Stop Singing Oceans.

on September 16, 2014 in Sounds good to me. with 308 comments by


In a manner unlike a normal Annie-post, I’m gonna get my preach on here, people.

You’ve got to stop singing Oceans.

(Here’s the song if you want it playing in the background as I tell you to stop singing it.)

If you are in a contemporary worship church, then you probably sing it. If you listen to Christian radio or keep up with the CCM world, then you probably know it. And you probably love it. I do too.

“And I will call upon Your Name, and keep my eyes above the waves…”

Beautiful stuff.

But you’ve got to quit singing Oceans.

And hear me, I am absolutely not saying anything against the performers, or writers, or musicians, or Hillsong. I’m cheering for them. They have created something incredible.

But this isn’t about them. It’s about you. And me. 

And it’s about when we sing the bridge of the song.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”

“Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.”

Here’s my problem.

If you will ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to where your trust is without borders, do you actually mean that? Because it could look like giving money away. Or it could look like being kind to the mom no one else will talk to at soccer practice. Or it could be fostering even though you aren’t sure you’re equipped. Or it could be asking that girl on a date even though you are scared. Or it could be standing up for your faith when your neighbor makes fun of Christians. Or it could be moving to a foreign country or less-affluent neighborhood or just moving to a different table at lunch.

You are asking God to take you to where your trust has no borders. You know what that means? You have to leave your borders.

Economic borders.

Social borders.

Geographic borders.

Religious borders.

Racial borders.

NOTHING in those two lines of lyrics is going to feel good when you are going through it. You are singing, with your hands raised high, for God to make you uncomfortable… and then you feel the nudge- the nudge to buy a coffee for a homeless man or confess a sin to your small group or share about something that happened in your past, AND YOU DON’T DO IT.

I don’t either.

And every time I hear that song, I feel convicted for the way I sing it but refuse to live it.

Do you get that?

See, you and I are willing to sing the song on Sunday because it feels good, but will we move when the Spirit leads on Monday?

If it is deeper than your feet would wander, it’s going to be unknown and scary and uncomfortable.

Do you know what it is like outside of the borders? It is wild. And unpredictable. And dangerous.

Also? It’s exhilarating and life-giving and exactly the kind of brave people God wants us to be.


If you are only singing the song and not living the life, stop singing Oceans.

If you will really read the lyrics, if you will know what you are singing when you sing, and if you will listen to the Holy Spirit and follow when He leads you deeper and farther, then buckle up and sing your heart out, because it’s going to be a beautifully messy ride.

. . . . .


  1. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:47 AM  |  reply

    Isn’t that what we, Christians, are called to do…DO something? We are okay with receiving, receiving, receiving from God and sometimes that is the end of story. However, we need to start acting/living (like the examples you gave above). There are many worship songs that I call “me” songs….what God is going to do for me or what we expect Him to do…for me. Sometimes I don’t even sing these songs because I feel selfish. I love that this song actually reminds us to give back and reach out. I need more messy. I need more uncomfortable. I need to be reminded. And, in truth, those who are young adults right now, most are getting this concept better than us oldie but goodies! Great post, as always, Annie.

    • Stephen
      posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:36 PM  |  reply

      Not really. Most Christians today what you to be parrot fed robots that just repeat back what makes sense to them. If you start looking, you will find cracks and loss your faith. Don’t dig to deep — I’ve always said the fastest way to make an Atheist is to have them read the Bible.

      • Hector Maldonado
        posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:21 PM  |  reply

        Lol how so? I’ve been reading the bible for years now and all it’s done is make me look at my God in amazement. Those who become “atheist” after reading the bible are the ones who didn’t like what was required of them to truly follow Jesus. And effectively gave up on God and blamed it on “cracks” or “inconsistencies”.

        • Tricia Blackwell
          posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:58 PM  |  reply

          Well said !

        • Jacob Matteson
          posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:03 PM  |  reply

          Very well put.

      • Robyn
        posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:42 PM  |  reply

        Have you read the Bible? ALL of it? What Christians want isn’t important. Christians are flawed human beings like anybody else. What matters is what God requires. The best source for that is the Bible, not a flawed human.

      • coffeeben
        posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:35 PM  |  reply

        A robot that eats parrots to function?

      • Jenn Hoskins
        posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:43 PM  |  reply

        Funny…. fastest way I stopped being an atheist was to read the bible. I am far from a parrot fed robot.

      • posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 8:43 AM  |  reply

        I’ve read the Bible all the way through maybe 8 times and spent decades in church, religious school and college, and related “ministries”. And I’ve found those cracks of which you speak. I’ve wrestled with the interpretations I was spoon-fed and found them wanting. But I have to say that it hasn’t made me an Atheist… it’s made me more convinced that Jesus was on to something but that pretty much all religions built supposedly in his name are mostly non-profit corporations interested in self-preservation through fear/guilt/shame/manipulation and not truly devoted to expanding the kingdom of God of which Jesus spoke. If we really cared about what Jesus cared about, I doubt we’d need all this multi-million dollar real estate and paid staff just to sing feel-good songs and hear recycled messages about pet doctrines that Jesus didn’t care about. We’d be investing our time, money, resources way more effectively as we live out the way of Jesus. But we don’t…

        • dee
          posted on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:48 AM  |  reply

          Well said, if you really know Jesus, your whole outlook changes. The importance of most things you can see doesn’t really seem so important anymore. It’s what you can’t see that is so amazing and breath taking.

        • posted on Sep 20, 2015 at 7:22 PM  |  reply

          All talk but no action. Come you guys.

      • Zach
        posted on Dec 31, 2014 at 3:08 PM  |  reply

        I’ve read the Bible (specifically focusing on the Gospels) and I appreciate my faith even more, especially considering how counter-culture and compassionate Jesus was (or at least was portrayed by the Evangelists). I would encourage people to dive deeper into their faith by reading the Gospels, provided they have some sense of historical context and don’t blindly cherry – pick quotes like many Christians (and atheists) do.

      • Steve
        posted on Jan 06, 2015 at 3:48 PM  |  reply

        Only those that had to understanding to begin with turn to atheism. Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
        I have always said. Show me an atheist and i will show you someone that has no future.

    • Blair A. Beree
      posted on May 03, 2015 at 7:33 PM  |  reply

      I can help you become more uncomfortable! I sing Oceans with my whole heart, asking the Holy Spirit to lead me to where I can only depend on the Word, Jesus, God, resources will be provided, etc… because as long as I have them, I am never alone. I have came into contact with a “buddhist”, he proclaimed, and I made a mess of the relationship at first, I didn’t know how to handle it, but then I prayed, “God, restore this relationship to how You would have it.” And He did! This week or last after work He said he believed in God,… I WAS SHOCKED, but oh so joyful. He didn’t say Jesus,…yet, but that’ll be another bridge to cross when it’s God’s time to bring it to the light.
      The key was, to seek loving the lost sheep as Jesus did/does/would, not giving up on finding the lost sheep [bringing his heart to a place of forgiveness through works (like being kind to him, being patient with him, being gentle towards him, filling him with all the fruits of the spirit so that he becomes full of goodness) and not only with words, and zero condemning him (holding no sin that he had ever committed against him….ever, but talked through those times that he had been through and judge him not because of them), and always having a good attitude towards him and others)], (and once finding the lost sheep), not becoming discourage at walking the lost [but now found] sheep back to Christ (which is the stage we’re in now).
      Jesus is the Shepard of all of our hearts. The Word of God will always give you the strength that grows your faith. Patience and trust though, that has to come from your own heart to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Through all of this, He led many people around him, many believers who not only believed in the Gospel, but those who also acted it out. So knowing that as long as you stand firm in your walk of faith (even when your just waiting), and you are continually seeking how you can improve all that you can control in order to get God’s will through you to others for the greater good of the kingdom of Heaven, it will always come to pass, no matter what.

      • dee
        posted on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:09 AM  |  reply

        Well said, it’s amazing how your contribution helped the “Buddhist”. I personally am struggling with the part about helping people to come to God. I have this overwhelming desire to tell everyone how amazing our God is and when it’s about to happen somehow I chicken out. So I just want to say thank you for being so dedicated to your faith, to be able to help someone know God is such a blessing in itself!

        • Ben
          posted on Aug 01, 2015 at 12:16 AM  |  reply

          Dee, go to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of “Share Jesus Without Fear” by William Fay. It will change your life and your outlook on personal evangelism!

        • Sarah
          posted on Mar 17, 2016 at 6:58 PM  |  reply

          Dee, a good book is “Tactics” by Greg Koukl. It’s a great game plan for discussing your Christian convictions, and helps it not seem as scary. (: I would highly recommend it. In fact, you can check out his apologetics ministry, Stand to Reason ( as well. And never forget that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness!

  2. Abby
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:43 AM  |  reply

    I love this! There are so many things like this where we need to stop and ask what we are singing or listening to, and how our reaction should be if we actually mean the words we say we proclaim. And yes, it’s scary but oh so worth it!

    • posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM  |  reply

      I agree with all you said. God has been working in my heart this summer. I realize I need a deeper commitment
      A deeper surrender
      And a much deeper love… For all man kind!
      The man I married,
      The man that cuts me off in traffic,
      And even the man that does horrible, detestable things.
      Is that not the reason Christ came?
      To lay down his life for sinners?
      Christ Jesus died for everyone!

    • dee
      posted on Jul 16, 2015 at 11:09 AM  |  reply


  3. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:49 AM  |  reply

    Boy, what a great post. Seriously captured me from the get go. It immediately made me think of Hebrews 12:11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

    Who on earth would ask for trust without borders? I’ve sang that song countless times but you are really making me think long and hard again….which is what I love about you! I have always told myself that I would never willingly sign up for the long dark valleys I’ve been through, but when I look back, remembering hindsight has 20/20 vision, I wouldn’t trade the experience(s) for anything. Yes, I almost wanted to die during the process, but oh, I am so much richer and wiser and humble and loving and…shall I go on?

    Thank you for the charge. Keep inciting us to the deeper walk.


  4. Barb
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:55 AM  |  reply

    Girrrrlllllll!!!!!! Preacher gon PREACH! Love this post. Thanks for writing it! LOVE YOU!

  5. Leslie
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:57 AM  |  reply

    This is how I feel right now, reading Jen Hatmaker’s “Interrupted”. A holy slap across the face.

    • Sherri Farrell
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM  |  reply

      I wept while reading Jen Hatmaker’s “7”. I got that same holy slap!

  6. Ann Jorgensen
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:58 AM  |  reply

    Love it!! You are absolutely right. I think we sing the words, and quote the scriptures without really stopping to think about what that means. Are we really willing to do what we are singing about? I was thinking the same thing about all the Amen sayers on Sunday morning–and I am one of those sometimes. We say amen when we hear something we agree with–like the words to Oceans–but I think it to often ends there. The sermon point, the song lyric, or the scripture verse is not just something to agree with. Too often I just go through the motions, which is easy to do after almost 60 years of church attendance. I don’t want to take another bible study or go to another church service without leaving there different than when I went in. I don’t want to just gain head knowledge, or have some fuzzy, feel good moment–I want to leave there empowered by the Holy Spirit to be different–to do different. I want to be empowered to be a world changer.

  7. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:02 AM  |  reply


    Convicting, powerful post, Annie.

    I have thought the same thing while singing “Enough” the last many years.

    All of you
    is more than enough for
    all of me
    for every thirst and
    every need

    Which is absolutely true. But do I really believe that? Do I really believe that God is enough? What if I lost my security, my family, my finances, my health? Could I still sing it? I have no idea what it really means to know that God is enough. I’ve never really had that tested to the depths of me, like my friends in Haiti have, for instance.

  8. Laura
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:16 AM  |  reply

    I wrote about this in my journal yesterday. I’ve realized I’ve been “asking in faith” for things and getting ticked when I actually have to do it. Makes me process what I’m asking for and think about what my life would be like. Not that it stops me from asking, but it does make me prepare myself.

  9. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:36 AM  |  reply

    You took the thoughts about this song right out of my head!!

  10. Ann Purcell
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:41 AM  |  reply

    Wow!!! Nailed it. Painful & Powerful TRUTH.

  11. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:44 AM  |  reply

    Yes and amen! I sing this song trembling and when we were in the thick of our adoption process, not sure if our girls would ever make it home, I sang that bridge wanting God to really stretch my faith and he did!! But yes, don’t sing this unless you’re prepared for the ride!!

  12. Robin Reister
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:48 AM  |  reply

    I was first introduced to this song in the spring of 2012…. I sang it with abandon and meant every word! I was so tired of the monotony of everyday life and I was literally begging God to take me deeper! He did…. Economically, geographically, and socially…… It has been the most difficult 2 1/2 years of our lives!! (My hubs, myself, and our 6 beautiful children). The difficulty rages on everyday…. In January of this year, God have me the word ‘TRUST’. I laughed facetiously…. I wouldn’t have sang that song if I didn’t trust Him already…. Little did I know, seeing through my human eyes, that this was the deeper…. Yes I trusted Him, but I didn’t really TRUST Him….. Everyday is an unknown battle/adventure. I am learning to trust Him more and more than I have ever thought possible. However difficult these past years have been I wouldn’t change a thing. I now am more focused on living in His promises. I see His faithfulness everyday. Don’t be afraid to jump in, but be prepared! Be ready to throw your hands in the air, wave your white flag and say ‘I surrender!’ If you are in the midst of The Lord taking you deeper, read Psalm 73, and by all means put your armor on!!!!

  13. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    I totally understand what you mean… Last year, I was singing this song from the bottom of my heart. And then the Spirit pushed me (no, He didn’t nudge or gently remind me) to come clean. To confess a sin that was burried in me so deep I didn’t even remember it. I was way out of my comfort zone, and it was so, so difficult. It took me months getting rid of the guild, to indeed trust God without borders. But I did come clean, and a heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders. So, you’re right. Don’t sing this song without being fully aware of the consequences. It can be dangerous:-)

  14. Joyce
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM  |  reply

    Can I say I wish this post was more encouraging? It made me feel guilty not convicted. But maybe that’s just me.

    However, I understand completely where you’re coming from. I sang this at church one Sunday when I was struggling with many things in life, and that’s when I had an “aha!” moment.

    Singing this song meant, for me, to gladly live with my palms open and up to receive all God graciously gives no matter the circumstance. I was reminded that tithing and giving to Compassion even when I couldn’t afford groceries was being obedient to the words I sang in that song. Jesus gave thanks first and then the bread multiplied. And don’t you know–I was able to have plenty of groceries because a friend moved and gave me her entire fridge and pantry stock?

    I’ve also learned that during this season when I am constantly looking to God as my sole provider, that it’s been kind of nice. It reminds me when I feel frazzled or overwhelmed that I prayed for this! This is the Spirit leading me to places where my trust is without borders. It’s really awesome seeing God work in my life. I much prefer this inundation of trials knowing God is molding me than living comfortably but empty.

    It’s the same thing about praying for humility and patience. It’s those times I feel pride and irritability popping its head most often 😉

    Thank you for the message of this post. I pray you continue to help us remain authentic and honest!

  15. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM  |  reply

    I’m sorry but this is an unfair article. Your arguments can apply to any worship song ever written. Using your argument we should just stop worshiping altogether. We are all hypocrites who fail everyday. God is aware that we are imperfect, that is one of the main reasons we attend church in the first place. We attend church to worship God and be reminded of our imperfections and also encouraged by our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we must daily take up our cross and follow him. We don’t need to stop singing because we are going to fail tomorrow. We keep singing to remind us of the goal: bringing glory to God every chance we get.

    • Rafael
      posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 1:24 PM  |  reply

      I was thinking the same.

      There isn’t anything wrong with the author’s post. Certainly something I have wrestled with myself as a Worship Pastor for 15 years.

      There are many things God convicts us in. The challenge is taking personal things and putting a “for everyone” sticker on it.

      Sure, we can all benefit from questioning our motives when singing/praying/saying things… but I suspect that, at least this side of Heaven, we will consistently fall short and not love entirely what we’re singing.

      While well-intended, it comes across more condescending than not. As Jessica writes, (paraphrasing), let’s just throw out 75% of the songs we sing.

      Any song that says, “I love You.” Do we live that all the time? I suspect there are times we don’t represent that.

      Any song with any mention of surrendering anything or everything… welp, there goes that one as well.

      Rather than telling people not to singing it and making us feel horrible or hypocritical, I think the better route is calling us to sing these songs as prayers and trusting/praying that these sung prayers become more and more prevalent and a part of our lives.

      After all… We’re all on a journey and in a process.

      • posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM  |  reply

        Hi Jessica. I personally enjoyed this article. I was expecting to be offended. But then I realized that this article isn’t asking me to stop singing “Oceans” but to stop and truly reflect on the words the song is saying. We’ve come so accustomed to singing songs that sound cool without really listening to what we’re saying with both secular and Christian music. This was a much needed article that should prompt us to sing that song and worship in Spirit and in truth as the scriptures say we should. 🙂

    • Danielle
      posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:33 PM  |  reply

      I could not agree with you more Jessica. Why even go to church then? Just stop singing every song if you don’t plan on following through with every lyric. Forget that the song ushers you into his presence and can bring you straight into his throne room. This grieves me.

    • Thomas
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:09 PM  |  reply

      A freaking men.

    • Sabrina
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM  |  reply

      I agree, Jessica. You took the words right out of my mouth. Literally, I was just saying the same things to my husband almost word for word. I know the heart of this article. I see where she’s going, but I think if it were written from the “you can *be* the song” attitude, instead of “just quit singing,” I think it would have been more effective. To quit singing a worship song because you’re not good enough is living a life of guilt, not conviction.

    • Vanessa
      posted on Nov 10, 2014 at 6:17 AM  |  reply

      Thank you!! I’m so glad I’m not alone on this! I thought I was the only one that thought her argument was a little off! Worship is necessary and He knows… HE KNOWS we fall short of His glory but if we sing with INTENT in our hearts God will be pleased!! Just because the author felt convicted about not wanting to sing the song doesn’t mean she should tell EVERYONE to stop! That’s not okay! Let YOUR convictions be YOUR convictions but don’t tell anyone else what to do!

    • Dalissa
      posted on Jun 08, 2015 at 1:10 PM  |  reply

      Very well said Jessica!

    • Diane
      posted on Jun 26, 2016 at 12:52 PM  |  reply

      The article brings to attention what worship leaders have been trying to teach for decades…some songs are personal and to sing in your own worship time. Do you believe it expresses what you feel? Then sing it with all your heart.
      Some songs, go back to many of the old hymns…they talk about God, exalt Him and praise and honor him. These are the type of songs you should be singing in church. If a song has too many “me” and “I”s in them, perhaps it is not so much about God but about myself. Big difference.
      The responsibility is on the worship leader to lead you with songs that glorify God. If they lead you to a song that does not express your heart you need to do this
      1. Don’t sing it.
      2. Ask yourself why you don’t agree, then ask God to help you.
      A lot of these songs are heartfelt words that the author wrote, but might not express where you are at yet. It took me years after I first believed to be absolutely honest about saying “I love you Lord”. But am I glad that someone wrote that song? Absolutely, and it expresses my worship perfectly.
      God takes your words seriously,don’t say or make a pledge to God that you don’t mean. That’s what this blog is saying. If you don’t mean it, don’t say (or sing) it.

  16. jenn in GA
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM  |  reply

    i was awakened to this reality when i became a worship leader about 15 years ago. it is so humbling to lead others, let alone feel you want to be meaning what you sing.

    thanks for sharing this and calling us to think while we sing.

