm 103 and Redman’s 10,000 Reasons. It has caused many listeners to pause and consider why we should be blessing God when He is the fount of all blessing.
Redman described his understanding of the phrase in an interview on the 10,000 Reasons story. He once said he gained a better understanding from John Piper’s perspective on the phrase, that we are blessing God by recognizing who He is and what He has done, that through this praise of His magnificence and abundance we are better able to convey our own thanksgiving and worship.
That night in the QPR stadium, Redman described how the gospel made sense for the first time. Palau continued his mission late into his life and eventually worked with Redman to bring unbelievers to Christ through worship and the word. During one of Redman’s concerts, he invited Palau to join him on the stage where Palau explained how that night in 1984 he brought Redman to Christ and in a way adopted him as his spiritual son. In March of 2021, Palau passed away, survived by a beautiful legacy of faith and ministry.
Despite all his successes in the music industry, the most crucial part of Redman’s ministry as a worship leader and songwriter has been drawing others to Christ through his music.
Both the 10,000 Reasons story and the song itself call for believers to change their heart response to worship. Not only does God bless us if we put our trust in Him, but we are called to bless the LORD by recalling all of the ways that we are thankful for His work in our lives.
Redman calls us to look to Psalm 103 and see that even in the midst of our suffering we are called to bless the LORD with all that is in us.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
If you love this song as much as we do, you can purchase it here.