Better In His Presence

Author: Joe Wells

Picture: Flickr

Better In His Presence

One Hope Project's Joe Wells explains the songwriting process behind "Better In His Presence" from their new album, "You".

“Better in His Presence” is 100% inspired by the Psalms.
The Psalms are full of the people of God praising and thanking Him for all His blessings. The line I had going round in my head was this line from Psalm 84:

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
I loved the idea that just one day in the presence of God was so much better than a thousand days anywhere else.
If this is true, I want to be in the presence of God. I had this initial idea in my head for a song, along with the desire to write a tune that was upbeat.
With this in mind, the opportunity arose to lead some worship at a Youth Alpha weekend away.

"Don't lose me in the midst of the song"

I went along to lead some music for the young people attending and in between the sessions my plan was to spend some time song writing.

When I arrived, I was shown to the room where I was staying. A little note was stuck on the door. It  read:
 “Let the praises of the King rise among us.”
“Enter His courts with songs of praise”
….. don’t lose me (the Lord) in the midst of the song.”
My friends who had invited me to the event had prayed for me before the weekend and shared the piece of scripture they had for me.
This was a beautiful confirmation from God to continue working on an idea for a song about it being better in His presence.
Have a listen to the song here:


Psalms Of Praise

This inspired me to look through the Psalms and see where people entered the courts of the King with praise and thanksgiving. There are lots of examples and you can see how this made up lots of the words for the song:

Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 118
The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.

The start of Psalm 84 particularly inspired verse 2:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.


A Team Effort

After spending some time on building the song at the Youth Alpha weekend, I took the song to one of the songwriting sessions we had with One Hope Project members.

We split into smaller groups to work on some different ideas. In this group, the song developed a bit further, changing some of the melody and honing some of the lyrics.

After the songwriting weekends, the song hit the studio, where more of the One Hope Project team worked on guitar hooks, melodies and instrumentation of the song, turning it into the tune you hear today: “It’s better in His presence/That’s where I want to be/We are free to enter because of Calvary/ It’s better in His presence/That’s where I want to be/I have found the Father/His love has set me free.”

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