  17. Jessie
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM  |  reply

    Can’t I trust that God will do the work in me?! I do sing Oceans and probe my heart and listen when I am convicted. But I might not hear, just YET. I will keep singing as a plea to my Father to do that work in my heart. To take me “deeper than my feet will ever wonder” in hopes that my “faith will be made stronger.” I don’t hear him, yet. It’s not that I’m not listening. But it is presumptuous of me to want that in my timing. His timing is perfect. And when he “leads me where my trust is without borders,” I will know and be willing. I am very thankful for that song so that my Spirit can plead for a change in my own heart! And He is always faithful so I know it will come. Until then, let me sing.

    • Vanessa
      posted on Nov 10, 2014 at 6:20 AM  |  reply

      Beautifully said!

  18. Josh
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM  |  reply

    I appreciate your words and I understand where you are coming from. However, what should be done is expanding your thoughts to any worship song or hymn and therefore the title of this particular blog should be changed. To offer anything up in praise to God must be a true and full-bodied resonation from the heart. If not, any song is vain. Every Sunday, Wednesday, and all the days in between we see people who identify themselves as believers allowing words to flow out of their mouths without thinking. Our Christian society as a whole is guilty of empty worship. How many truly view Christ as their “precious cornerstone” & “firm foundation”? How many feel the desperation when singing, “I need You”?
    Simply, praise is not being offered up to the LORD in “spirit and truth” separating the “true” worshipers (John 4:23) from the unbelieving. The sad trend of wrongful teaching has continued beyond the age of Isaiah. Knowing the gospel vs. being changed by the gospel is at the core list of culprits.
    “And the LORD said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” Isaiah 29:13-14
    Repeated to this generation from Christ Himself in Matthew 15:8. Worship has a become a ritual, a tradition; it’s robotic! We must change that! But like any other change, it must take place within the heart of the individual first and overflow and affect others.

  19. KR
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 12:42 PM  |  reply

    I don’t know. I think if people keep singing the song, they will eventually listen to the words and be more open to listening to the Holy Spirit. Remember free will, We must be willing to listen and follow through. This would be like telling people not to go to church unless they will guarantee to not sin. Yea, that will happen. We are all sinners. I understand what is being said, but remember, eventually it will sink in.

  20. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:43 PM  |  reply

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    I foster. I also now sponsor two kids – one in Haiti, one in Ethiopia. I even bought a bagel and cream cheese for a homeless man this week. But STILL I struggle to trust without abandon. Still I wrestle with controlling every situation. Still I don’t quite listen.

    I’m afraid to pray because I know He’s going to ask me to give more. But I sing “Oceans” and weep and want it to be truth.

    Love your heart. Love your honesty.

  21. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM  |  reply

    Love this post. And every word in that song. Buckling up and singing (totally out of tune…)!

  22. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:45 PM  |  reply

    Love, love, love this. I so desire to truly do what I sing. The best part about asking Him to lead us where our trust is without borders, is that the incredible places in life that we end up at are only places we could get to through Him!

  23. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:00 PM  |  reply

    Way to go on offering a valid challenge, Annie, which has prompted some honest-to-goodness conversations with my tween and teen daughters. It’s jarred my heart, especially in light of their comments, and may be something I’ll write about, too. I’ll link up to you, if I do!

  24. Tori Pace
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 5:18 PM  |  reply

    My husband planted a church last year and while there are some great, exciting things that have happened it has also been so scary to live in this state of faith! I have told my closest friends that I can’t sing Oceans because I continually run smack into the borders of my trust and want to turn back. But then the Spirit sweetly reminds me it is out of His goodness that he leads me to places where I only have Him. Beyond what I can do, think, dream or imagine I find Him in those places of dependence

  25. Harry
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:18 PM  |  reply

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding your rational, but you’re asking us to stop singing Oceans because we aren’t living the life we sing about in the song… but isn’t the purpose of the song and the bridge in particular to ask the Spirit for the strength to live that kind of life?

    “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”

    In other words, Spirit, bring me to a place where I trust you with all my heart, 100%, so that no matter what you call me to do, I will do it, because I trust you completely.

    If I sing a worship song in which I ask God for the strength to care less about status & material things, yet I still struggle with my heart’s desires in those areas, should I not sing that song? Or should I continue to ask the Lord, through prayer and song, for the strength to fix my heart upon less transient things and as reminder to do so?

    A good portion of the Sermon on the Mount is all about redirecting your heart’s desires to what is good and righteous, and my heart’s desires habitually fall into selfishness, lust, sloth, etc… but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t read the Sermon on the Mount until I start living that life. I read it to remind me of the life I should be living and to ask for the strength to do so.

    I understand where you’re coming from, and again, if I misunderstood anything I apologize! I’m just not sure that this is the best perspective when it comes to these things.

    God Bless!

    • Cristy
      posted on May 02, 2018 at 5:30 PM  |  reply

      super duper Agreee…

  26. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:27 PM  |  reply

    Nodding immensely here. Wrote a blog last July about the bridge part of Oceans too, and how I realized I’ve been singing it differently all along. You gotta be ready and willing to be brave really when you sing this song!

  27. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 6:49 PM  |  reply

    I am so grateful you wrote this. I have been a strong Christian all my life who ATE these type of songs up.
    Until A. infertility hit us. B. we had a miscarriage. C. I got pregnant with triplets. D. I miscarried a triplet at 9 weeks. F. My water randomly broke at 17 weeks with my perfect twin pregnancy. G. I delivered my stillborn daughter at 18 weeks. H. With all hope my son would make it through I got an infection and delivered him 3 weeks later.

    All the sudden, songs like these are REAL. SO REAL. It’s so easy to raise our hands and sing “have your way, rule and reign in me.” etc but holy cow do we get what we are signing up for??? Now my case is extreme and I still believe He WILL redeem and it might someone help others but now I really really really think about what I’m singing. <3

    • Kristi
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:45 PM  |  reply

      Holly, I just wanted to say I’m so very sorry for your loss. Having the experience of losing a baby, I can imagine how much more complicated and extreme your grief is. I pray that God will bring you comfort and I know He can work through you to comfort others one day.

  28. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 7:31 PM  |  reply

    Annie! Great post. I heard this song for the first time 13 months ago-and it was that week (and partly through that song) that God asked me to move to Indonesia. My family has now been here in Indo for 6 weeks, and we’re loving life! I’ve found that the scariest things God asks us to do lead is into the fullest life.

  29. posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM  |  reply

    I was having a knock-down, drag-out fight with God over feeling miserable and in limbo and waiting on him to MOVE, and I yelled (YELLED), “why are you doing this to me?!” And he answered so tenderly, “because you asked me to.” And immediately he brought to mind me singing with all my heart the bridge of “Hosanna:” Break my heart for what breaks yours.” And he has. Over and over again. If is known, I’m not sure I would have prayed it. Such a painful blessing.

  30. S
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:34 PM  |  reply

    This post looked enticing so I clicked on it and read it. I must say I disagree. Most worship songs call for action. As a Christian this song pushes us to reach out of those “borders” and seek out what god really wants us to do. Basically every worship song calls upon the same thing. Why is this so different? Because it’s blunt in it’s approach?
    I understand people will find different meaning with each song. But don’t tell us that we need to stop singing a song that praises god because we can’t follow up. Because if that’s the case, what’s the point of being a Christian? I fail Him everyday. But he forgives. If I worship my god through this song while knowing I will never be perfect, it still serves a reminder to how I should be.
    Don’t give up on worship and don’t give up on this song.

  31. Mimi
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 8:52 PM  |  reply

    Um…. Yep… I went to Spain this summer with uncontrollable asthma to give Bibles to Muslims where it was dangerous. A couple of months before the trip I met a woman who had done that very trip and said it was the scariest trip she had ever taken!
    Here I was, sick, a month before the trip…. There was no hospital to fall back upon. My knee ended up with tendonitis right before the trip.
    I wanted to back out, not because I didn’t want to do the mission trip, but I COULDN’T BREATHE! And yet, I sang that song, over and over again. God gave me courage.
    I still can’t breathe (medical bills are piling up) and I can’t wait until next summer, where somehow, God will perform another miracle and pay my way to go again. Maybe this next time for a longer period of time.
    I hope to know more Arabi when I go next time.

  32. Norma
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:11 PM  |  reply

    I didn’t read all the other peoples comments but I’m not sure I’m getting what you’re putting down here…there are a lot of worship songs that people sing and don’t always apply it to their lives. I don’t think that means we need to stop singing them! Sing them and do our best to allow the Lord to do the work in our life! We r a work in progress, a daily work! To me that would be like saying stop reading the bible because people read it but don’t apply 100% of it into their everyday life! I don’t think that should be said about a song.

  33. Abby
    posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM  |  reply

    I think what the author means by “stop singing” is not stop worshiping as many have alluded to. She is saying that we should stop “JUST singing” and start doing. Just like the book of James says [and I paraphrase] “he who listens to the word and does not do what it says is like a man who looks in the mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James is not saying “if you don’t do what the word says, don’t read it” nor is the author of this post saying “if you don’t do what you’re convicted of, don’t worship.” The intent of this post is to be an eye opener and reminder to those who have knowingly suppressed their convictions. Maybe Ocean’s does not convict you specifically, and that’s okay. The Lord speaks to different people in different ways. But let’s take this author’s post for what it is, rather than twisting it into something it is not.

    • S
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM  |  reply

      Sometimes people don’t need to mean it. People just figuring out who Jesus is wont understand the depth of these words. But they will as they continue to sing the song. I really dislike how we as humans are pushing people towards a faith that we as Christians try to deem perfect. Just let them go about their own way. And if that means singing beautiful song and not understanding the extent of the words then let it happen. They will come around if they want to. But don’t try to push a message in the song and scare people away from their own faith because they aren’t seeking out the message behind the song. Worship means different things to different people. Let them do whatever type of worship they can that connects them to God in their own way.

  34. Sam
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:02 AM  |  reply

    Could not disagree more…we were never called to live in the borders we draw for ourselves…if that was the case, a bunch of mere fishermen would have never gone around the world to spread the gospel…this song is all about saying Yes to whatever God wants for you…period…

  35. isaac
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:09 AM  |  reply

    I capture your conviction and I’ve always said say what you mean and mean what you say, but if you ask me I think it’s rather best we do provoke us the younger generation to go deeper, as young people here in america, we don’t know what real sacrifice is since we have it made in most cases, but I believe that songs that inspire us to reach further then our “borders” are better than songs that only a firm our blessing, since we as young people need to fight to go beyond our borders to reach the soul. Just imagine putting yourself in the psalmist shoes, reason why the song was not because all of a sudden it came out of nowhere, no its because she or he read the story of the disciple that stepped out in faith trusting and having his eyes on Jesus even in the storm, which spoke to her life that we should seekers of the supernatural power to overcome the borders and not just sit around. I truly believe that this song has impacted many such as me to move and spread a word of hope to the lost. Blessings.

  36. Robert
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:34 AM  |  reply

    well said Abby,I totally agree with you;the article is a reminder of how we Christians ought to be,or which level we are to get to

  37. Katy-Anne
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:24 AM  |  reply

    Why assume that just because YOU don’t mean it when you sing it that the rest of us don’t? I started going through some rough stuff last year, stuff I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I heard this song for the first time and sought the song out and kept singing it as a prayer.

  38. Dusty
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 5:15 AM  |  reply

    Annie, thank you. And as I read this I thought how words from any hymn or worship song could be inserted and the same challenge apply. May we all sing songs from a heart of humble willingness to live out what we are singing.

  39. Eve Smith
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:07 AM  |  reply

    Oh Annie, you have no idea! I was singing this like crazy worshipping with all my heart and even believing I wanted to go into the deep water as we waited for our baby boy. Once her was here….. I was thinking to myself ” I really wish I hadn’t gotten so into that Oceans song”. Because, that deep water, it’s scary! Being where you’re learning to live with a trust in God that has no limits, terrifying! Only by Gods grace have I little by little learned more about His love for me and his goodness towards me, and that has calmed to waves. Adoption is a rescue mission, and it felt like black op combat there for a while. Thankfully we can trust that God is faithful to bring to completion that good work which he began. Love you!

  40. Alicia M
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM  |  reply

    I think it is a little presumptuous to say that the people that sing this song aren’t genuinely asking God to give them trust without borders. We don’t know what is in someone’s heart. Only God does. And if we are truly seeking Him & want to be sincere in our faith, we SHOULD be asking God to lead us & we will follow. I understand what you are saying, don’t sing it if you don’t mean it. But that can apply to any worship song. Sometimes singing it enough helps us to fall into line with the words to the songs. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt & hope that they mean what they sing.

  41. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:19 AM  |  reply

    I love this! I lead worship at church sometimes and this is one of the songs I lead. You are absolutely right so many people sing without even thinking about the words they are saying.
    I am definetly making this song a reality in my life. I am currently publishing my first book to come out in two weeks “Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God.” I am also volunteering at a women’s shelter which is assuredly taking me out of my comfort zone.
    I sing this song loud and proud and am excited to see what doors God opens next!

  42. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:10 AM  |  reply

    I get your point of view but I dont fully agree =P

    I dont sing the song so the next day I will live it. I sing that bridge so God will take control over my life. It says: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me”…..
    IM asking the spirit to lead me…To help me…I am not singing it because I will live it the next day cause I might not. But for the spirit to help me in situations where I might say no but still go cause God wants me to…
    Im still a person and I need the holy spirits help through those things. If I dont ask for help for guidance he will not guide me. I can never walk the borders or further than I am without him. That is why I think those lyrics are great…Its a way of asking the spirit for help and guidance to take me further than I am as a human. =)

  43. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM  |  reply

    I absolutely agree, and consider how often I sing songs I don’t really mean.

    And yes… what if “without boarders” meant a call to disentangle from “the stuff of earth” (as Rich Called it… and speaking of other songs I sing without thought)?

  44. Jeff Lovelady
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM  |  reply

    Wouldn’t this apply to 75% of worship? How often do we sing songs to God and not actually live up to the words that so easily come out of our mouths? I think it’s a bit unfair to pick on this one song. I do agree that many of us are guilty of following along in worship, spouting out lyrics and not committing to the things we are bellowing, whether we are genuinely worshiping or not. But while our words are important, God cares most about the heart. The aspirations of the heart. Worshiping in spirit and in truth. I could sing the most elaborate song ever composed or just sing the name of Jesus on repeat and God would be hearing, not just the words, but my heart. These words aren’t corrupt or malicious. The presence of God is impartial to the words, it’s our hearts he’s after. It’s a dwelling place. I aspire to be in a place where my trust is without borders. I want to be made uncomfortable. A place where God overrides my fear and insecurities. I want what God wants for me and from me. If we stopped singing this song how many others would we have to stop singing based on this same principle? I don’t see how this song isn’t on the same level as the thousands of others. Am I wrong? Misguided? Confused? I just want to know God’s heart and for him to change mine. I want the faith of Ezekiel to breathe life into the valley of dry bones.

  45. Ray
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM  |  reply

    Seriously, someone above said what I think….then we should quit singing worship altogether. Yes, many of us fail to really live out the words of many songs we sing about God and spiritual matters. Yes, many people sing them wholeheartedly and are emotionally charged by the lyrics or music of a song and don’t live what they sing or say or feel is right. But as Christians we strive to learn more about God, to draw closer to Him, to enter into worship with Him. Those of us who are wired to music…it speaks for us and through us and is often a prayer voice to us…we need music that brings us into a place of God. So what if they sing a song fifty times and don’t “go” in your time? Maybe God can still use that song to soften them to where He wants them to “go”. Maybe it will take time, I feel you are trying to pass on your conviction of not “going” onto others. Maybe it’s because this is a personal thing for me and maybe my story is a bit more unique.
    I went to serve on a work and witness team this past summer in Paraguay with the missionaries there, who are very good friends of mine. They had been hinting a bit that they felt God wanted me there to serve with them. I sort of blew it off, but found myself falling in love with the country, its people, and what my friends were trying to accomplish there. I came home and for three weeks felt quite ill and not able to shake off what God was trying to show me. Through the compass of my ill stomach and some direct happenings with close friends and family, I realized that I have to go back, with no return definite, to Paraguay. Part of my coming to this was the song OCEANS. I listened to it over and over again and wept each time, hands in the air, calling out for a faith without borders and fear of the unknown. I am not someone who “gets up and gets moving” when I feel these things, I usually sit back and hope that it passes for fear of failure. This time, however, I have uprooted my entire life by moving (within 1 month’s time) out of the apartment I have lived in for 15 years. I had acquired way more than I ever needed and was ashamed. I have now moved into a house with people I don’t really know in order to figure out my debt to free my up to go to Paraguay and serve. I am striving to live out that very song and it is my prayer each and every day for my life. It was to that song that I said the words I had never said before, “God, if you want me to go back, chow me clearly and open up paths that I cant deny and show me how to get rid of my debt.” I AM someone who is going. Yes, everyone will not go, some hopefully will. Let the song be to each person what it will be and allow God to use it the way He chooses. I say keep singing songs.

    • Trina
      posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:34 PM  |  reply

      Thank you for writing that Ray. I feel the same way. I think even those of us, and I’m sure there are a lot, who are afraid to go beyond the borders that songs like this is help in getting there but it takes time. So singing it ,or any worship song, where we aren’t totally “there” with the lyrics yet, could be stepping stones. But again it could take time. You can’t push others by your convictions. That’s the holy spirits work. Trust him to do that.

  46. Steve Jeremias
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 12:21 PM  |  reply

    Sometimes we sing songs knowing that we will struggle to live up to the expectations in the lyrics but my hope is that worshipers will be moved by the lyrics and moved closer to living them out in their lives every time they sing. It’s the same with scripture. How many of us are still struggling with “love your neighbor as yourself”. Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t continue to read it and be reminded of it everyday. My take: DO sing Oceans as many times as it takes until you are “trusting without borders”.

  47. Jim
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM  |  reply

    Is worship is transformative, then this exactly what we should be singing. If it’s not, then we should just stop worshiping in general.

  48. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:21 PM  |  reply

    I love this. I literally burst out laughing when I read this because I remember how I felt when I first sang “Oceans” in September of last year. I had this terrible pit in my stomach, like I knew God was going to challenge me.

    A month later, He asked me to leave my parents’ home in the middle of the night because it wasn’t safe. My stepdad had been abusive. It was scary and hard. I spent the holidays without my family, without gifts, without both the bad and the good of my family. I don’t get to go back.

    The last year has taught me to intimately trust God in ways I had never had to before. To value Him above all else. The journey is ongoing, as He continues to refine and restore me, breaking off the dead weight that comes from ongoing childhood abuse. But I love Him more now than I ever have in the past.

    I tell people to be careful when they sing “Oceans” because God can and will ask big things of you.

  49. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM  |  reply

    Saw this on my Twitter feed and you are absolutely right on. May I also add that God gives us the grace to live it out too, and to even sing the song when we’re uncertain. 🙂

  50. Patricia
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 1:52 PM  |  reply

    all I can say is wow!!! I will lift my hand and sing and God will take me through all the flat land and the rocky one two.


