Lead us back - song of worship

Lead us back

This song has been the prayer of my heart in recent days, I thought it might also be a blessing to someone here. :white_heart:


Hey @holly thanks for sharing this! Have you found a particular circumstance to stir this prayer in your heart or is it more of just seeing how things are going around you? Amen to us being led back to God.

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Hi @holly, listening to this again, thanks to @alison’s prompting.

It is so rare to hear a hymn of lament and repentance. And this one is so directed to the current epidemic of celebrity culture and self-protection in the American evangelical movement.

This confession is sobering and powerful:

Lord we fall upon our knees
We have shunned the weak poor Worshipped beauty courted kings And the things their gold affords Prayed for those weʼd like to know Favor sings a siren tune
Weʼve become a talent show Lead us back to life in you

Thank you for sharing this with us.


Thanks for inquiring, Alison. I think it’s a little bit of both for me. I read a lot of material from and about persecuted Christians and martyrs, and I think that there is a vividly marked difference between their examples/beliefs/lives of faith than what is common in the overall American church. I myself being a product of Christianity in America, grieve seeing how lacking we seem to be compared to these fiery saints, and it saddens me that we don’t seem to have a comparable caliber of strong leadership either.

A specific situation that has recently touched my life has been a devastating experience in my church home, where NAR type teachings/teachers have been introduced and embraced by the majority, including leaders. I think that there were hints of certain unbiblical elements that have always been present (such as God always wants every person to be physically healed now), but these were not the main focus and were never topics of preaching, so I felt comfortable enough to ignore the occasional things I didn’t agree with, while embracing the predominant truths that helped strengthen me in my walk with Christ. I came to my current church broken and having been bound in a sinful lifestyle. Here God drew me to Himself and healed me of both my broken heart/ ways of thinking and of my sin. However, in at least the last year or so, there seems to have been a shift that has progressively leaned heavily towards embracing and proclamation of health and wealth sentiments, along with incremental reorganization that has incorporated a type of “gift store” in the lobby, etc. I see this extremely American cultural mindset and luxurious way of doing church, along with teachings that are actually quite difficult to refute given their crafty nature of blending mostly truth and goodwill with small, sometimes latent inconsistencies. I find myself grieving over the general representation of Christ in America, the deviation from sound doctrine in my home church, and my own identification within these structures.

This has been the most difficult season in my life of faith. My faith has been shaken, my mind has been assailed with questions, doubts, and confusion which have given rise to responses in me ranging from deep grief to despondency. It’s been a very lonely experience, given that I don’t feel like I have a safe place in my church family to receive counsel from concerning these things.

While reading The book of Hebrews one day, I was drawn to the phrase, “consider Jesus.” This has been my ongoing strategy as I continue to struggle through this trying time and through feelings of chaos and insecurity. I’ve also began searching for others who have passed through seasons of wrestling with doubt. Andrea Lucado has a book that has been helpful called, English Lessons.

To end on a more uplifting note, here is an excerpt from a letter by Samuel Rutherford that has also given me a sense of stability:

“And as for your complaint of deadness and doubtings, Christ will, I hope, take your deadness and you together. They are bodies full of holes, running boils, and broken bones which need mending, that Christ the physician taketh up; whole vessels are not for the mediators art. Publicans, sinners, harlots are ready market wares for Christ. The only thing that will bring sinners within a cast of Christ’s drawing arm is that which you write of- some feeling of death and sin. That brings forth complaints; therefore, out of a sense complain more, and be more acquaint with all the cramps, stitches, and souls swoonings that trouble you. The more pain, the more night watching, and the more fevers, the better. A soul bleeding to death till Christ were sent for, and cried for an all haste, to come and stem the blood, and close up the hole in the wound with his own hand and balm, were a very good disease, when many are dying of a whole heart.
… but the thing that we mistake is the want to victory. We hold that to be the mark of one that has no grace. Nay, say I, the want of fighting were a mark of no grace; but I shall not say the want to victory is such a mark. If my fire and the devil‘s water make crackling like thunder in the air, I am the less feared; for where there is fire, it is Christ part, which I lay and bind upon him, to keep in the coal, and to pray the father that my faith fail not, if I in the meantime be wrestling and doing and fighting and mourning.”


I agree, Carson, this particular hymn is sobering. The imagery of a siren tune is a really powerful metaphor for the kind of Christianity that is displayed at large in America. The words, “bring us back to life in You” are, I think, the heart of repentance and of this song. As critical as I am of those who explicitly exemplify these erroneous trends in American culture/ Christianity, an honest search reveals similar inclinations towards weakening comforts in my own heart. From these I long to be free. Richard Wurmbrand writes something about the major moral weakness of the bride of Christ is her ability to choose suffering, which, he says, is the place where she comes closest to her Beloved and where they are most intimate. I think of the poem by Amy Carmichael, “Oh for the love that leads the way….let me not sink to be a clod, make my Thy fuel, o flame of God.”


Hi @holly , I’m sorry for the struggle you have found in the last year, and grateful for your honesty in highlighting the issues. Sadly, but maybe reassuringly, you’re not the only one coming across this conflict in the body of Christ. I’m impacted by 2 main points you’ve raised: firstly, that of the

and secondly of the influence of NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) spreading across churches worldwide. (For anyone reading that might be unfamiliar with this term, Holly Pivec has done some very helpful work on exposing it - see link below).