  51. Jeff Lovelady
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM  |  reply

    I’ve still been stewing on this today. If the lyrics were “I would let a terrorist shoot my child in the brain
    Before I would denounce your name” there’s no way I could possibly sing that. But the truth is, we don’t know what could happen. Apparently it’s happening in other countries…. Would our faith and trust in God be strong enough to lift up the name of Jesus when there was a gun to the heads of our children? That’s the kind of faith we say we should have… But do we? Could we possibly? Does replacing the original lyrics with these violent lyrics change the way we view them. They say the same thing do they not? A trust without borders…… We can never expect to live up to Gods standards trust and live in unconditional faith….. But we can still give him our all, fight the good fight, and he will still show us his heart…..aaaaand I’m rambling

  52. Emma
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:20 PM  |  reply

    I completely disagree with this analysis and assumption. I think Oceans was written in the context of a heart cry in surrender, which is an incredible beautiful thing that is so pleasing to The Lord. When they are hard lyrics to sing or prayers to pray, all the more reason for worship leaders to challenge their congregation by pressing to the throne of God himself, singing them. If you aren’t ready in your heart to be taking the faith to ask him to lead you there, I think even in those times these lyrics could help. They challenge us to get into that place of open-handed ness that we should always be in through the Lordship we give Christ in our lives. You might be singing “Lead me where my trust is without borders,” and that’s what you might mean and be ready for, you’re empowered in The Lord and ready to run with him as long as he is leading. Or, it might be a prayer. “Spirit, I’m scared, but you know that already. I wanna go deeper with you, but don’t have the courage to out of my own will — won’t you take the lead?” Or, “Spirit, I don’t trust you as much as I would like to, I’m not ready to sing this, and you know that, but I’m giving you control, and asking you for the strength to one day be.” What a beautiful heart of repentance that cultures!! Either way, it’s something we need to address.

    Maybe this is just something to be true for some people, and not the way everyone sings it, but it’s really not fair to assume of the whole church it needs to be stopped. And I don’t think it’s far off from the heart of god to give us sharp conviction of being faithless anyways.
    May not be easy, may not feel good and be mushy gushy easy words to sing, but no doubt the essential part of the Christian walk we cannot miss out on. I believe He is even powerful enough by his love to face those things WITH JOY. It can be nervousness, moving to a new country, or buying a homeless person a cup of coffee, but my prayer is that it would be excited nervousness nonetheless. Excited ease that can come within us, not because it’s fun based on circumstance, but because we know our father is worthy of trust, and we have great deep intimacy with Him along the way.

  53. Doug Evick
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 3:51 PM  |  reply

    I’m a failure. He still loves me. Not gonna aim for an easy target. If I hit it , what does that prove? Would rather aim for the ultimate prize and fall short. I fall short daily.

  54. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:41 PM  |  reply

    I think you could say that about a lot of worship songs. Take the bridge to the song, Hosanna. “Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love as you have loved me. Break my heart of what breaks yours. Everything I am for your Kingdom’s cause. As I was from earth into eternity.” YIKES!!! There is a lot there. The problem is that we live in a very shallow society, that’s big on being stirred, but not necessarily changed. It’s not that Christians don’t mean what they are singing, it’s that we don’t realize the depth of what we are singing. We love the melody of a song, but don’t often pay close enough attention to the lyrics.

  55. Ryan
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:47 PM  |  reply

    Interesting point. However, maybe we should just throw out music and singing from the church? Seems to be pertinent. Sometimes we sing and praise God and maybe we don’t really feel that way. I know for me some times life is hard, and God feels so far away, even though I know that I’m the one far away. And some times, I just go with the flow. Knowing I’m not really in the moment, I’m not really feeling worshipful of God. But I want to. This song isn’t just for us alone. What if we sing it once and ONE person realizes their call to ministry. What if we have to sing it a thousand times before someone gets the hint. We sing to worship God, we sing to praise Him, and we sing to ask him to break us. I know that I feel that way some times. I sing to God, and ask Him to break the crap out of my life. I sing for the strength and courage to do what I know I should but don’t. Praising Him because He has the power to do through me what I can’t on my own. Music worship isn’t about me, it’s not about the songs I like or I want to hear. In our church there are around 100 people, sometimes, churches have thousands. It’s still not about any one of us. It’s about God, and how great He is. It’s about perhaps having an experience with God that transcends the mundane. Maybe if we sing it enough we really will take that step. To live as we really are called to live. Outside our comfort zone.

  56. Tiffany
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 6:34 PM  |  reply

    I love the song “Oceans”! I have downloaded the song and listen to it frequently. To me the message is very strong and heart felt, and I love singing the lyrics. I have a deep connection to the song, and it is a constant reminder of how good out Savior is! He loves us and wants to lead his sheep and wants us to follow him. Even though we may go astray he is always there to lead us home. Even though I fail him daily, this song makes me strive to do better in my walk with The Lord. It reminds me of the feet in the sands story.

    I will not stop singing this beautiful song!

  57. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:14 PM  |  reply

    I understand what you are saying….really mean what you are singing. However, to say that if we don’t mean it we shouldn’t sing it is something I disagree with. There is a power of verbally saying something, and then to add a spirit of worship to it is even more powerful. I think of how many songs I sang to God without fully understanding it until later as the Holy Spirit did His work in me. I guess that is why memorizing scripture is so powerful as well…the Holy Spirit’s timing is so amazing! How many verses I recited and didn’t really understand until it was the right time to learn what He wanted me to learn.

    From another viewpoint as a music therapist I also understand the amazing strength God put into music. There is so much influence in our memory and thinking when music is the medium. Then add the power that happens when we lift it up to God in praise. I say keep singing it even if you don’t fully understand or are living it out. God will bring His conviction at the proper time for each individual.

    As the song reminds us…we need to trust Him with everything, including His timing on when He chooses to reveal a truth to our heart. We trust Him not just to do the things He wants us to do; but we also trust Him to teach us the things He wants us to learn. So we keep lifting those songs in praise knowing that He is doing a great work in us…even if we are not completely living it out yet.

  58. T Richards
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:50 PM  |  reply

    I understand what you are trying to say, but I really don’t like the angle you took. I agree that most of us don’t always take it to the level that draws us into a new level of faith and obedience that honors God. I think it is more important to learn to look only at our own hearts in worship and not our neighbors. I love that song and I am going to keep singing it, because it cause me to examine my heart each time I hear it.

  59. Megan
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 7:56 PM  |  reply

    Hello Annie,

    I completely see the point you are trying to make here, and I think its a good one. But I also have to say, I’m a little disappointed with the vehicle you chose to take us there. It seems a bit like you are almost literally asking your readers to either “Put up or shut up.” The approach is certainly provoking, but it feels like it maybe lacks a bit of grace and gentleness. You might as well be suggesting that your readers go ahead and stop praying, stop reading their Bibles, stop striving for holiness altogether unless they plan to perfectly achieve it …which of course we never will on this side of heaven.

    What would you say to the man who cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” The bridge of the song you mention here is a prayer – a request just like the man made in Mark 9:24. We can sing it from a heart that says, “Lord I trust you; help my lack of trust!” Of course we don’t fully mean it. We can’t fully mean it. Even if we try and try with “all our heart”…our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. We can’t even search them on our own – only God can do that. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

    I understand you are trying to challenge us to put our money where our mouths are (so to speak). You are warning us not to ask this of the Lord unless we’re ready for Him answer …But I think it might have been more effective to encourage us with the promise that He DOES answers our prayers! He is faithful to complete His sanctifying work in us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Philippians 1:6) That is why we absolutely must KEEP singing “Oceans.” We must continue to ask amazing, outrageous, impossible things of God because He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) We must believe and hope that He is able to overcome our sheltered, complacent, “American” hearts. We must keep on asking Him – fervently, diligently, continuously – to change us. (James 4:2, 2 Chronicles 7:14) So, I say along with the others above, we must keep singing “Oceans” with every chance we get! We must continue to make incredible requests of the Lord and wait with joyful anticipation to see what He will do.

  60. Paul B
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:10 PM  |  reply

    I get the point of your blog but even those of little faith SHOULD sing this song. It is in the trials and challenges that we have our faith strengthened. The faith is from God anyway to meet these challenges not from us. The second we say yes Lord I will follow you, forsaking all others to do so, we have sung this song in our hearts. When we commit ourselves to the Lord life gets harder as a result not easier. Now we have a peace that guides us in the storms. There is no turning back to a safe harbor – God calls us out of the boat and there is no choice but Him. It was after Peter proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God that he denied Him not before. So what are we to do? Sit on the sidelines until our faith and resolve matched our calling? No, sing words to the Lord and allow His spirit to do the talking. We are not worthy and never will be until that day. Do I want the trials? No but I know I need them to trust God even more. Even if I didn’t know I needed them I don’t think someone should tell me to stop singing a song because those trials are coming. I think we need to have a little more belief that He who started the work in us will be faithful to complete it. So please Sing Oceans.

  61. george
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:13 PM  |  reply

    Wow…i wish some werent so reactionary and literal and got the point of this…ill have to say when i read the title and beginning i started thinking what in the world is she talking about?? Then i read further and saw the meaning she was trying to convey…this is a message of encouragement…and yes she could have picked almost any worship song but i imagine she picked this one because she felt personally convicted by it and decided to share her thoughts in hopes of encouraging others to not just sing empty words…please be less thin-skinned and take the good intentions behind the words rather than just dismiss everything negatively…the plain message is if you are going to sing it then do it, it may be hard but you can do it…thanks for sharing

  62. Phil
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:49 PM  |  reply

    I know…the title is intended to grab attention and motivate readership…as it did me (I probably wouldn’t have read the post had it said: Let’s all sing Ocean from the heart!).

    But the article’s title is no less reasonable than that which is expected by God of every one of us in every other area of Christian life and “rituals.”
    We should not submit to baptism unless we are saved and willing to commit our all to Christ. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be baptized…it just means that we should all be saved and willing to obey.
    We should not take part in communion unless we are believers, living for Christ, and remembering with gratitude what Christ did for us on the cross when He shed His blood for our sins. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t partake in communion. It simply means that we should be and do all of these things before we partake.
    We should not even pray the Lord’s Prayer unless we are willing to acknowledge God as our Heavenly Father (who loves us and cares for our every need) to whom we submit our unrighteousness because of His holiness, truly desire His will in our lives over that of our own, are willing to trust Him for today’s meal, recognize our own sinfulness and weaknesses and acknowledge our dependence upon Him for victory in every area of life, including temptation, and are willing to acknowledge God for who He is…both our omnipotent and omniscient, eternal and sovereign Creator and King. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray the Lord’s Prayer. It simply means we should make sure we mean the words that we are praying before we pray them,

    The point, I believe, is valid. By all means sing the song. Sing all songs of submission. Just make sure we are willing to submit from the heart before we sing. Otherwise it is just self-centered sensationalism and living in the moment rather than a true act of worship.

  63. Aimee
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 8:53 PM  |  reply

    It could look like being a widow at 28 when your 28 year old youth pastor husband is killed in a car wreck on a youth trip, left to raise a toddler and another yet-unborn child without him. God could call you to that grief and to be a light to others in surviving it and continuing to praise Him. That would be my path in life since June 24th. I still mean it when I sing this song. I can say that I know my faith is genuine.

  64. Christina
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:09 PM  |  reply

    I agree with you, but you can say this with every single song we sing in church. Do not sing it unless you mean it. My pastor called my church out on this a few years back, and now this is what i pay attention to when i worship. When it say I ‘bow before You or kneel before You’ (or at least in some fashion) no one ever bows or kneels. this just doesn’t apply with oceans it applies to every single song. “give me clean hand, give me a pure heart” “purify me Jesus” the list is endless.

  65. Griffin
    posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM  |  reply

    I agree with this but can’t we say that about every worship song?

  66. posted on Sep 17, 2014 at 9:57 PM  |  reply

    I’m torn about this work. I have to reject the logic that is used here.

    If Christians stopped singing all songs that did not match our actions, we would get rid of half our hymnals and modern day worship songs alike. I am a worship leader in NC and realize the importance of lyrics, but lyrics serve the purpose of reminding the congregation that Christian faith is not about us.

    We ARE called to action, however, which was hit on well. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 are about this very thing. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come… Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.”
    The solution is not to stop singing ALL of the songs that do not match our actions (though we should get rid of mediocre songs like “Oceans”). The action step from here should be to drive deeper in lyrical theology AND match it with our actions.

  67. Nathan
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:33 AM  |  reply

    While I understand what the writer is saying, I think perhaps a better sentiment would be, “start living oceans.” As Christians our lives are full of areas where we don’t measure up to God’s perfect standard. The answer, of course, is not to preach something different but to live what we preach.

    • Nathan
      posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 1:33 AM  |  reply

      and I just realized that Landon said pretty much the same thing one post before me.

  68. Ted Hartlett
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:45 AM  |  reply

    Love the LORD with all your heart, all your soul, all you mind and all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    When you seek Him you’ll find Him.

    You’ll find Him to be very good.

    Because He’s good, you’ll trust Him more.

    As you trust Him, you’ll do greater things.

    Thanks for all the great dialogue. The LORD bless you.

  69. Brent Hardesty
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:46 AM  |  reply

    I am a musician and contemporary worship leader and I agree in principle. Of course we should want all of our prayers, songs, and every aspect of our worship to be “in Spirit and in truth.” However, I think that music raises the bar and moves us gradually. In other words, songs that declare that we are totally committed in our walk with Christ may not be where we are but at least it gets us all thinking and moving and talking in that direction. Traditional hymns like “I Surrender All” certainly call us to a greater degree of committment but how many of us are surrendering all really.
    Actually, my problem with some of the CCM stuff is that it is poorly crafted and shallow lyrically. While it serves the praise band style it often misses the mark. I am eagarly awaiting a revival in the church which will usher in a time when we sing whatever we sing with a fresh infusion of the Holy Spirit.

  70. Tiffany Lopez
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 7:31 AM  |  reply

    I get it. You should sing and worship and really mean the words you sing. That goes for any worship song. However, I have to disagree with her a little bit. I’ve sang this song, meaning it. I want to be that person. Do I still fall short? Sometimes I do. It’s because I’m human. We all grow in our walk differently. Personally, I’m less of an overnight change. As a young Christian I beat myself up, because things I asked God to help me change weren’t changing… But when I stopped trying so hard to do the changes, and just got honest with God, I began to see changes over time. Maybe the first few times I sing this or ask God to use me, I’ll miss the opportunity. I won’t miss them all, though. I’ll finally really hear and know the Holy Spirit is moving me, and I’ll do it. Not because I want to feel good, but because at that moment I hear God. I obey. The more I obey, the easier it gets. It happens over time. At least with me it does. If I know I’m not acting as the lyrics tell me to every single day, so I stop singing, stop asking… I’m idle. I don’t grow in my walk. I have nothing more to offer. To me that is much worse than truly wanting to do something, and failing a few times along the way. Just my thoughts on her thoughts 🙂 One additional thought: just because I don’t sing a song, does not mean I’m free not to do what the lyrics express. This is in the case of a scripturally-based song such as the one mentioned. If I call myself a Christian, I hold myself accountable to what the scriptures teach. They clearly say that if I want to follow Jesus, I must give up everything and take up the cross. It never tells me that an idle Christian is doing well. In fact in many places, the scriptures teach how these kind of people are dangerous because they lack a true relationship with God. So just because I don’t sing a song does not mean I’m not accountable. I encourage Christians to really listen and know what the lyrics mean. Read scripture that supports this idea, search your heart, and truly ask the Holy Spirit for the desire to want to do as this song says and as scripture teaches.

  71. Tiffany
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:42 AM  |  reply

    Guilty as charged! Wow! Thank you for the punch in the gut!! I think God has used you to express this to me. I appreciate it!! I do sing Oceans . . . LOUDLY and PROUDLY yet without thought! This perspective will definitely change the way I think about this song while singing it.

    Thank you again for being a tool of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to my heart about personal issues. God Bless!!

  72. Jenna Sue
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:49 AM  |  reply

    Your post has uncanny timing. About three weeks ago I realized the exact same thing about this song while I was in a worship service. I love this song. It is raw and desperate, and about six months ago that is exactly where I was with an unexpected diagnosis in our family and the struggle that ensued. I remember listening to this song and signing it’s words with tears. Since then, our family dynamic has changed entirely. I have become the matriarchal figure of my family, and my husband and I have opened our home and hearts to a life we would never have never chosen on our own. It was three weeks ago I learned what those words really meant for ME. They meant losing control of your life and thinking you know what is going to happen. This may seem like a little thing for some, but for me it was not, and I have never been more painfully aware of myself in my 27 years.

    I generally just read blog posts and thoughtfully consider the writer’s words, but this one was too real for me not to comment. Currently, we are still learning to navigate the changes of this year, but every day holds the beautiful tension of feeling vulnerable and inspired at the same time. I am not sure where we are going from here, but it is farther than my trust would ever take me and my feet would ever wander. So I challenge other readers to listen to this song and ask yourself what is past the boarders of your life? What thing is being asked of you that is unexpected or unfamiliar? (It may even be unwanted). It will be scary and many times you will not even see it coming…Just remember: Be brave enough to keep breathing, dive head first into the waters, and start swimming.

  73. Richard
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:52 AM  |  reply

    To those questioning the article… I think the main point behind the article in saying don’t sing it is purely sarcastic because it is truly a powerful and beautiful song. It reaches us in many ways because it tugs at our emotions, especially if sang like I have heard it and how we sing it at church. True there are many songs that do this, but this song is just wow.
    I wouldn’t think the author wouldn’t want to not sing something because it would make her better, would you?

  74. Maddi
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:55 AM  |  reply

    I lived this summer In a 3rd world country as a medical missionary. One of the first days we were in our village, two grandmothers came to get checkups–we did what we could and they invited us to their home further down the mountain to have a Bible study later. When we got there later that afternoon, one of the ladies didn’t show up, but the other quickly sat us down on benches in her bamboo hut and as more villagers crowded around the windows and doors, we began to share the Gospel. As we shared from the Bible, the grandmother began to cry–she was soon joined by our two translators in tears We Americans didn’t know what was going on, but we sat and prayed. Eventually our translators looked at us and said, “she is crying because she says that she and her husband have lived here since 1954, and no one has ever come to this village to open the Bible in their language. She knew the name of Jesus, but didn’t know what he had done for her on the cross. She wants to know why you didn’t come sooner.”
    My dear ones, we as Christians are the ones at fault for not going sooner and following God’s command to go and tell the lost and dying. Are you truly willing to go where you are stripped of everything? Are you truly willing to serve where you are most needed? Then pack your bags and go–because these people are dying and going to Hell. I am only in college. I have years to go before I can plant my life somewhere cross-culturally. But that’s not stopping me from reaching out to the people around me in the dorms and in my classes.
    What are you doing?

  75. Alex Hartley
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:57 AM  |  reply

    The problem with this post is Jesus calls us to do these thing that you talk about in the post. He tells us to give money, he tells us to fellowship with one another, you tells us to trust him and to bring on what ever he may throw at us. It is called being disciples of Jesus because this is exactly what the disciple did. They throw down their nets, stopped everything and followed Jesus around for the rest of their days teaching and ministering. Now if you are not willing to sing the song because you are afraid that Jesus might call on you, then there is a problem. God people need to be willing to throw down their net and kick down their borders and follow him in what ever he ask you to do and we need to do it with a big smile on our face because this is the king of kings and the lord of lords.

  76. Michael Grady
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM  |  reply

    It is funny that this comes up now. I recently revisited The Prayer of Jabez, which is a prayer God loves to answer and is very powerful because it leaves how it is answered in God’s hands. We sung Oceans in our church, and I was blown away when I saw this line: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”

    The pray asks the following: Lord, bless me indeed, ENLARGE MY TERRITORY (NO BORDERS), keep your hand upon me, and keep me from evil. While at first glance, the prayer seems selfish, but he never specifies how the prayer is answered. Imagine what a faith without borders could accomplish, yet we tend to limit God. I am blessed indeed that God showed me that verse at the exact time I was studying Jabez’s prayer (I Chronicles 4: 9-10).

  77. Wesley
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:14 PM  |  reply

    No, I don’t think I will stop. I love this song.

    I wish you would’ve written a more encouraging post instead of a “don’t sing it unless you’re going to do it” kind of post. Clearly from your article, you experience the same struggles as everyone else. So why not encourage people to not be lost in the moment but to really listen and live the words in this song? Maybe that’s what you’re subcontiously trying to do. And if so, I would just change the title. I get what you’re saying, just wish you had said it a different way.

  78. Caleb
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:45 PM  |  reply

    I definitely agree that we should live our lives like God wants us to! I also agree that we can serve God by “leaving our borders.” However, there is another meaning here: The borders reffered to in the song concern our “trust.” We can trust God no matter what we are doing; whether we are just living our daily lives, or whether we are breaking through our comfort zones! We can serve God wherever He has placed us! I also agree that thinking about the words to a song are very important, but I think that each person takes them a different way. While you may have taken this as, “We’re not leaving our borders,” someone else may say, “Wow I want to trust God more than I think is even possible,” and I think that the latter of these two is the intention.

  79. Renee
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:36 PM  |  reply

    Hi Annie, I love your challenge to Christians! I sing this modern song with all my heart because the Spirit stopped me in my tracks about 12 years ago while singing “Take My Life”–you know “holiness, holiness is what I long for…” But it was the verse “brokenness, brokenness is what I long for” that got me. It was just as though he stilled my lips and quieted the congregation around me, saying to me, “Is that really what you long for, what you need, Renee?” I was convicted all week long with the need to be willing to be broken on his behalf, so I shared it with two very close friends and asked them to please pray that for me. I knew I would not be faithful to continue with that prayer for my own brokenness. Who’s that crazy, right, as to pray that for herself? I had adopted three kids from foster care earlier that year, and my prayer for brokenness ended with a pregnancy and then a loss of the baby at 17 weeks; delivery of a beautiful, tiny and very dead baby boy. However, God’s presence with me on that day of my son’s delivery was more tangible than anything else I have ever experienced. Continued prayers for brokenness have landed me as a missionary in Central America, seeing my beautiful adopted children struggle with much emotional baggage from those early years before we knew them, seeing one of my daughters diagnosed with two serious mental illnesses and watching her bring our first grandson into the world into a situation very much like the one she was born into. I have struggled as the disciples on the road to Emmaus, saying “and we thought he was the one to redeem Israel” but with my own words of “and I thought you were going to use us to redeem the generations of dysfunction in our children’s heritage, Lord.” And yet, I love him more deeply and he has more greatly demonstrated his faithfulness and grace to me than I every could have imagined. So each time I hear him say “pray for brokenness, Renee” or “ask me to lead you to the place where your trust is without borders”, I do it with little reservation. Thanks, Annie, for the challenge and for the reminder that we have to be careful to mean what we say as we worship. I appreciate your desire to make sure we are not taking lightly God’s role in our lives.

  80. Shelly
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 3:58 PM  |  reply

    Did I miss something? Stop singing Oceans because it may present an urgency in your soul to step out of your comfort zone and ACT for Christ??? Stop singing this song if you are not going to act on that urgency???? Whaaaaaat? Take away the song, possibly the only thing, that is lighting a fire in a person’s soul providing that urgency of action for Jesus. No way!!!! Music is very powerful and one of the many tools Jesus uses to bring about his perfect plan.

  81. posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 4:40 PM  |  reply

    Sooooo YES, I have been bugged so many times not just this song but the things we say in church, the things we ask God to do and I have wanted to yell at people so many times, “Do you really mean that because I don’t think it will look how you think it will!”

  82. Ashley
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:17 PM  |  reply

    I could not agree more! The lyrics and their true meaning struck me a few months ago when my husband and I were having a conversation about me coming out of the workforce to homeschool our children. During a break in the conversation, my attention shifted to the radio and Oceans was playing. I started listening a little closer to the lyrics and I felt like God was giving us the answer we were looking for. We need to make the financial sacrifice of losing my income so that we can ensure our children are receiving a Christ-centered education. It’s scary and uncomfortable, but it’s what God wants. He’s taking us “deeper than our feet could ever wander.”

  83. Sonja
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:44 PM  |  reply

    I love this! Yes I hear the lyrics (at my church they are up on the wall!) and I know what it means… and I don’t always listen when I am called to go beyond my borders. But I’m _trying_ and whenever I hear a song like that and sing along to it, I pray for strength and courage and for my heart to trust Him more. And the song (and all those like it) keep reminding me to keep trying and keep pressing forward in my quest to be more like Jesus and follow him more faithfully.

    It is scary and I often feel like a hypocrite. But I know that my heart is in the right place when I am listening and doing what he wants of me more and more.

    I totally get what you were going for with this post – but I refuse to stop singing!!


  84. Mary
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 5:59 PM  |  reply

    This sounds like more of a personal conviction, God calls us to all of those things whether we sing the song or not.

    Worship songs have always gone in phases. Oceans isn’t the first to become so overwhelmingly popular and it won’t be the last. The reason these songs become that way is because they tug at our spirit and speak truth into us about how we should be living. That doesn’t mean we are perfect and will do what the song says immediately the next moment or day, it’s almost always a work in progress and a daily surrender to ourselves. I don’t always feel a spiritual response to oceans when I sing it and that’s usually because my heart isn’t focused in the right place and I know I don’t really mean the words I’m singing. But that’s where we all have to check ourselves personally and be responsible for our own relationship with God. Worship is so personal and to say that if you sing a song and fail to do what God calls you to the next day you shouldn’t have sung it in the first place is wrong – that opinion is ignoring God’s grace. If you take that attitude, you could also argue that we should stop listening to sermons and reading the Bible because we won’t always reach the mark and will fall short in some way.

    My point is, I don’t always love when we sing this song, but you never know how worship is effecting someone else because it’s between that person and God. I’m sure this song has encouraged many people to take leaps of faith and might have even led some people to surrender their lives to Christ. For that reason alone, I don’t think we should ever stop singing specific songs unless they don’t align with scripture.

  85. Matt
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:08 PM  |  reply

    I have found as I continue to walk with Christ that there is a valuable tool given to all believers that is often forgotten. The Holy Spirit is God dwelling within each believer and HE is the one that calls us to where he is leading. Therefore he will not forsake, nor leave, nor fail us when we need him.
    I have been suprised even reading the comments how many people fail to mention /realize he is the one that transforms the souls and hearts of believers. No song, or any other thing can transform a person like the Holy Spirit will if we only lt him

  86. Gavin
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:21 PM  |  reply

    My recommendation is actually the opposite of the title of this article. Keep singing this song until we believe it. Sing it every day. Because a follower of Jesus wants that life. I want that life. I want to go to where the Spirit will lead – no matter the cost. But each day, slowly and steadily, I let go of my American safety and security and embrace this life of faith. I need to keep letting go. Each day I have to deal with my own hypocrisies. But God is transforming me. I will keep singing until I fully embrace this radical life of faith that Jesus calls me to.

  87. Yari
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM  |  reply

    im sorry but I’m going to disagree with this article. I’m not at all the perfect Christian but yes I desire to live as Jesus did on earth. Oceans is another song that describes how we all as Christians should want to live our lives such as without boarders. Just because we are not perfect and do not live exactly to the desires mentioned in the song it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask God to provide us with the ability to do so.

  88. posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 8:41 PM  |  reply

    Thank you so much for this. Confirmed many of the thoughts I’ve had as a former worship pastor of 17 years, my husband and I having planted and now leading a new church with integrity over tradition. Your voice is much more gracious, but here’s my take on “worship.”

  89. Laura
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:38 PM  |  reply

    In our Christian walk many times I believe there is a disconnect between what we think, say and what we really believe. It is so easy to stand and sing, and not fully engage our hearts and spirits with the words. Our churches are full of people who sit and listen, sing and give an offering, and then walk out the doors without a single change to their thinking or their lives. Do you REALLY believe? If so, then it changes you life…Radically… I applaud your article. Well done! you have challenged us to the foot of the cross. Father take our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh…hearts attuned fully to your Spirit and your will.

  90. Matt M.
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:47 PM  |  reply

    I must say this, because so many comments seem to infer that by singing praise and worship songs that have a call to action, we must then provide the action. Not so, here’s why.

    I play regularly on our worship team. My purpose during Sunday service is to help lead people into a more intimate worship with God. That we should consider that praise and worship would, in any way, be about anything other than submitting to and glorifying Him, is presumptuous. That said, lyrics that ask God to lead us into a more intimate relationship with Him are not reminders that we need to do anything, except submit to His authority, because there is no strength in us that can truly honor Him properly. Our works are like filthy rags. This article doesn’t ask us not to sing these songs. It is only a reminder to consider what the consequences would be of truly submitting to Gods response to our request.

  91. posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 10:38 PM  |  reply

    […] read this article today because the title completely caught my attention. This song, Oceans, has been my theme this […]

  92. Jessica
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:09 PM  |  reply

    I have listen and sang the song several times, but when I sing this I have a different view. I am asking God for that. I believe that Christian’s have gotten to comfortable. I know we are to be blessed, but I believe God calls who ever will to leave what is comfortable and go where he leads.

  93. noelle
    posted on Sep 18, 2014 at 11:42 PM  |  reply

    Not sure I agree with this fully. I came across this just after I prayed before bed. I was asking God to change me in some way and agreeing with Him to stop trying to force myself to feel certain ways or even will myself to change. I cried when I first heard Oceans a year ago. It has become the cry of my heart to God to be the person I want to be, the person only HE can make me. And on the days when I weary and tired, that song is strangely comforting as it reminds me of the ways that I am not there yet, and that there is only One who can change me and better yet Who WANTS to. I am not discounting anyone’s conviction from the Lord. But I think we also do just a little damage to those who are broken by asking them to fix themselves, to fix OURSELVES, before we cry out. As for me I’m gonna keep singing until He fulfills those words in my heart.

  94. Karla
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 5:49 AM  |  reply

    I understand what you are saying. I love this song and yes when I sing it I feel empowered and daring. But the saying is true, ‘be careful what you ask for, God just might give it to you’ and it may be more than you were bargaining for. The thing is, when we feel strong, we get and idea that we want God to take us to dark places to be a light and an influence. But that’s not how God works. He takes you when you are weak, to places that you never dreamed, that are dark, dangerous, and difficult. Places that make you feel he mislead you, or has left you. To test you and strengthen you. How much do you really trust…? You better be prepared to embrace the worst, and you will come out bigger, better, and stronger for HIS glory, not yours.

  95. Shannon W
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:04 AM  |  reply

    I think the best representation of what you are talking about in this article is Colossians 3:16-17New International Version (NIV) 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. The word admonish is a very strong word. It is a call to humble ones self, and be taught to take action. What I don’t hear this verse say, is that you should stop Singing. I believe that way to often we sing and worship, without considering the words. But, I believe we should continue singing, and allow the Holy Spirit to admonish us. Another key line, is “with gratitude in your hearts”. If we sing in the name of Jesus, and give thanks to God, with gratitude in our hearts, then The Holy Spirit has a heart to work with. Keep Singing!

  96. Matt
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:14 AM  |  reply

    “Christians don’t tell lies – they just go to church and sing them.” – A. W. Tozer

  97. Hailey
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:16 AM  |  reply

    The first time I sang this song I was living in Asia and at a P&W conference with my organization. It means a lot to me, because I did leave the comfortable borders of my life as did all the other people at the conference with me (plus so many more). While I am currently stateside, this song is a beautiful reminder of where I have been, where I will go, and of the wonderful people who are serving Him all over the world.

  98. Dana
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:28 AM  |  reply

    This song has helped to sustain a friend of mine who lost her husband tragically when she was approx. 5 months pregnant. Her faith has flourished in the midst of anger, doubt, and grief. I have felt very similar to you about this song every since. I truly want this kind of amazing faith, I so do, but knowing that the sacrifice of self is required. Thank you for the great perspective!!

  99. posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:15 AM  |  reply

    Whether you agree with it or don’t agree with it. Every moment of your life is an opportunity to shine the glory of God and follow him or to show your sinful nature and think your self-righteous ways are better. Here’s the beautiful part, there’s grace for your success and for your failure. Praise God that He doesn’t give up on us when we screw up. There is rest today, not because you’re righteous, but because your Faither is faithful even when you’re not!

  100. Brandan
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:28 AM  |  reply

    I get what the author is trying to say, but she shouldn’t use such a sensationalist title. If we all stopped singing words that we didn’t mean, I’m sure we would stop singing a lot of songs in church. How about instead of stop singing it, you keep singing those words and dwell on them until the Holy Spirit changes you. Sorry but I don’t like this article!

  101. Sarah
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:11 PM  |  reply

    I first heard this song in church, sung by a friend who leads early service worship. It was the weekend I found out there was a baby in the family due in three months that would need a home and it was the weekend my husband and I made the decision to pursue adoption.

    I heard this song several times a week for the next few months as I drove to California to speak with the birth mom, as my baby was born three weeks early, as I called lawyer after lawyer to find our next step. As I dealt with the struggle of mental illness and living at my in laws with my 4 children and my husband working out of state for 7.5 weeks until we could finally bring our boy across state lines and home.

    I have gone deep into the water with the spirit this summer and I am so grateful to have this song to remind me of the joy that comes from faith without boarders.

  102. posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:49 PM  |  reply

    Honestly Annie i STOPPED singing this song! After a year of singing “spirit lead me when my trust is without borders” the Spirit finally lead me to a ministry position WITHOUT borders! It was tough, lots of tears…still recovery! Now i tread & sing carefully lol

  103. Jes
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:52 PM  |  reply

    I sing this song as a prayer, especially the most “offensive” (if you will) phrase, “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders” because I am willing to be willing, I know I need to be willing, I know I can’t do it alone, and I am grateful for gracious Holy Spirit who will do just that: LEAD me. Not throw me overboard with no rescue, not push me into something that will cause harm because I’m not ready. It’s a process. I pray this song for specific areas in my life where Spirit has made me aware of borders that need to be taken down. I sing this prayer because I know that if I do, he will grow me – whether or not I really, at the time, “meant” everything this song “says”. My relationship with Jesus is a growth process. I know I’ll never be in the complete “right” place to sing this song, and probably most of the songs I worship with. That will never stop me from singing. But that’s just me… 🙂

  104. rose
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 1:26 PM  |  reply

    Sing it, girl!

  105. Colleen
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 2:46 PM  |  reply

    I sang this song and meant it. I love to sing it still. Since I have been singing this song with all my heart, my husband abandoned me. Jesus, has called me closer to Himself through great personal pain. I am closer to my Savior. I am keeping my eyes on Him and He is strengthening me each and every day. I agree that people should not sing unless they mean it. If they do, they need to be prepared for the possible pain they will face…that will draw them closer to their Lord.

  106. Karl
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:31 PM  |  reply

    What a great challenge! I for one plan to keep singing Oceans. It is that kind of surrender to Gods will that led my wife and I to sell the house my wife and I raised our kids in for 19 years in a large, affluent city. Quit our high paying jobs and by faith move to a small, rural community for me to take a youth pastor position. At the time we moved a little less than a year ago I had never been in vocation ministry and had been in the business world for 29 years. So, at age 47 and with no formal Bible training, the Holy Spirit led me to leave everything comfortable and familiar by faith, and follow Him into REALLY deep and scary waters! But, here we are 10 months in and the ministry is thriving! God is moving and my wife and I have a front row seat! It has been nothing less than thrilling! Is it still a bit scary? Yes. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything of this world! Glory be to God and His gift of the Holy Spirit! Keep leading me where my trust has no borders I pray.

  107. posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:48 PM  |  reply

    I never really realized how this worked together but I had been singing Oceans repeatedly for about 6 weeks. I kept praying God would show me how to walk it out. around the same time Isis and the persecuted church began making news. My best friend and I couldn’t sit still and watch it so we decided to make a video to raise awareness about it and to raise money for them. God hooked us up with Food for the Hungry. Now, we have this video to share to help them. It’s not much but its something! At least we aren’t just sitting still. We went deeper, we walked with trust and God will be glorified through it all!

  108. Danielle
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 4:44 PM  |  reply

    What if singing the song is what helps us to be closer to God? What if singing the song moves us to be braver and to do even one thing that we wouldn’t have done if we didn’t sing Oceans. I am no where near being perfect and brave and I would like to think that I trust Him with everything in my life, but it is a constant battle – I give it to you Lord…. no really, I really give it to you this time. But, I think that if someone makes it to church or turns the dial to listen to Christian radio and even if they sing the song and don’t really know or understand or do what they are singing – at least its a step in the right direction. I find this post defeating really. And, I do understand what you are saying – don’t be a hypocrite. But, aren’t we human? I say, keep singing the song! Keep trying!

  109. ashley
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 4:51 PM  |  reply

    This is a beautiful post. I couldn’t have said it better myself. But that’s just the thing… when I sing this song, in my heart I’m praying for God to move me, to crush me, cripple me, break me… I want to broken so that I can lean on him. I want to feel that need to speak out, to find strength I didn’t know I had from the holy spirit within. Imagine being fearless because we know we have God in our corner. I want that courage. I want to be the person God calls me to be… however my flesh is weak. I pray that God leads me, guides me and molds me- not into a better version of myself, but a Godly version of the child he wants me to be. I will not stop singing this sing, because I want to be convicted. No its not easy, but it is so worth it.

  110. kayla
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:54 PM  |  reply

    It’s pretty ironic that I stumbled upon this. I sang this song continually over the summer, without a lot of thought put into it. However, when I started humming it a few days ago, I jolted to a stop at the bridge….”Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…”. I had this sudden epiphany. We clearly know that the words we speak have power. Even the power of life and death. We should be so much more careful and mindful of the things we say. Within the last couple of months, my borders and faith and ministry and family has been tested beyond what I could have imagined possible. I told my husband, ” In a way, by singing this song, I almost feel like I spoke these things upon us”. I know God has a plan in it all and that our faith will be tested and increased and we are in His will BUT we do need to be mindful of the power that lies in the words we speak…. or sing.

  111. Amy
    posted on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:58 PM  |  reply

    I couldn’t disagree more. If I don’t ask God to lead me where my trust is without borders, I won’t go there on my own. I need Him to help and singing this song helps get me there:-)

  112. posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 7:48 AM  |  reply

    Wow. You struck a nerve with folks. Oceans is the theme song to our current journey of faith. Think I will go watch it on YouTube again … on my knees, this time.

  113. posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM  |  reply

    […] of the darlings of the Christian blogging community, Annie F Downs recently wrote a post titled “Stop Singing Oceans”. Oddly enough, almost a month prior, one of my classmates from college, Cassie, wrote a similar […]

  114. Lindsay kimball
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM  |  reply

    This is the first blog that I read from you, Annie, and my first thought was, “How can some one with obvious intelligence post something so ignorant?” My second thought was, “What kind of work is she trying to do here? Discouraging people from singing a praise song in church, in my opinion, is taking a step away from God. This song, which may very well be the most beautiful, moving song I have ever experienced (yes, experienced), does encourage people to be lead without borders. The fact is that every experience that you described in our blog above are things that happen everyday…people buying food for homeless, offering kind gestures to others, etc. When you say “you and I” you are assuming to know every person that has ever sung the song in church or even heard it on the radio. You are basically calling “everyone” hypocrites, while speaking so generally. That next fact is that you do not know how anyone, other than yourself, will interpret the song or what it will move them to do or who it will move them to become. This song is very touching, and if it moves people or inspires them to think for the eight minutes that it plays in church or on the radio, then it has done its job. Who are you to judge what people will do with the song after they have heard it. The next fact is that if during this song, if your adverage, everyday sinner, as we all are, has even the notion of wanting to be a better person, then they are an inch closer to being like God wants us to be. Furthermore, why pick on this song? There are so many song that you can overly analyze and tell people to “stop singing”. So, while I believe that you may have some intelligence, your point is invalid and quite possibly a desperate attempt to cause a stir. Congratulations.You have achieved 115 posts. It certainly got my attention.

  115. John Sarno
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 11:25 AM  |  reply

    Right on. But this is nothing new. What happened to Sweet HOUR of prayer. Or ALL to Jesus I surrender? We really don’t listen to what we sing most of the time.