By identifying a ‘luxurious way of doing church’, my interpretation would be that the western church sits too easily with the western secular culture of ‘rights’. What I mean is that we have this sense of entitlement that we should have - have things, have opportunities, have full health, have wealth….we see this in western media and it’s certainly influenced our mindset when it comes to church. So much so, that it’s corrupted our perception of suffering and struggles. We feel like victims if we suffer, we are taught that it’s not God’s will for us to suffer which leads us down some theological roads of error. I’m not saying it’s God’s will that we do suffer, but I think He certainly uses the suffering of this broken world to shape our characters. This lesson can be lost if we think that we shouldn’t suffer ever.

I wonder how this impacts the way we share the gospel around the world to cultures whose standard of living may be very different to others or who live under persecution? Many around the world can fully embrace Romans 5:3 when it says “we rejoice in our suffering” because they daily live out their understanding of what it means.

How can we rejoice in our sufferings if we believe we’re entitled to no suffering?

How can we stand with Paul when he said “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil 4:11-13) if we think we are entitled to wealth and possessions and that Christians don’t deserve poverty?

I think you’re right to be concerned about all this.

I grieve with you on this.

As for the growth of NAR teachings, I can personally identify with your sense of being alone as you wrestle through some issues. It’s hard if others around you don’t recognise it, or see the problems with it. For example, what do you do if The Passion Translation is being read from the pulpit? What should you do if you raise questions over faulty theology that’s subtlety taught through this translation but it’s not received by the leaders? It can be lonely, and I understand why you’ve felt like you have done. I spent a long time looking for answers from people I respected and there always seemed to be a general idea that when using the NAR teachings and resources to “chew the meat and spit out the bones”. I personally found this frustrating and unhelpful because it seems to ignore the risk that the ‘good parts’ of these NAR ministries may draw in people who won’t have the discernment to recognise when things go off piste theologically. Certain worship songs are a good example of this, as this is a prime area where erroneous beliefs creep into Christianity without people realising.

This reminds me of the UP Live Event that was held recently called “Have Christians disproven Christianity?” with John Dickson. I found it helpful to listen to, because whilst there is dismay at how we represent Christ - we all fail at times - there is also hope because God still chooses to use us as His witnesses. He is sovereign and has a plan even when we mess up. His truth will always stand. You may find it helpful to listen to if you haven’t already.

Thank you for the reminder from Hebrews to ‘considerJesus’. It’s so simple and so beautiful, and so foundational. I pray that you will find encouragement and see God’s light through the dark times that you’ve experienced, and that you’ll be a witness to the church around you through what you’ve learned.


@alison First, I am truly so thankful to you for taking the time to ask, listen, and respond during this thread. As I mentioned, this is a very lonely season where I feel isolated from what was once my support group. Your taking the time to respond is more meaningful to me than I can express. Thank you so much. Im sorry to hear how you have faced similar wrestlings, but it is also a comfort to hear that, while I feel it, I am not alone. So again, thank you for giving of your time and for sharing. It is a gift, and I am grateful.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve been having to “spit out bones” here and there for a while. I told myself that there is so much I don’t know and that it likely wouldn’t be helpful (or needful) to argue every time I disagreed on something. The main stuff was sound, so I just ignored what I felt I didn’t have biblical ground to accept. Unfortunately, the “bone” content progressively grew more and more over time, until, as it seems, it’s simply taken over. As far as lyrical content, I also agree with this. However, I tend to feel pedantic , especially since it seems that I’m noticing sooo much that is wrong throughout the various representations of Christianity. I struggle to know the proper balance in handling issues that range so widely, yet without becoming cynical or dogmatic. I suppose that’s why I’ve just kept my head down and have remained silent till now.

I am familiar with both of the resources you shared, and they are great! Thank you. One of the things that has been most striking to me is how this has all led to the most severe doubt I’ve ever experienced. Another source that has helped me is GaryHabermas.com. He speaks about the reliability of the resurrection account and how this helps against doubt.

Thank you again, Alison. And also thanks to Carson, who has also graciously answered some of my questions, and to this entire community for being a safe place to come when your mind and heart are in a mess. I am continuing to pray, waiting on Christ to deliver and to heal. Thank you all for praying and for standing for truth.


Hi @holly , I’ve taken encouragement from what you’ve shared, as your experiences continue to resonate with me.

Yes, I know exactly how this tension feels. I too have worried that I have become more cynical through the process of keeping teachings or songs at arm’s length until it can be worked out prayerfully. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when I shared my own confusion about these things was to guard my heart. I remember at the time these words standing out to me, and I’ve never forgotten them in the last couple of years. I have sometimes realised how I failed to guard my heart against bitterness and cynicism, but I also know is really hard to avoid these things when navigating solo through them. I was like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other - from enjoyment and belief in all these exciting, experiential, supernatural encounters/teachings to being totally disbelieving of any of them until I could verify or get it affirmed by people I trusted. I’m still learning how to walk the middle path. Certainly guarding my heart has been a very helpful piece of advice.

In the last year, I’ve picked up 3 particular books to help me work out what knowing the presence of God is like outside of NAR traditions, and to help me understand scripture away from NAR interpretational techniques:

  • ‘The practice of the presence of God’, by brother Lawrence
  • ‘Experiencing the Presence of God: Teachings from the Book of Hebrews’ by AW Tozer.
  • ‘Practising the Power’ by Sam Storms

If you haven’t read any of these yet, they may help you. I certainly felt them lift my spirits and encourage me as I looked at scripture about all these things.

Also, I’ve had to pull back everything I thought I knew or believed about God, to come back to some basics that I would talk about with my children. Just walking in nature and then asking myself what this shows me about my Creator has been a balm to my heart, helping me to focus on the good and the beautiful as a way of guarding my heart, as Philippians 4:8 tells us:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I’ll be praying for you through this journey.