  116. posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM  |  reply

    Wow! Agreed.
    It reminds me of that quote by A.W. Tozer:
    Christians don’t tell lies, they go to church and sing them.

  117. walking_on
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM  |  reply

    Huh, this was interesting to read as I just had a similar experience. I’d heard the song before but never sung it in church until this past Sunday when I was visiting a different church. I was standing between my dad and my step-mom. I was feeling like it was difficult to sing…for the tune as it feels more rock songish and I just don’t sing very well that way and also didn’t know the lyrics by heart. When we got to those lines and as I was singing them I was like “whoa, really? we’re all singing this together? am I really asking for this?” I was struck with some fear. Was feeling fragile and like I wasn’t ready to ask for it. It was good to realize though that I had been protecting myself. Wondered what it meant for the community I was visiting.

  118. Michelle
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 7:17 PM  |  reply

    Even though sometimes we falter and we may not live as we are truly called to live, we are human.
    If you wanted to, the same above could be said to a lot of worship songs. Like how about this popular new song by King and Country: “live like I’m not scared, give when it’s not fair, live life for another, stand tall for a brother, fight for the weak one, speak out for freedom, find faith in the back tone, stand tall and above it all fix my eyes on you”
    Now that is exactly what Jesus did. But how many of us know that, and still fail to speak out for injustice or live unselfishly. The song isn’t to have us claim something we fail to offer. (Thankfully, by God’s grace we don’t have anything to offer if Jesus is the standard!)
    It’s a Christians heart cry to be like our Father. Although we may fail, our desire is to not return to our vomit. It is Christ-like to desire those things, to desire to live how Jesus did.

  119. So-Called Christian
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 7:46 PM  |  reply

    “If you are only singing the song and not living the life, stop singing Oceans”

    What if I sing it and I am not living the life? I’m not living the life at all according to most because I am madly in love with Jesus, I am pro gay marriage, and do not believe in literalism.

    Even though I am not living the life, according to most conservative churches, I won’t stop singing oceans. Maybe the Lord will free me from my sin of belief in equality for all and teach me the truth about the Bible. That it is meant to take literally word for word, which in my opinion takes so much weight out of it.

    God Speed

  120. Karl
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM  |  reply

    Its as simple as do we really believe in Jesus Christ. I mean, do we really? Majority of “conservative” Christians that I have met in my life surrender and try to “follow” Jesus do so out of eternal fear. Would you try so hard if everyone went to heaven? Why should heaven or hell change anything. God is God and deserves our affections regardless of where we “go.” Conservative Christianity to me is mostly fear based. Fear for peoples souls, fear of there own souls. If your trying to change and follow Jesus just to escape “hell” then in my opinion that makes you a pretty crappy person. But then again, we are all loved and Jesus loves crappy people all the same. I played at big conservative Churches, use to drink with the worship leader and worship band. They knew I had a problem with it too. I need to be honest here. I hate conservative Christianity. I think it is everything that is wrong about Christianity. I think its disgusting and blasphemy. I think its corrupt. It preaches hate (in particularly the LGBT community). Most Conservative Christianity is filled with Pharisees with out a doubt. Who couldn’t Jesus stand again? oh thats right.

  121. Dorian Roark
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 9:21 PM  |  reply

    I’m 16, and I can see the deeper meaning in these lyrics, which you obviously can’t. The song is asking God to lead us where our TRUST IN HIM IS WITHOUT BORDERS. I don’t mean this the way it sounds, but I can’t think of any other way to say it. God doesn’t necessarily care about the distinctive borders we have on Earth. He cares mainly about or trust in him, which should be without borders.

  122. Brian
    posted on Sep 20, 2014 at 11:41 PM  |  reply

    My wife and I just adopted a baby. He was born on August 18. Two weeks later we were informed that the birth parents changed their mind and he would be removed from our home in 6 days. We had 6 days to pray for a miracle. Pray that we would trust God and His plan for our son’s life. There was days of hope when our social worker would call and say that the birth father was wavering. That entire week, I kept singing this song. I kept LIVING this song. If we stopped singing it, the truth of this song would be forgotten. I needed to trust God and at times I would find myself being Peter and sinking in desperate need of my Savior. It’s been almost 2 weeks since our son was taken from us. I’m prepared to let the Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. He just did. It would be a mistake to stop playing this song.

  123. Mark
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 2:26 AM  |  reply

    Never heard the song before so I obviously never sing it either. I actually do not have any urge to sing it. It was not all that interesting to me. Maybe the acoustic version of it was the reason, but sorry, it just was not that special of a song for me so no worries about me singing it…haha

  124. Anastasia
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 4:30 AM  |  reply

    This article (especially the title) is essentially satire. It’s subtle satire, but still satire. The author does not want anyone to stop singing oceans. I’m sure it seems that way, when you read, “stop singing oceans,” but she is not actually asking anyone to do that. She is simply making the point that it is easy to sing words, but harder to take action, and that sometimes, as Christians, we don’t take all the action we could. The correct “heart response” to an article like this is to reaffirm ones’ personal commitment to actually take action! And then actually take that action! But there is no condemnation, condescension or judgment in the article. If you feel insulted, or you think the post is ignorant, or if you think you’re being asked not to sing oceans, it is because you misunderstood the satirical nature of the article. It can be very frustrating to determine when it is appropriate to use satire. There will always be some people who don’t understand a satirical post, but I don’t think that means we can’t use it. I believe God used it in the bible. Satire in christian articles and blog posts seems increasingly popular. I urge anyone who was offended or in any way disagreed with this article to look up the meanings of the words “satire” and “hyperbole.” Gordon Marcy – a few posts up – really understood the sentiment behind the article, and his response shows that. Many others in this thread did the same. Remember, the author does not want anyone to stop singing oceans.

  125. Heather
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM  |  reply

    I would have to disagree. We can’t stop singing or listening to praise and worship songs because we don’t mean every word. This song in particular is what brought me back. I heard it my first Sunday back to church and couldn’t get it out of my head. As I listened, I just cried. I sand it over and over with tears in my eyes, more as a prayer, for Him to help me get back where I need to be. Singing these songs is repeatedly putting positive things and Christ-like things in our minds. I need that. No one is perfect or will ever be that way, but singing and listening to praise and worship throughout my day helps keep me focused on making more Christ-like choices. And each choice is a step to where I want to be.

  126. Kenny Perry
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:17 PM  |  reply

    I am so glad you posted this. Last November I was visiting The Potters House in Dallas, Tx when there worship team started singing this song that I had never heard. So I raised my hands and tried to sing along. When the leader got to the bridge…. I was like, yes lord, yes! I’m gonna sing this at my church. Now the yes Lord yes was excitement about a new catchy song that I could emplent into my set list , but it also was yes Lord that I wanted to be challenged by the bridge. However, after singing it over and over I got the same feeling you mentioned and I felt guilty. Now Jan 5 2014 came along… I showed up to church where I leader worship with a temp of 103, heart rate of 124, and shortness of breath. This morning I just so happened to introduce OCEANS to our Sunday morning congregation. When I got to that bridge I remember as if time stopped and it was me, a keyboard and God. I remember me asking myself, ” do you really mean this?” ” do you really want to be set in a place where my trust is truly without boarders?” ” do I really wanna walk on “water?” And I also heard that still voice from god asking
    ” do you trust me?” And in that moment of me gasping for air to breath and sweating buck shots I said “yes”. Little did I know that that monment would change my life. I was later diagnosed 2 days later with leukemia. I could out had I not going to the hospital a second time after being released from one Sunday night with ” nothing wrong” and had my wife not read on Facebook about one of the meds I was given causing elevated heart rate and all the ” flu” like symptoms I had only about a month to live. Now I’m cancer free and btw, my type of leukemia is curable!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I don’t sing oceans nemore, hahahah lol Naw if I need to I will, I know what God brought me through and the word of that song was a wake up call to me. I would agree with you… People should not say what they don’t mean. Remember the power of life and death is in our togunes. Don’t say one thing and renig when it makes up uncomfortable. If your honing to say anything that will challenge you and your faith be man and women enough to walk it better than you can talk it! God bless! K.P

  127. posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 3:23 PM  |  reply

    […] read a post last week titled Stop Singing Oceans that really shattered my heart.  There’s a beautiful worship song made popular by Hillsong […]

  128. Dre
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 4:12 PM  |  reply

    It amazes me how she said feels when she listens to this song! She is looking at it through HER WORKS and not through God’s grace and God’s AMAZING POWER AND ABILITY when i listen to it i remember Peter on the water with Jesus… to me it talks about you as a person looking beyond physical situations and looking to God’s grace and might and power and when you look to Him and keep your eyes on Him you are able to overcome and do the impossible as Peter did when he walked on the waters even when the other disciples were saying that he couldn’t, even when Peter saw himself in the physical as being a man who would sink, HIS EYES WERE ON JESUS!!!! and to me thats the most amazing thing about this song it magnifies JESUS not the situation no matter how big or bad. Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders means not placing limits on Jesus, it means not looking at the bank account and saying this is the end it means Lord Your grace is sufficient Lord just because this is what they say I have this I know this is not all I have because you are more than enough for me you will never leave me nor forsake me my trust in you does not depend on have and have not, good or bad, HOLY SPIRIT you are my teacher, help me not to place limits on God. I will go wherever you lead me because even though I may not be able to see the way I know you will never fail me.
    You see if you think you can do this on your own that’s where you’re gonna get turned off, but Grace teaches you that Jesus already did it all. HIS GRACE ABOUNDS IN DEEPEST WATERS, don’t be afraid to go to the unknown because Jesus is already at the depths He overcame it all He is the only one qualified to save you/us! This is one awesome song if Peter had only kept His eyes on Jesus eh… I know I’m not perfect, I have tried to do it on my own (fallen) so many times but Jesus has always reached out and caught me.. this song encourages me to keep my eyes on God, because YOU CAN NEVER FALL with Jesus, why struggle to do it on your own? why beat yourself up? why be fearful? He will always catch you

  129. Ray Propst
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:16 PM  |  reply

    I loved this post. Here’s why. I have constantly been told that I’m being legalistic when I question the lyrics of so-called Christian songs that are un-orthodox and sometime outright heretical or irreverent. One such song that has often drawn my attention is “Friend of God” which is an upbeat praise song about bringing a friend of God. The lyrics repeat multiple times, “I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God, He calls me friend.” This is being sung in chapel with thousands of young college students who have little to no idea that “Friendship with God is reserved for those who fear Him” and that Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” Obedience is the qualifier for Friendship with God. Can I sing that God is my friend when I’m not practicing obedience? Should I? Is it healthy to reduce God’s image to the level of friend? Probably not, in fact, no it is very bad! In fact the OT reference above where most English translations say “Friendship with God is reserved for those who fear Him” should more accurately be rendered, “The secret counsel of God is reserved for those who fear Him.” Why you ask? Because God doesn’t share deeper insights with those who don’t already obey him (have the fear of the Lord). He shares the deeper things with those He can trust to obey them.

  130. DDD
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:17 PM  |  reply

    Sing it anyway! If their is any part of you that responds to it – that will make a difference in your life & others.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:44 PM  |  reply

      Boom! Good point DDD, pray like there’s nothing holding you back.

  131. Lee Brewer
    posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:50 PM  |  reply


  132. Mary
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 7:18 AM  |  reply

    I have been thinking about this blog since I first read it…mulling over your words…thinking of responding. Then I saw 148 other people have already responded… The Lord desires honest and sincere worship – worship in spirit and truth. I am thinking of the many challenges he spoke through the prophets to his people: You worship me with your lips, but your heart is far from me. YET…Oceans…We should all be singing this. Who IS actually there? Who can stare anything hard God calls us to do or difficult path God calls us to walk and not balk (hesitate, be reluctant)? When I sing this, I am telling my heart to line up with this. We are human and have human feelings and emotions. I am asking the Spirit to make me willing to live and believe these words…not because I can muster all this faith up…it’s all HIM. In some ways, this opinion feels like religion…start living right and then you can come ask of Him to use you. All we have to offer is our brokenness and He receives that and does it all. Oh…but let us offer it. Let’s not stop singing Oceans. Church…to be His kingdom on the earth…we must sing Oceans.

  133. Vincent
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM  |  reply

    I kinda feel like if you say “Spirit lead me…” you are acknowledging that you can’t get to that place without the spirit leading you. I also believe that if the Spirit leads you to a place where your trust has no borders, then you will live like your trust has no borders because your trust will have no borders. It’s a prayer. Us crying out to God. The song can also serve as a reminder for those who’ve kinda fallen off that our souls can still rest in His embrace. I don’t think we should all round stop singing it. However… it is a little overplayed by many lol.

  134. Lindy
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 3:48 PM  |  reply

    Corrie ten Boom once said, ‘Lord, make me willing to be made willing’. And that’s why I sing Oceans wholeheartedly. As a proclamation, a prophecy, speak intomthe future and declare that One day I will be made willing so that I will go and do whatever / wherever God asks me to do or go.

  135. M Mason
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 4:20 PM  |  reply

    Amen sister! Keep preaching the truth. I said to my girlfriend the other day, “I wonder what people would do if God actually answered that prayer and led them to a place where their trust is without borders”! Be careful what you ask for; you just might get it 🙂

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:37 PM  |  reply

      Because Jesus was careful with what He asked God for right?
      “Your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.
      Sounds like they guy who was sent to save us all was super careful with what He asked for.
      Keeping my love on brother! no disrespect just a differing opinion.

  136. posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 5:09 PM  |  reply

    I just wrote a story called “Trust Without Borders,” which is about how this song helped to inspire my wife and I to take three foster children into our home on a whim. We had never even considered being foster parents. Next thing we know, we have three extra children in our home. Check out the story here.

  137. erika
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 7:24 PM  |  reply

    Sing on friends!! Ask the Lord to keep leading you to those places, and you will be moved to act! We all will fail many times over, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying, stop praying, stop trusting, stop seeking.

  138. Nathan
    posted on Sep 22, 2014 at 10:35 PM  |  reply

    I agree with what you are saying for the most part. Yes it isn’t a song that we should simply sing because it’s nice and has good words. We should be living it. But… If we aren’t living it, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t sing it because the truth is we can’t live it. God can live it through us. Does it mean we shouldn’t pray that the Spirit would lead us to trust God in everything cuz we can’t live it? Does it mean that we should not pray that God would take control of our lives just because we will always seek control in someway? No. Yes you are right we shouldn’t just sing it because it’s nice. But we should sing it if we want to live that way but don’t know how to.

  139. posted on Sep 23, 2014 at 1:57 PM  |  reply

    I mean it… When I sing this song I’m sold out to the meaning of it. Crazy thing is I was worshipping hours after reading this article and I prayed through this song. I love it and can’t wait to see where these lyrics take myself and my family.

  140. Lindsey S
    posted on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM  |  reply

    I read most of your article and I’m not sure if I agree. I sing that song all the time at my church. Some times I feel that nudge and don’t listen at first. The more I sing that song tho the more I get that point in my head and it becomes easier to trust God and let the spirit lead me where my trust is without borders wherever he would call me. I think we should all keep singing and let the meaning sink in.

  141. Stacey
    posted on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:35 PM  |  reply

    Francis Chan’s sermon, “If Jesus Were Pastor”, goes right along with this. Good word.

  142. Holly
    posted on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:24 AM  |  reply

    So true! We sing these songs that feel good to sing but don’t let them sink deep into our hearts and provoke change and transformation.

    I sung this song, seriously surrendering when I came off the mission field and my transplanted kidney was threatening to fail and there was the eeiry reality that the treatment needed to make it healthy again might make my cancer come back. I sung it pouring out my heart with tears and it was the hardest thing. I started off by singing this song that I heard for the first time that sounded so beautiful and original and ended up a boogery mess at the back of the sanctuary, choosing to trust God no matter what.

    Yeah, I think we need to think about the words we sing, so we are not those people the bible talks about in Isaiah 29:13, “he Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

    “NOTHING in those two lines of lyrics is going to feel good when you are going through it.”
    SO TRUE, believe me! But worth it. I mean what are we living for? To what end? For me, there is no better way to live my life then to surrender one-hundred percent, daily. Yeah, it hurts (SO much sometimes), it comes with disappointments and unmet expectations. It comes with financial, and health problems but then I meditate on this verse:

    “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” –2 Corinthians 4:17

    And I know it will all be worth it when I see Jesus. There will be no more suffering, pain or tears and he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of thy Lord”.

  143. Jeff
    posted on Sep 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM  |  reply

    I kinda feel this way with songs that tell God that we want to see Him, like Open the Eyes of My Heart. In the Old Testament, whenever someone realized that they had or were seeing God, a terror gripped their hearts and minds, because they knew they were going to die. They understood that no one can see God and live. In our New Testament lives, if we really want to see God it means dying … to self, to our wants and desires, to living life our way. And in some cases, literally dying. Like Oceans, it’s a line in a song that we should sing carefully, not flippantly. But we shouldn’t stop singing the lines. We rather need to really realize and commit to live out what we are singing, and understand what will actually happen if the prayer we are singing is answered.

  144. hannah kinney
    posted on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:02 PM  |  reply

    I don’t agree with this. I may be young, but the song is reaching out telling us we SHOULD go beyond our comfort. most all songs talk about things we should do as Christians, but some firms we don’t. does that mean I’m not aloud to sing the song?? maybe the song would be the reason for me doing something I should be.

    • Jeff Palmer
      posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 3:13 PM  |  reply

      I agree.

  145. Joel
    posted on Sep 24, 2014 at 4:10 PM  |  reply

    Don’t Stop Singing Oceans.

    I like the question that is presented to us, of whether we need to choose not to sing certain lyrics, and perhaps that might be the case for certain songs, but, for this particular song, I disagree. Here is why…

    1) I think this song should really be looked at as more of a prayer put to music. I think that this song is mostly about the desire to trust God, and to depend on him, especially in circumstances and situations where “feet may fail”.

    2) I understand and appreciate what Annie Downs is trying to say in her article, and she makes some good points, but I disagree with her interpretation of what it truly means to have a trust in God that is “without borders”, and I also disagree with her definition of what it means to be called by God. Let me explain by telling a quick story:

    Three years ago, my family was called into a hospital room and told that that our Mom would not make it through the night. They gave her a 1% chance of living, but that 1% was just to give us hope. Our lives in that moment came to a halt. Our hearts were broken. But in that moment we had a choice. We were either going to stand by her bedside and sing her back to health, or we were going to keep singing until God took her home. (To spare you all the answer as to what happened, our Mom survived and she was considered the miracle patient of the year in Alberta). But let me tell you, I have never prayed more genuinely and fervently in my life. In fact, my knees are still hurting from it! But I tell you this story because we did not choose for this to happen; yet it did. And we could either focus on the tragedy of what happened, our we could “call upon His name, and keep our eyes above the waves.” We chose the later. I have never “felt” like more of a Christian than in that moment of weakness and helplessness. God gave us grace, and gave us peace, and gave us the strength to trust him no matter what. We put our trust in God, and we were prepared to keep trusting him, even if our Mom had died that night.

    3) I don’t think that we always get to choose the things that happen in our lives. Most often in the Bible when it talks about being called, it is not talking about being called to be a missionary, or to be a pastor, or to take this job or that job, but when it talks about being called in the Bible, it is talking about the call to live for Christ no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, and no matter where we are living or what we are doing. That is what it means to have a faith that is without boarders, and we can’t have that faith unless we call upon the Lord for help and guidance.

    4) I fail often. I mess things up. I often place my hope in things when my hope should be in Christ. So my prayer is that the Spirit will always lead me to where my faith is without boarders, that no matter what the circumstances are in my life, and no matter how painful it might be, that my trust will always be in Christ alone. And you know what? God is going to lead us in to times of uncertainty whether we like it or not! But God is Sovereign. And so singing songs like this may just help us to keep our eyes above the water when God calls us.

    So go ahead, keep singing Oceans.

    “Spirit thank you for leading me into the unknown so that my faith will ever be strengthened by your sovereign hand”

  146. Rachel
    posted on Sep 24, 2014 at 11:49 PM  |  reply

    For me, this song is a cry for God to give me the faith that I don’t always have. I struggle with the sins of fear, anxiety and doubt. It’s offensive to me for someone to say, don’t sing this song if your not going to live it. I can’t live it, I need God to help me live it. The first time I heard the line, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” I thought YES! That’s what I want, faith without borders. But does that meat because I downloaded this song I can automatically make myself have faith without borders? No. This song is a cry for God to give me that.

  147. Rebekah
    posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 10:10 AM  |  reply

    While I definitely see where you’re coming from, I, along with others I hope, view this song as a prayer. It’s a prayer that He will expand us to be more like Him, to be more trusting in Him, to have a deeper relationship with Him. We are never going to be perfect Christians, but we can continuously grow in our relationship with Christ. To me, that’s what this song is about. I can only pray that I can trust Him beyond borders and have profound faith in all He has planned for us. Songs like this one are to encourage us to strive to be able to give The Lord our full hearts and let Him take control completely.

  148. Hisgurl
    posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:28 PM  |  reply

    I agree. We don’t want to sing something that is meant to be deep and reverent in a trite way, we need to stop and think about what these words are meaning. I see it as a prayer asking to trust Him more. To step out of the boat and look at Him without any reservations and complete trust, but remember Peter didn’t even get that right. Maybe the words will help someone to stop and think about them. and help them to go deeper with the Holy God of all. But I am glad you called this subject up for contemplation.
    I was a bit unsettled when I heard the song on secular radio the other day, thinking, do those who hear it really know what they are singing? How could someone who does not know Christ sing something so deep and causally? I could only hope that the Holy Spirit would bring clarity to those with eyes to see and ears to hear in a brand new way.

  149. Sarah
    posted on Sep 27, 2014 at 8:35 AM  |  reply

    I usually don’t comment on blogs but ever since reading this post via a FB link the other day I keep coming back to it. I for sure understand what you are saying about people not living what they are singing. But you even said you feel convicted when singing the song. Isn’t that a good thing? If you are going to say stop singing Oceans, then there are 100s of other worship songs we need to also stop singing. Other lyrics from other songs that I don’t think we always mean….Other examples- “We don’t want blessings. We want you…” Really? We don’t want blessing? “in my soul, I give you control, consume me from the inside out” Control? how many of us really give God complete control? If we only ever sang songs we truly believed in and lived then we would never feel that tension and conviction and never go deeper in our faith. These are prayers….asking God to change our hearts to look more like his.

  150. Sydney
    posted on Sep 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM  |  reply

    I have sang Oceans countless times and I know that song better than I should, but I have never thought that deep into the bridge.
    My thoughts have always been encouraging because I need that nudge to do something and I want my trust to be without borders and my faith to be made stronger in the Presence of My Savior. Humans are messy regardless.
    Nobody said that this life as a believer was going to be easy, it’s just going to be worth it.
    I love your post, it made me rethink certain things about that song, but you only made me love it more.

  151. Rob
    posted on Sep 27, 2014 at 7:35 PM  |  reply

    So if singing songs of response in faith is not a good idea, I guess the bridge from “Hosanna” is out… Or “I will follow” or even a hymn like “I surrender all”. I love songs that cause people to sing and proclaim things that deep inside they want, but need his help to attain. “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief!”. We don’t sing songs merely from a position of where we are physically, but where we are spiritually. Raised up and seated with Christ, where all things are possible. So, though my flesh and the Accuser would tell me “how dare you sing that song, you don’t mean that 100%” my spirit says something else… And when from a position of leading I see people sing these songs until their spirit connects with it, and it manifests in their life, I truly see the work of grace abound. We sing as a church full of imperfect people. But we WILL be presented spotless before the Groom when he returns. Lets sings songs of surrender when we don’t want to, songs of starving for Him, when were not very hungry, and for Him to lead us out when we would rather stay at home. If we don’t ask, we wont receive. Let go of the guilt and condemnation, and reach out with hands of faith. I see a need to be genuine, but lets be genuine to who we are in Christ, and not who we were before He saved us.

  152. Lane Buckner
    posted on Sep 28, 2014 at 3:52 AM  |  reply

    I think the author is saying it is a good thing to sing such songs, but please be aware of the what you are asking of God. You are asking God to force you to be more than a lukewarm, milk toast Christian. You are asking Him to put you in uncomfortable, scary situations where your security is shaken; situations where you will cry out to God asking if He has abandoned you, where you will be convinced the devil is attacking you, where you will do things that make you look unseemly to your friends.

  153. posted on Sep 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM  |  reply

    Annie wrote, “…sing your heart out, because it’s going to be a beautifully messy ride.”

    Yes, messy and painful. He wounds so we can understand Him, get to know Him. That is so painful, but so deeply beautiful and intimate. I hear Christians constantly saying, “I am so blessed,” – one just the other day on Christian radio. Bless, bless, bless. Yes, God wants to bless us in the end. But are we hearing and seeing the messages on suffering that is happening? How does it really feel to a person eating out of a garbage bin to hear how God has blessed me? Don’t get me wrong, I want God’s blessings as much or more than anyone else. But God is out for a much deeper relationship which we do not always understand – “…that I would know Christ, the power of His resurrection (that means we must die), the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Phil 3:10 Really?

    God has hurt me, yet I have come to know Him. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise (margin = crush) Him.” Isa 53:10 “It’s not love any other way.”

    Tenth Avenue North’s song, “Any Other Way” sings about that truth.

    ” ‘Cause it’s not enough, it’s not enough
    Just to say that you’re okay
    I need your hurt, I need your pain
    It’s not love any other way”

    You can see Tenth Avenue North’s excellent journal of their song here:

    God hurts! I wondered for a long time, Why is God’s pain and hurting me, not considered abuse? Abusive people are sometimes more lenient with those they are abusing than God is. Christians being beheaded? How is that from a loving God? Recently I ran across the definition of Abuse – “to put to a wrong use; misapply; misuse; to pervert.”

    God’s purpose is never to mistreat, misapply or pervert us. But in a culture like the US and the way we parents raise our kids, we and society press hard to send our kids the message, “If God really loves you, if your parents really love you, they will physically bless you and give, give, give to you.” It’s a lie from the enemy, just as Satan stalked Jesus in the Garden in the movie, “The Passion.” God hurts us to conform us to the image of His Son. What in the world did the Father do to Him? Yet in the end, Jesus was richly….richly blessed.

    Thanks for addressing this much needed topic. Unfortunately in the short term, more suffering and pain, I believe, is around the corner for our comfortable little secure world. It’s coming whether we want it or not. Are we ready? In the long-term, those who are faithful, receive faith which is greater than gold refined in the fire.

  154. Joseph Heaphy
    posted on Sep 28, 2014 at 6:34 PM  |  reply

    The only singular hope for this world is Jesus Christ. Lift Him up for his Godly love upon the cross. We’re not perfect, we all fall short to His Glory. Luckily, by His blood, He will live through me. If you truly believe, you’ll be all right. Enjoy life in His Name.

  155. Ronzi
    posted on Oct 03, 2014 at 2:08 AM  |  reply

    and for those of us who have sold our houses and moved from our comfort zones, and are teaching our children another new language (as we are learning it ourselves). For those who are free falling from the faith jump, and have left friends and family and possessions…for those of us: dance like nobody is watching, sing (Oceans) like nobody is listening, and live like the kingdom of heaven is coming down on earth!

  156. posted on Oct 03, 2014 at 9:04 AM  |  reply

    […] daily walk with God, family, circumstances, work.  ( Proverbs 18:21 ) Your words are powerful!! .Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. […]

  157. Tana
    posted on Oct 03, 2014 at 10:20 AM  |  reply

    How remarkably human of us to think that simply asking for our trust (and faith) to be pushed (or tested) actually makes one iota of a difference!

    “If you will ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to where your trust is without borders, do you actually mean that?”

    The point of Christianity is to be Christ-like. I am far from that. So yes, I need pushed, not just on Sundays but sometimes on an hourly basis. I can ask, of course, but my God doesn’t sit around and wait for me to call the shots. He is a loving Father who wants me to expand my horizons and go beyond what I am comfortable with, HOWEVER, I believe he will do this whether I ask it of Him or not. We as individuals determine our response to where we are led and whether we choose to tackle a situation or shrink away from it. For me, singing the bridge is more of a plea to God to help me maintain a positive and fearless approach to life’s trials and tribulations. To go, to do, and to say what he is leading me to… but with the ultimate faith and trust in Him.

    “If you are only singing the song and not living the life, stop singing Oceans.”

    I may not be living that completely surrendered life, but I want to and that’s how I interpreted this song. A plea, a reminder, maybe, but ultimately a prayer to bring my life and ways up to speed with where my heart is. Even if it is painful and messy.

  158. Melissa
    posted on Oct 04, 2014 at 4:56 PM  |  reply

    This is an interesting article. In the midst of singing this song a few months ago God gave me a bit of a different interpretation of the bridge of this song. He showed me, through a brief vision, the story of Peter on the boat except it was me in his place. Jesus called me out of the boat, out of my comfort zone. The further I walked towards Him, the deeper the waters beneath my feet were, but as long as I kept my eyes on Him, through His love and grace, I would stay above the water. So for me, anytime I sing this song I imagine that I am looking at Jesus, I have my eyes fixed on Him. I am stepping out in faith, knowing that whatever challenges God may bring my way, no matter how scary, that I will not drown in them when my eyes are fixed on Him.

    Romans 5:3 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

    I want you all to be encouraged, not convicted. God calls us to a higher place, whether it is any of the acts of service she listed in the article or even just giving Him part of your day. The God we serve is a God of LOVE. He doesn’t condemn us. He loves us! And He welcomes us to come as we are, even if we don’t feel we are yet to a place of living the lyrics we sing on Sunday, He still beckons us to worship Him.

    This song is not a song about convicting us of the things that we are not doing, but encouraging us to live more by the example that Jesus set for us, encouraging us to go deeper with God.

  159. Travis
    posted on Oct 04, 2014 at 11:24 PM  |  reply

    It’s a song more about us than God. I get that it’s us saying we want God to grow our faith but that’s still about our own self-growth. Singing about ourselves in a worship service has always struck me as peculiar and off-base.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:29 PM  |  reply

      Declaring things over yourself should never feel peculiar, There’s all kinds of worship songs. Praise songs, prayer songs, invitational songs, and declarative songs! They all have a place in worship music, but stewarding the relationship between you and God is what true worship is, its the connection to Jesus and the stewardship of it that should be defined as worship.
      Love you bro!

  160. Michele Michelson
    posted on Oct 05, 2014 at 8:07 AM  |  reply

    God didn’t plan for us to be comfy our whole lives. It’s during the hard and uncomfortable times that we grow and mature the most. Just like when Jesus prayed in the garden b4 they picked Him up to be crucified, that this cup be passed from Him. He didn’t want to either but still willingly went thru it 4 our sake. Thank God!! Why can’t we be uncomfortable 4 His sake?

  161. Hillary
    posted on Oct 06, 2014 at 11:29 AM  |  reply

    I thank Annie for this postWe’ve been singing Oceans at my church for about a month now, and it really is such a powerful song. After reading this, I thought and prayed on it and this is what I came up with: I will use this song as a prayer to God to challenge my comfort and my heart. That I’ll hold these ideas close my heart. In a way, a challenge to myself to live my life this way. I don’t want my praise to be empty, but I can’t do this on my own, I know this. So each time I hear this song, at church or on the radio, I will take the opportunity to affirm to God that this is the kind of life I want, even if my heart isn’t quite ready for it, because hopefully one day through prayer, it will be.

  162. Jillian
    posted on Oct 06, 2014 at 4:46 PM  |  reply

    I agree, but the trick i believe is on the contrary….not to ‘stop singing it’, but to KEEP singing it, and let those words motivate and encourage you to actually start doing it. Music is a powerful thing and it’s songs like these that are in my head and my heart that actually in times of need come to me and get me focused to actually live how we are called to live as followers of Christ. If we stop singing oceans because of this reason, then we have to stop singing every single song we sing that would cause us to do something that goes against our natural tendency as humans. There are songs that say, “I will worship you in everything”, do we actually?, “be exalted, be exalted, be exalted higher and higher”, is he actually exalted in our lives above everything and everyone else, ” I want to be unmoveable unshakeable so let my roots go down deep, unmoveable and unshakeable in you, and i want to be like a tree planted by the streams of living water”, are we? Are we firmly and deeply rooted in Him so much so that we will never be able to swept away by something else that may seem to please ourselves more, “All to Jesus I surrender all to him i freely give, I will ever love and trust Him in His presence daily live”, there is a lot in that one single line of that whole hymn, and do we really? Do we really give it all to Him….and freely….do we love and trust Him wholly and completely more than anyone or anything else….DO WE REALLY LIVE IN HIS PRESENCE DAILY?…..This is not a rebuke to your blog at all because i agree with your heart, however this is a challenge for us instead to stop singing the songs….because that would be WAY too easy for us to do and be comfortable right where our feet are…..but it is a charge to keep singing these songs…..BUT TO DO IT…..KEEP SINGING OCEANS AND INSTEAD, BE READY WHEN HE CALLS YOU BECAUSE HE WILL IF YOU’RE SEEKING HIM, TO GO WITH YOUR SAVIOR DEEPER THAN YOUR FEET WOULD EVER HAVE TAKEN YOU NATURALLY ON YOUR OWN

  163. Eric
    posted on Oct 06, 2014 at 7:47 PM  |  reply

    I guess you better stop singing, “I Surrender All” as well. Geez!!!

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:25 PM  |  reply

      Keep your love on Eric! Grace and Honor go a long way.

  164. posted on Oct 06, 2014 at 9:57 PM  |  reply

    I remember a specific moment last year, weeks after losing my job and housing. I stood as the band started playing this song at a worship night at church. I mumbled the words for a few moments but could not continue. I slowly crept down to my knees and prayed, over and over, “please no further”.

    See I had sung this song a lot. I’d sung it with gusto and excitement, with a heart willing to be moved. And then God had pulled things away from me and suddenly I was no longer willing.

    I’ll sing it now, but not always. I’ll only sing if I’m willing to be moved. Whenever we sing it, I kind of want to stop the music and ask everyone to consider the words. Do you mean them? Do you really want God to do this? It’s scary and awful.

    It’s also the best though. Having my security taken away made me lean into the Lord in a way I hadn’t had to yet. So I’m grateful He listened to my prayers to break my borders and freak me out.

    Good words Annie. I agree.

  165. posted on Oct 07, 2014 at 6:31 AM  |  reply

    […] a month ago I read Annie Downs‘ tweet for us all to  Stop Singing Oceans . Because I love that song so I was both upset by her words and curious as to her reason.  Once I […]

  166. posted on Oct 07, 2014 at 7:41 AM  |  reply

    I think the way this post addresses worshipers of God (the church, the bride of Christ) is pretty inappropriate. It’s like approaching a married couple and informing them that the bride didn’t mean her vows or expressions of affection she spoke at her wedding and she’s gonna bail the minute she gets uncomfortable. No one knows the heart of that bride but the bride and heavenly Father. And even if by some miracle you COULD see into the heart of that bride, you would never approach her in that manner.

    As a worship leader, I’ve never lead “Oceans.” This post kinda makes me want to, though. It makes me want to pray the Lord’s prayer more often, even though I don’t know the precise impact God’s will being done would have on my comfort level. It makes me want to sing “I Surrender All” even though I have things I’m not ready to let go. It makes me want to dance to Israel Houghton’s “Nothing is Impossible” even though my husband’s and my dream of being debt free seems a long way off thanks to two mortgaged homes and school loans. Why? Because God. He calls into being things that do not exist. I will follow His example.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:24 PM  |  reply

      You go Amanda!

  167. posted on Oct 07, 2014 at 10:10 AM  |  reply

    I see both arguments presented here, and to avoid merely repeating everyone elses’ points (all which are very good), I guess I’m not really contributing a new thought here, but simply emphasizing that the songs’ lyrics are really a PRAYER. The whole discussion here I believe really rests on the fact that if you know the song is a prayer or plea for God to take the current state (personal ) as well as for the whole (the Body of Christ) of where we are to where we need to be, then it shouldn’t be an issue of whether to sing it or not to. Everyone in the Body is in a different place with God; not everyone spiritually is in the same state, so whether we are new Christians, mature, back-slidden, struggling or ‘doing well’; I believe the song’s merit rests not on the persons’ comfort level of whether to sing or not to sing ‘Oceans’ Deep’.
    My point is, the song is not proclaiming that we are all already there, it is rather asking God to help us to be in the place of His perfect will; which is to where our ‘faith is without borders..’. It is also a confession, as it doesn’t pompously state that that is the state where we are now, otherwise, the lyrics would be entirely different, and somewhat to this effect rather: “Spirit , keep me where my trust is without borders..”
    I think the author of this post definitely has a point, and isn’t wrong in her admonition to us brothers and sisters to be more contemplative and genuine in our worship (bless her for that). However, because the song indeed is a confession and a prayer, al the more we NEED to keep singing ‘Oceans’ (and the myriad of other worship songs with the same message). YES Church! KEEP on singing Oceans, because as others pointed out here in the comments, it will eventually sink in. No, we aren’t worthy to sing the song. But at that rate, (as fallen humans with a sin nature) we’re not worthy to even come and worship the Holy Lord at His throne room, period. With that said, we know that we in fact can because of the cross, and the blood. Halellujah that we can, because He calls us to worship Him, no matter what, even though we might not be there yet. But we must press on. Press until He comes back.

  168. Devin
    posted on Oct 11, 2014 at 8:18 AM  |  reply

    I understand what the author’s heart, but don’t agree with everything that’s written.

  169. Jess
    posted on Oct 15, 2014 at 11:57 PM  |  reply

    Totally honest, when I heard this song it really did not witness with my spirit at all. Have you ever heard of something called a marine spirit? They are mentioned throughout the Bible but given names. Anywho, it makes me wonder why everyone and I mean everyone, even “secularists” just adore this song. It’s pretty deep, but it’s something to ponder. Is this song really speaking about Jesus Christ? …….Holy Spirit, shine Your glory light revealing all truth to us.

  170. Cara
    posted on Oct 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM  |  reply

    I absolutely LOVE the song Oceans. It is one of my all time favorite songs. I definitely loved everything you had to say about it though. I feel the same way but it doesn’t mean that we should stop singing it. All christian songs definitely make me feel the same way. But on the other hand we as Christians are called to all of the messes of life and to look to God for guidance. Also it’s ok to be uncomfortable too. Not everything in life is comfortable. Keep blogging Annie but I personally don’t think that you or anyone should stop sining a song because they feel guilty or uncomfortable. It’s a good thing to be able to feel.

  171. charles
    posted on Oct 26, 2014 at 2:47 PM  |  reply

    i don’t feel it’s fair to simply call out this song. Think about every other song that is sung in church and people do not get the lyrics.

  172. MSB
    posted on Nov 01, 2014 at 7:20 PM  |  reply

    Some people singing oceans may be stepping out in faith to be at church at all…or stepping up to volunteer to lead a Sunday school class or small grpup…or stepping out in faith to care for foster children…or to visit a person with terminal illness…or to clean bathrooms for their neighbor fighting cancer…or a battered woman inspired to leave her abuser….or to volunteer at a the local food pantry or soup kitchen. In corporate worship God’s spirit moves each heart independently and beautifully. Yes stagnant greedy worship can be frustrating. At the same time answer your own call, share about it, and worship together with your neighbor without judgement. I am tired of those who are passionate about international mission treating the rest of us Christians like we are disobedient and lazy.

  173. Hannah
    posted on Nov 03, 2014 at 6:40 PM  |  reply

    I don’t think you should’ve said that. Yes, half the people doesn’t know what this song means but forreal? Did you have to say that we shouldn’t sing it? Are you trying to say we shouldn’t worship God? It’s kind of like stepping out of your comfort zone, and just letting the Holy Spirit lead the way. He’s doing something bigger than what we can ever do. We just have to let Him lead the way, and trust in Him always.

    I’ll pray for the Holy Spirit to touch you!

    God Bless!

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:21 PM  |  reply

      Keep your love on Hannah, and the world will be different!

  174. posted on Dec 01, 2014 at 11:22 AM  |  reply

    Annie, I love your blog, and most of all I love all the offended, confused and misunderstood replies. Another poster said that these prayers don’t mean mean anything if they are sung sort of halfhearted. I think God responds to faith … even if its small faith. So you mix a powerful song like this with a little faith and I’m sorry church your borders are about to get hammered. Don’t fear. Stick close to Jesus you’ll be fine.

  175. Lizzie
    posted on Dec 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM  |  reply

    Interesting piece with some good points! However, are you telling us that we shouldn’t ask God to allow us to trust him more? Are you saying that because we don’t know at this moment in time know exactly what he is going to ask us to do we just shouldn’t pray this and sing this because it’s bold and scary? I think we should be singing this as a prayer of need; we NEED God to help us to trust him more so he can lead us where he needs us. We shouldn’t NOT sing this just because we’re scared about what that might involve. With him we can be bold, we can be brave. We can’t underestimate his power and we shouldn’t be disheartening people.

  176. Rob
    posted on Jan 02, 2015 at 7:16 PM  |  reply

    I get what you’re saying. And I get what you’re doing. Without having read the ten billion comments on this, let me just say that from someone who is living out that prayer, that it is NOT a mistake if you mean it. One thing I’ve found is that life is super hard with or without making that commitment. But when you give permission to allow God to LEAD you through it, it’s not only a lot less painful, it’s glorious! People who write like this are writing from a very real place. When you’ve finally decided to ACTUALLY FOLLOW Jesus, there comes the “life more abundantly” that Jesus tried to convince His audience of in His sermons and teachings. We’ve all been sitting in our proverbial pews for years and simply choose not to accept the call to actually be His disciples. Who do we think we are to honestly even call ourselves Christians, let alone FOLLOWERS or even BELIEVERS when we don’t do either one of those things?
    There is so much to say on this subject, let alone every other rabbit trail that can spawn from it, but I would say firstly, thank you for posting it because it’s getting way more traction, let alone provocation, than had it been titled or worded as “Are You Sure You Mean Those Lyrics?” Secondly, I do think people singing Oceans and others like it are healthy. Even if the worship leader doesn’t mean it, the respondent has an opportunity to accept the challenge. If the respondent choses not to respond, but somehow gets that song stuck in his/her head, it’s inevitable that it will surface at some point. I love that God is so absolutely active in our lives that He will undoubtedly use that in a person’s life at some point and say “Didn’t you used to sing Oceans to me? Do you trust me?” I love love love that when people have been challenged, changed, moved, etc. by God, it’s impossible to keep their mouth shut! Because it begins to validate the gospel on so much more of a personal level.
    So from me, I say sing Oceans and let it wreck you! 😉

    • Don
      posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:09 PM  |  reply

      Dead on.

  177. Nathan
    posted on Jan 12, 2015 at 7:05 PM  |  reply

    Sometimes we sing for no reason. Maybe we want to hear ourselves. Maybe we want to fit in or be a part of something like its a football game and we are rooting for our college. Then sometimes we sing to thank the Lord. We find our minds wandering from what he’s done and onto someone and what they’re wearing or what people think about us…. SUDDENLY we think our praise is petty, pointless, or that we are not genuine and we should be ashamed of ourselves. My point is whether we feel the spiritual benefit, our singing praises God regardless. So the next that married singer or pastor is exposed to be an adulterer and everyone is outraged, just remember there was probably someone somewhere who needed to hear their song or sermon. Rather than stop doing what we are called to do, I suggest we sing with purpose

  178. Don
    posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 12:08 PM  |  reply

    It is a good thing Peter or Martin Luther didn’t read your blog. Other than exalting God, don’t we sing those kind of songs because that is what we strive to attain? Come to think of it I should probably not read certain portions of the Bible because — lets be honest — I really don’t want to do those things. So maybe I should just sing bland, uninspiring songs because God forbid He calls me to Djibouti or Hungary and I selfishly ignore it. I don’t want to feel bad about that so I shouldn’t sing worship songs that push me beyond where I am comfortable. Are you really saying we shouldn’t sing songs like “Oceans” or “I Surrender All” or “Be Thou My Vision” because we are too weak to follow through? Maybe someone else in your church is…

  179. Cristy
    posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 2:19 PM  |  reply

    I totally disagree with this. It even makes me angry, in a way that I want to prove that we, as Christians NEED this kind of challenge. I am ready to follow His will, I have been for the last year or two. WIth the mindset that comes with singing and meditating on these lyrics, I feel God stir in my spirit. I feel Him telling me that His will may not be easy, or even popular, but it is still HIS WILL and I will do it! I’m not afraid and I think that my practice of listening to Christian worship songs that challenge me has BROUGHT me to this place. I can get excited reading my bible, listening to sermons and praying to my Savior, but in singing, my heart catches flame! His spirit moves me and emotions sometimes overwhelm. It’s those lyrics and that music! In heaven we won’t be singing of trials, troubles and temptations, we will be praising Him, but now, in the midst of trials, troubles and temptations I want to have Jesus hear my cry to be better and to follow His will willingly…even if that means poverty, moving my family somewhere uncomfortable or prison for my love of Jesus! I am not afraid and I will wait these lyrics!

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:19 PM  |  reply

      Keep your love on!

  180. Dan
    posted on Jan 15, 2015 at 4:04 PM  |  reply

    Yea leave your borders. It’s about Faith. Do you trust HIM more or your borders? If God calls you to do something, do you say YES or do you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row first? God doesn’t call us to be poor and miserable. He wants us better off than we know and continue to take us to higher and higher. To use those gifts HE gave us to glorify HIM. Look at the rich young ruler in the bible, he ask Jesus himself what he must do to enter the kingdom of God? Afterall he supposedly did all you were supposed to do as a Christian. Jesus said, sell all that you have and follow ME. And the rich young ruler went away sad. He didn’t trust JESUS to take care of HIM better than he had known. He trusted his borders.

  181. Misha
    posted on Jan 16, 2015 at 8:36 AM  |  reply

    I get what you’re saying. I really do and my comment might be lost among the stars, but I just have to say that the entire song Oceans is a prayer, or that’s how I think of it. It’s begging the Holy Spirit to help us break down our walls and borders, but the intention for that want must be there. That’s what you’re getting at, I believe. We can’t just sing something and not think about what it means to our Savior. That goes for any song that’s intended for worship. We get so hung up lately about how worship songs “generate this feeling of euphoric bliss or high” and why shouldn’t it? For these moments I worship I feel the closest to my Jesus. Why would I want to feel downtrodden and alone and beaten in the presence of the one that gave it all to take this all away? Don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit convicts in these moments and you might feel that way. NOW, the problem comes in is when we just want that feeling not reflecting on who we’re doing all this for. In the end, it should all lead back to HIM. We should worship whether we feel something or not because it’s NOT ABOUT US. I make it my personal challenge to not get wrapped up in my own feelings and focus on His glory. I fail. As Oceans subtitle is Where Feet May Fail. I fail to recognize the gift of worship. I fail to recognize when my borders are being challenged. I fail to live the life God intended me to live. But Spirit lead me…

  182. Citiznjane
    posted on Jan 19, 2015 at 12:36 PM  |  reply

    I am on the praise team at my church and have been wanting the group to learn this song for quite some time now. Besides being a beautiful song written from the heart it is an honest worship song. When I sing, I am fully in worship of my God. I sing this song when it comes on the radio in my car and offer up as a prayer.
    I would recommend everyone sing this song and mean it. However, I can’t force my will on others or make others worship as I do. No matter the style of our worship…those who like me, sing out to the glory of God, or those whose words or sounds that come out of our mouths are sung because that’s what everyone else is doing, even those who stand in silent stoic worship, God created us as we are and he is with us, in our time of corporate and private worship, face to face. That is HUGE!! There are many people in every congregation in many different places in our walks. God knows our hearts, and promises that faith, even as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Some are taking baby steps and may still be just staring at the mountain, others are storming the mountain, expecting it to move. With God everything is possible. If there is any unpleasantness experienced when change happens to us in order to fulfill Gods perfect plan for us, it is also balanced by the joy of our Lord. Christians…turn to Jesus!
    Just singing the words to some song written by a human being, no matter how lovely and emotionally stirring the song may be, will not magically cause “something” to happen to cause automatic upheaval in the lives of those who sing the words. It’s not an incantation. It’s a prayer and God will answer it, in his time and how he sees fit.
    Annie’s warning is just not relevant…. to me, anyway.

  183. Gloria
    posted on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:03 PM  |  reply

    HEY. I love you without borders. Awesome post. You are a gem.

  184. Cher
    posted on Jan 21, 2015 at 7:34 PM  |  reply

    I’ve always thought that when I sing the line “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” means I’m asking God to strengthen my trust in him so that no matter what I go through I trust him through it. Like through the trials and storms of life. But could also include trusting him while doing his will over our own will.

  185. Katie
    posted on Jan 23, 2015 at 8:11 AM  |  reply

    Analogically, it seems (to me, personally) that the argument used in this article is as such:

    “Don’t call yourself a Christian, because you sin.

    Don’t call upon the name of the Lord, if you’re not sure if you can take His voice.

    Don’t go to church if you’re not a Christian.”

    Perhaps it’s in the way the article was presented or written. There’s truth, of course, in not being a hypocrite. But to not sing the message of Oceans because we are incapable of doing what it says feels rather works-based, no?

    It’s alright to sing Oceans without really fully understanding it. You don’t have to fully understand it, or be fully capable of grasping the message, in order to have a “right” to sing it. Because maybe some day, you will. You’ll get it. And what a beautiful day that would be.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:17 PM  |  reply

      Oh my gosh! I love you. You been to a Firestarters course yet? If not you should, you’d fit right in!

  186. posted on Jan 27, 2015 at 8:46 AM  |  reply

    […] think perhaps the time I actually began to like it was when I read a post entitled Stop Singing Oceans. It spoke of the extent to which our faith is truly tested by this song, and for that, I truly […]

  187. Jasper Smithey
    posted on Jan 29, 2015 at 9:05 AM  |  reply

    Keep on singing, my fellow reedemed brothers and sisters! This is exactly what we do want, that the Spirit of God would lead us places he would have us go rather than where we ourselves would choose. Keep on singing! In our own sinful nature inherited through Adam, our souls would only bend back on themselves and keep us cloistered. Keep on singing!! Shame on anyone who professes Christ crucified and denounces the Holy Spirit! Keep on singing!!! (…especially the bridge.)

  188. Amanda Rosse
    posted on Jan 29, 2015 at 3:13 PM  |  reply

    This article frustrates me. No, we don’t just immediately “trust without borders,” or “walk upon the waters,” but this song is asking for that.

    Why should we stop singing that? We should want that, and each time we sing it, it’s ingrained in us just a little more.

    Yes, Lord, take me deeper than I could have imagined before. Remind me that I need to trust only You and the plan that You have for me. However, living on this earth is difficult. We flounder, we suffer, we struggle believing that our fears are smaller than God.

    So, you are telling people to be perfect to listen to a song that gives them more strength? This song brings me deeper and closer to God, believing more in myself and the power that God has instilled in me. God gave me the power to move mountains. God gave you the power to move them too, but if we stop singing songs like this, mountains will stop moving.

  189. Joy
    posted on Jan 29, 2015 at 9:09 PM  |  reply

    I totally respect your article and your points but let’s remember that this is true of any worship song that we sing, any verse that we recite, and any prayer that we say. We should really mean it with all of our hearts and souls. We should be ready for the Holy Spirit to take us on that ride but convict us when we are not being obedient. I should not sing, recite, pray or state things if I don’t want to be held accountable. Really, I do, and that is why when I come across something that I want to ensure I am being accountable for I state it publicly-whether to friends in person or on Facebook.

  190. Davide
    posted on Jan 31, 2015 at 1:54 PM  |  reply

    I recently got done reading the book In His Steps and the main focus of the book is to ask the question “what would Jesus do?” I don’t believe he would have us stop playing a song that has impacted people greatly and even brought some to relationship with him. If we stop playing this song we might as well just stop playing every worship song because we don’t follow them exactly. Should we also stop reading the bible too because we don’t do everything it says? We are so imperfect but God still loves us. We will never be able to do everything but we can try by doing things like mentioned in the article. I know this that we will never stop playing oceans God is using this song in tremendous ways and if you want to stop that from happening that’s your own choice.

  191. Kim
    posted on Feb 02, 2015 at 12:10 PM  |  reply

    This was an eye opener for me!

  192. posted on Feb 05, 2015 at 12:03 PM  |  reply

    […] heard the warnings to stop singing the song unless I really, truly live it. And I’ve checked my heart and decided that I want to keep singing […]

  193. BillS
    posted on Feb 08, 2015 at 1:52 PM  |  reply

    Matt 6:12 is also terrifying: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” I am a flawed human, and I absolutely do NOT want God Almighty judging me by my own flawed behavior. I am wholly dependent upon His Godly Love and Mercy, and I cast all my confidence on Him being better at Love and Mercy than I am! Oh, yes, I yearn for the transformation of His Holy Spirit, but to ask, as Jesus actually specifically directed, for God to judge me by my own degree of sanctification, I literally weep to think that he would use the standard of my own behavior against me.

    How many billions of people over the last 2000 years have said these frightful words?

    I am so completely dependent upon His Grace; it is incomprehensible to me that He would make Himself dependent upon my representation in the world. I am but a child, awed by the Lord of the Dance, yet He asks me to dance for Him! And I step – and stumble – and twirl just to please Him.

    I sing because I want to rise to His side for just a moment of worship before I go out, refreshed and inspired, to a fresh start in the world I live in.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:14 PM  |  reply

      That sounds pretty tiring haha, try joy. Its a third of the kingdom. Might want to take a break from the St. Augustin and John Calvin point of view and try out something better.

  194. YASH
    posted on Feb 23, 2015 at 8:52 AM  |  reply

    I don’t think that means you should stop singing it. It is the Spirit that gives you the courage to do all of those things in the first place. If anything, we as Christians should keep invoking the holy spirit to lead us past our borders. That’s how we gain the courage to do so.

    Sing away, even if you don’t do these things. I believe that the more you sing it, the more you will realize what it is you’re actually asking for. Then when you realize the importance of the words, you will actually begin to mean it.

  195. posted on Feb 26, 2015 at 9:38 AM  |  reply

    […] Stop Singing Oceans by Annie Downs […]

  196. Albert
    posted on Mar 03, 2015 at 1:07 AM  |  reply

    I don’t think we need to stop singing the song just because we’re not living it out. On the contrary singing the words of this song should make us reflect how a Christian without borders should look like.

    • Jacob Matteson
      posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:11 PM  |  reply

      Speak it!

  197. Jacob Matteson
    posted on Mar 09, 2015 at 2:10 PM  |  reply

    I would have to disagree,
    Declaring this song over your life and that God would lead you is not in any way bad.
    God leads everyone differently and into different things, and what is wrong with having a bunch of crazy revivalist’s bringing heaven to earth wherever they go? Nothing. Jesus prayed “Your will be done Your KINGDOM COME ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”. He didn’t pray, “Just lead me where I am comfortable so that I may never grow, and die and go to heaven and never accomplish anything with this life You gave me”.
    Just saying if we declare this song over ourselves we might actually start living it out.
    Keeping love on for my siblings! Jacob-

  198. Rachael
    posted on Mar 26, 2015 at 10:03 AM  |  reply

    First of all, we are not perfect. God knew that ever since we allowed sin into our lives….So even if we don’t want to be uncomfortable, God will put you where he NEEDS you according to his plan, and more than likely it will be uncomfortable. Does that mean putting yourself in danger? Possibly. or just a simple task as talking to the soccer mom that “no one” wants to talk to? Possibly. Either way, God will do his work, that is if you allow it, This post is so ridiculous, and redundant….If you are a Christian, and you give your life to God, that means being lead out to the deep waters and trusting God. Peter could have stayed in the shallow waters, but he trusted Jesus and went deeper, and caught a net full of fish.. There is scientific evidence that support the events in the Bible…the whole Big Bang Theory makes zero sense, and evolution makes zero sense–all of that is theoretical that are man made theories with no real scientific support. Why aren’t Monkeys emerging from the ocean if “micro-organisms” suddenly combined and made all these different animals… ridiculousness. Anyways, I love this song, and I will sing it loud and proud.. if you don’t like it, turn the radio off, or walk out of the sanctuary if you feel that strongly about it.

  199. Heather
    posted on Mar 27, 2015 at 11:15 PM  |  reply

    I am a very young Christian, and after reading many comments on here I felt I needed to share a small part of my conversion story.

    This song was a tool God used to break through a second major chain blocking my relationship with Him.

    I was raised in a cult, but before I started learning their teachings, I felt a connection to God. The more I learned, the darker things got. I was raised that Christianity is evil, that God is not who He is, but who man says He is, and that He had no real power. Of course, it wasn’t put into that language, but that was the essence.

    My first experience that I can acknowledge as the work of the Spirit was when the chain keeping me from knowing Jesus was ripped away. No joke. Literally ripped. It was such an intense experience that it still makes me tear up. The second was in accepting the work of the Holy Spirit. That chain broke during this very song.

    If you’ve ever felt God’s call but we’re so terrified of getting it wrong because all your life people bullied His character and you believed differently, if you’ve ever felt that black ooze of sin and depravity and the darkness and the wall separating you from the light, the life, and the only one you truly desire, all because you are afraid that you will get it wrong which makes you refuse to trust, if you’ve ever laid in a tepid bath in the fetal position in the dark bawling your eyes out because He is so close, you can sense Him, you can FEEL Him calling to you, but you can’t let go and you can’t reach out, and you cry out for mercy in pain and despair, then you will see this post as I do.

    The call in your heart is not from a song. It is not about beautiful words, or soul searing symphony. It is about heart, HIS heart, HIS love, HIS mercy and HIS grace. It is about what should race through our hearts as we listen to this song, what should drive us to beg to be used for His purposes, to be led in His ways. It should be a soundtrack for the truth in our hearts, watching Jesus bear his cross along that path, carrying OUR judgement, OUR sentence, and facing moments so dark and despairing that we can NEVER fathom the depths of the horror that WE cast upon Him. This is a song that requires me to sing from every fibre of my being, asking for God to grace me with the gift to go wherever He asks, no matter how massive the walls, how dark the corridor, or how tormented I may be.

    We love Him because He first loved us.

    It’s a beautiful song. It truly is. No matter why a person sings. Sing away. Enjoy the music. Feel moved for two minutes, two days, two years, or the rest of your life. But for me, I will never forget WHY I have that gift, WHY I have the Spirit to lead me, WHY I long to serve in ways I may never understand.

    May none of us ever forget why we sing in such beautiful praise for such undeserved treasures. In Jesus’ Name, for His sake.

    Praise be to God!

  200. Justin Jones
    posted on Apr 02, 2015 at 3:14 AM  |  reply

    Should we really stop asking God for trust in him? Worship is more than we think it is. Worship actually does something in us. It isn’t just expressing love to God (although it is that). It actually fosters and can grow our love for God. Let’s keep singing “Oceans” bc, over time, the act of asking God to give us this border-less trust, with the Spirit, will help produce that trust in us. Don’t stop asking! Keep asking and let God’s Spirit work in you through it. You may not mean it or realize what you’re singing, but God’s Spirit is working.

  201. Peachy
    posted on Apr 03, 2015 at 1:01 AM  |  reply

    Feels like maybe the song brought about a self realization for you. Maybe Spirit is leading you to think about things you might need to work on. I never interpreted the song the way you did. To me, when I sing those lyrics, I’m asking, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.” Meaning, help me to trust God whole heartedly, without fear. “Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.” Help me be brave when I’m in a situation that might not be ideal to me BUT exactly where He wants me to be so that I may be used to serve His will. Basically, to “drown” in His love and trust Him with a childlike faith. Songs are always open to interpretation. Everyone will receive a different message. Maybe you just aren’t sure what the message is for you.

  202. Ashley
    posted on Apr 09, 2015 at 10:46 PM  |  reply

    Thank you for posting this!
    I agree. As Christians, we SHOULD live that way. It’s what we’re supposed to do. To PRAY something along the lines of the Oceans lyrics is great. But, like you said, if we’re not willing to live it, maybe we shouldn’t sing it.
    I think it’s a great song for a time of personal prayer/worship. To sing it as a congregational “worship” song? Eh, maybe not.
    After all, there are many who are not willing to live that way yet.

  203. Dale
    posted on May 17, 2015 at 6:23 PM  |  reply

    “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.”

    “Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, that my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.”

    I have been trying to put my finger on why I have a problem with this bridge, I am Spirit Filled, have laid hands on the sick and they have recovered, and have walked in the miraculous and have been a worship leader. Just saying this so the reader can know I am basically a Jesus fanatic, Jesus is God. I have been wrestling with these types of topics for awhile now. Here is my current thinking. The type of thinking reflected in these lyrics flips the responsibility back on God instead of us taking up the responsibility to simple say, “Yes” to God and obey the written word. Many of our popular songs today make it all about some vague relationship while Jesus plainly says ” Those who love me obey my commandments” In Acts it is written, “God has given the Holy Spirit to those who obey him. Jesus says if you keep my words the Father will manifest himself to us. I have found that when I obey the written word that God shows up, When I act on the written word the Holy Spirit confirms it. It is a very subtle difference in our faith but there is no need to be asking the Holy Spirit to take us deeper and such, all we need to do is obey the written word and you will have turned the switch on and you will certainly need the Holy Spirit for the ability to obey the written word. Disobey the written word and you turn the switch off, actually we grieve the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit will not help you to disobey the written word; after all He inspired it. All the while God loves us and wants us to repent. Do you really want to go deeper. Just go preach the Gospel as it is written and Jesus commands, you will immediately encounter persecution from “Christians” and the world , you will need the Holy Spirit more then you ever imagined to obey the written word because the the flesh wars against the spirit. You will begin to know Jesus, the fellowship of his suffering and the power of his resurrection. Jesus said, “Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No”. It really is that simple. Telling God we love him is a good thing. Using our relationship with him as substitute for obeying him is quit another.

  204. posted on May 18, 2015 at 4:35 AM  |  reply

    Love this post thanks.
    In April 2013, my 15 year old daughter Leah was diagnosed with a rare haematological malignancy. We live in Ireland but we had to fly to Bristol in England for her treatment. We were there for 14 weeks. She was very homesick and she also had terrible side effects from her treatment.
    During our hardest month in Bristol, I used to lie in her bed beside her cuddling her while she cried and together we used to listen to “Oceans” by Hillsongs. The words brought us so much comfort.
    In January ’14 Leah left this earth peacefully to be with her Heavenly Father.


  205. posted on Jun 16, 2015 at 8:25 PM  |  reply

    […] I am still toying with. Do I sing along with “Oceans” when my church band plays it (see Stop Singing “Oceans“)? Can I actually make my yoga practice a time to communicate with God? I would like to think […]

  206. posted on Jun 30, 2015 at 10:54 AM  |  reply

    […] I recall that the article was pertaining to Hillsong’s “Oceans”. (Read it here: Stop Singing Oceans). In the song, the bridge […]

  207. posted on Jul 29, 2015 at 7:04 AM  |  reply

    […] a dangerous prayer. In the best of ways, but if you pray it, you gotta mean it. The lovely Annie Downs wrote a blog about just that last year. You definitely should read […]

  208. posted on Aug 01, 2015 at 6:42 AM  |  reply

    […] read a blog post recently titled Stop Singing Oceans and the author talks about how we shouldn’t sing the song unless we believe it.  I’m […]

  209. posted on Aug 19, 2015 at 6:40 AM  |  reply

    […] too long ago, I read a post by Annie Downs on why we needed to stop singing Oceans. And I have to say that I agree. Not because I don’t love the song (Because it moves me to […]

  210. Faith R
    posted on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:39 PM  |  reply

    I have to say I agree with what I feel is the heart of the post – we have GOT to stop praising God with our mouth only, we have got to let the praise of Sunday morning bleed into our Monday through Saturday. I felt this way singing Kari Jobe’s song – ugh, (I think it’s from Revelation Song) but the words are “you are my everything and I will adore you” and I thought “would anyone know that I believe this by just looking at my Monday through Sarurday life? Would it be obvious and evident?
    I also have to say that for me, as I walked out into the deep places with God, I felt the tide go out and found myself slogging through the mud. I don’t know what that means, but that was my experience. It was definitely a non-cinematic but sometimes the context of our obedience is kinda mundane.

  211. Clayton G
    posted on Sep 04, 2015 at 3:34 AM  |  reply

    Faith – I agree with what you are saying with regards to the heart of the post. However – the title says “Stop singing Oceans”. This title is not a question. It is an order. Now, I do not know if perhaps it is to get people talking. That has worked.

    But I disagree.

    There are millions of songs that are us pleading with God in our worship to be better spiritually, for the will of God. Oceans, is just one of them.

    “I love you Lord with all of my heart..”, or “take all of me” or “I surrender”. The true fact is that we do not so this 99% of the time. It is a plee. David pleaded with God in many of his Psalms. It is a part of worship, it is personal and corporate.

    If people feel convicted when singing these songs sometimes, then good. That is the Holy Spirit at work. It doesn’t happen every single time you sing the song.

    To say not to sing this song because of borders just does not make any sense.

    Psalm 138: First line: “I will praise thee with all of my heart”
    Psalm 5:8: Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make your way straight before me.

    Oceans is about singing to God asking Him to lead us to where He wants us. God most certainly does not have any borders. So, if we are asking to trust in Him in leading us, then be ready to go through these borders.

    I just want to be clear. Faith – this wasn’t against you at all. It is just that if we take what Annie has said, then we are missing a huge part of praise and worship.

    Worship “should” be 7 days a week, 12 months a year. But because of our natural twist towards sin, we cannot do this. Our strength is totally weak. We rely on God’s strength from Monday – Sunday. Thank God for His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. #graceisgood

  212. posted on Sep 12, 2015 at 9:27 AM  |  reply

    […] few months ago, or even a year ago, there was a blog article called Stop Singing Oceans.  I’m not so sure that I agreed with the author of that post…there are times that we […]

  213. Nelson
    posted on Sep 17, 2015 at 4:16 AM  |  reply

    There’s no need to stop singing oceans it’s a Holy Spirit led song I know the singer,band, etc. my daughter was called to ministry when Hillsong in Montclair NJ opened and she’s been at Hillsong college in Australia for 4 months now and I probably will not see her for 3 years. Have you ever seen a Hillsong concert or a church service.

  214. posted on Oct 12, 2015 at 10:37 PM  |  reply

    Nice post. This is the kind of post I do regularly on my blog.

  215. Beau Sizemore
    posted on Oct 14, 2015 at 2:10 PM  |  reply

    The song is a prayer not a call to action. We still have a sin nature. We still have deep, crippling fears. We still have doubts and unbelief. The prayer is that God would overcome those, and give us the joy of such unrestrained faith – to make on Earth as it is in Heaven.

    Here’s the thing. That isn’t going to happen in this lifetime. No one will live a perfectly obedient, perfectly sin free, perfectly fearless, perfectly joyful life. That is what awaits in eternity.

    In this very present, burdensome world, we will have troubles, and we will fail. That doesn’t mean we stop praying for audacious faith like that mentioned in the song even if we will ultimately fall short of it.

  216. Son of Christ Jesus
    posted on Oct 28, 2015 at 10:04 AM  |  reply

    Romans10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  217. Glenn
    posted on Nov 10, 2015 at 2:49 AM  |  reply

    I haven’t read through all the many comments on here but I’m assuming some of them say the same as I’m about to…I can see a glimmer of purpose here (the idea that we should focus more on the words we sing in church) but this whole article is surely a misdirected over-reaction.

    Two reasons:

    1) We are not committing to the words we sing…but this article suggests that rather than rise to meet the words we simply stop singing them and stick with our semi-commitment.

    2) This same logic could be applied to a majority of worship songs, I’m not sure why Oceans has been singled out. I wonder if you would have told David to not write Psalm 23 because people won’t actually ‘fear no evil’…

  218. kendra
    posted on Nov 30, 2015 at 10:59 AM  |  reply

    this article is not saying that if you don’t live up to this expectations then NEVER sing this song ever. I interpret this article like think about what your singing when you sing oceans. if you don’t do anything in this song then try… its saying mean what you sing and don’t pretend to be who your not.

  219. posted on Dec 12, 2015 at 12:10 PM  |  reply

    I think the author means well by this article. We *should* think about what we’re singing, especially with lyrics as meaningful as this. Is she really not saying there are no circumstances under which we shouldn’t be singing the song? “If you are only singing the song and not living the life, stop singing Oceans.” What about not singing about how much we love the Lord when we’re not “living the life” in terms of loving the brothers, loving the “least of these”, remembering those who are imprisoned, and giving honor to the least presentable members? And who among us is living the life and walking the walk well enough to rightly sing of his love and his willingness to be led of the Spirit?

  220. Amelia Lockwood
    posted on Dec 20, 2015 at 10:06 PM  |  reply

    This article has it all wrong! These lyrics are up for interpretation of course, but what I’ve gathered from this song is only positive things. In the bridge “spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.
    Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and ny faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my savior”
    My translation of these words is this:
    God, guide me to trust you unconditionally(without borders)
    Help me to live like Jesus wherever you call me to be. (Walk upon the waters wherever you call me)
    Take me further than I could go on my own(where my feet could ever wander), and strengthen my faith in the presence of you.
    Yes, we are all called to have borders in life. We are not Gods. But we should not have borders when it comes to trusting God. We should have unlimited trust in his judgement, because he is our God, THE God!

  221. posted on Dec 30, 2015 at 10:55 AM  |  reply

    I stumbled upon your posts in a search for “reverent worship songs”. I love “Oceans” for the very reasons you say not to sing it. God has had His thumb upon me, and though I end up stripped of all the worldly/fleshly, seemingly-secure things I put my security in, I find that my most peaceful, content state is when I’m at the bottom of a dark abyss… thinking I’m alone, but find that Jesus is right there with me, and suddenly just when I thought I’ve nothing, I have everything I could want.

    Yes, Lord, take me where my feet would never wander, to where my heart, soul, and mind will learn to trust without my self-imposed borders. I sing that song with tears of joy welling up knowing that He’ll gladly answer that prayer, thankful that I am even willing to go there (you’re right- my flesh would never desire such!).

  222. Jana
    posted on Jan 03, 2016 at 4:36 PM  |  reply

    So we should stay comfortable where we are and not ask or acknowledge for the Lord to take us deeper and lead us farther? If we can’t sing worship songs we may not always live up to then we better stop singing any at all or reading the holy, perfect word of God since we are all flawed and fall short. Going where our trusts is without borders will look different for each of us and we may miss the mark a time or two hundred, but stop singing Oceans because of it????

  223. Beth Thompson
    posted on Jan 03, 2016 at 7:11 PM  |  reply

    I agree that if you are not willing to live the words of the song and put your faith into action, then you should definitely stop singing this song. But if you feel that strongly convicted that you should not be singing this song then God is probably trying to tell you something. Faith is something that we need to excersize regularly, and if we do not, we lose it. If you feel convicted that you are not living the way God wants you to, He probably has something great in store that if you would change how you are living to live the way He wants you to, you would receive. Next time you feel a conviction of any kind, get on your knees and pray harder than ever before, ask God what He wants you to do, and do it. You never know what great things could happen unless you trust God to bring you through. Comfort is NOT what God uses. He uses discomfort and trials to do His work.

    • posted on Jan 04, 2016 at 10:43 AM  |  reply

      “Comfort is NOT what God uses. He uses discomfort and trials to do His work.” ~Jana

      Wholeheartedly agree, from personal experience and you see it throughout scripture. Good post, Jana.

  224. April
    posted on Jan 10, 2016 at 12:13 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I feel you. I’ve thought about your very concerns singing the song at church. However, I also realized that this song is not for the wimpy Christian. It’s for the one who has a deep relationship with Christ and ready to give everything. You’re right, we need to be aware of what we’re singing and promising to God in worship. That’s why I am aware of my spiritual level and simply do not sing songs like that if I know in my heart I’m not ready for them. People just need to be honest with God in worship. That’s all, it’s called maturity and self-awareness. The writer of the song could have been in that place where they were ready to give God they’re all, because they got a revelation of who Christ really is and it resonated with their spirit. Sing the song only if you are at that place. Otherwise just move, sway and worship God on your level. Pray and talk to Him until a song that actually worships Him is lead in lieu of a song of dedication and committment. Just know, God gets glory through our pit situations. He’s longing to show himself strong and mighty. That’s our call and purpose as servants of God.

  225. posted on Jan 13, 2016 at 12:03 PM  |  reply

    […] una canción para el canto congregacional. Annie F. Downs escribió en 2014 un blog titulado “Pare de cantar Océanos” resaltando lo terriblemente comprometedor que son las letras de la puente: “Que tu […]

  226. Stephen O'Riley
    posted on Jan 23, 2016 at 9:36 PM  |  reply

    there’s alot of performing and judging going on on this blog response wall… (and yes i realize that’s a judgement in itself) 3 things and then i’ll shut up here though… never use the phrase “most christians” or “most (insert people group name here)” ever! … it’s a typifying statement designed to suggest you know “most” people in any group and it’s also self idolatry because you are taking the place of God in a way by assuming you know the thought process or heart of a person or persons and that’s not for you to know… and wrong to ASSume. 2nd, the phrase “lead me where my trust is without borders” is about arriving at a place where we a completely relying on God …where we FULLY let Him be LORD in our lives (lookup the word Lord and what it means) trusting completely …meaning theres no limit or end (or border)to it… her point about handing all money to somebody would suggest she means we are letting go of all wisdom when we ask for endless trust… it means trusting God … not trusting humanity “fearing (being fully aware of His power and role) God is the beginning of understanding” … He also calls us to “be wise in all things” so that point is misplaced, 3rd) This point is much like the first … HOW CAN ANYONE PRESUME TO KNOW THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE? if you think somebody is insincere when they are worshiping…THAT is completely between that person and God. It’s not your business and does not have a lick to do with you or what you should be focussing on during worship. If you think we sing superbly deep and possibly dangerous words when we sing a worship song (hopefully all worship songs) YOU ARE CORRECT and that we ought to mean and know what we are singing…also correct… but it is He who sits on the throne of heaven who is the judge of the hearts of humanity….nobody else! 4th(not 3 i know ;-P) Can a song lose it’s flavor and sometimes and it’s meaning by being over-played or sang too often ? absolutely … but this song is about intimacy with God, completely biblical, not to mention beautiful, even if you are sick of hearing it…it brings people into the presence of God in worship, which is the main goal of a worship service,regardless of the song… this song right now does it better than most… PLEASE KEEP PLAYING OCEANS as long as it’s engaging and true (and it’ll always be true) … everything else is concentrating on minutia and i’ll pray that intellectualism doesn’t continue to block what God is trying to say to you about his longing for you to intimately know Him(which cannot happen without trust in all circumstances)

  227. Peter
    posted on Jan 25, 2016 at 2:01 AM  |  reply

    hi Annie, have you ever for one thought that Christians are operating in God’s perfect will. If you feel so, then your feelings are not right.
    The song says spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, that’s where I wanna be, where I trust in God no matter the extreme. The bible also says to him that believes all things are possible, that where God wants us to be, where all things are possible. So I see no reason why I should not come to a level where must trust in God is without borders. It simply means that my trust in God will have no limits, I hunger to live in that realm and I believe that’s where all Christians want to be. Sing the song if you are on that level or if you wanna be there, sing the song with revelation.

  228. Sean
    posted on Jan 26, 2016 at 8:28 PM  |  reply

    I understand what you are trying to say, and I see where you are coming from, however, I would like to say this: God speaks to us in His own way.. and sometimes, what you take from a song is not what someone else does… I was without God, and in spiritual loss for years.. and one day I heard this song and it helped my journey back to the Lord, to me, what I heard was that God was beyond my understanding, and he was beyond what I Trusted at the time, which was a meaningless faith in myself, a misbegotten faith that almost led to my suicide. This song reminded me that while the flawed faith of my limited understanding was keeping me from seeing God’s grace in my life, it was still there, and I had to trust beyond my limited understanding of God’s plan for me.. I won’t be overly dramatic and say this song saved my life, but it was close. There is so much out there we have to fight against, and prevail against, let us not waste time picking apart God’s message for us all, especially since it is so subjective.
    Love in Christ,

  229. ManByWall
    posted on Feb 19, 2016 at 12:02 PM  |  reply

    As a worship pastor, I understand the premise behind your argument. As I am convicted of similar thoughts when I arrange and lead worship sets. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from singing the song though. Your entire argument is what makes the act of the trinity so Beautiful. He calls us out, like he did peter. Where was peter spiritually. He denied Christ three times. God uses simple fishermen to lowly everyday people to spread his gospel. His call was not, come and follow me, when you get our life together and are ready to never make a mistake again. We wouldn’t need grace. We wouldn’t cling to Him every second of every day. The power of the Holy Spirit, is beyond anything you and I can comprehend. Maybe the singer doesn’t completely understand the entirety of the words they are singing, but the seed has been planted once these words enter into their thoughts, and heats, the Holy spirit takes control. Some will instantaneously surrender, but for some will take time. But thats Gods will. It’s His design and course for that persons life and spiritual journey of maturing in Him.
    Don’t ask them to stop singing…
    I would instead encourage you to pray for those who aren’t there yet, and surrender that to God, as frustrating as it may be from the outside looking in. Praise God, that they do believe, and have surrendered their life to Him, even if it’s not completely, there is always molding and sculpting that needs to be done in all of us. God is our Sculptor and we won’t be completely finished and reveled pieces until we get to Heaven.
    God Bless you and your ministry.

  230. steve
    posted on Feb 22, 2016 at 12:09 PM  |  reply

    I believe there’s nothing u could do that could make God love u less. There’s nothing u could do that could make God love u more. U should draw ur identity from intimacy with the father, knowing u are a son or a daughter. We are called to serve. But dont let condemnation hold u for the things u cannot do perfectly. There is grace. Stay close to the Father. Receive his presence. Be encouraged though u may have failed. There is no fear of rejection and mistake in love. Sure, mistakes happen. But let your heart and mind be driven from love, towards love. Think the best in people. Pray the best in people. Lift people up. And also teach them about perseverance. Bless u.

  231. posted on Mar 11, 2016 at 8:39 AM  |  reply

    I’d heard this song half a dozen times and was like “Meh!” Then I heard Caroline and Matthew Barnett speak and was challenged by Caroline’s book “Willing to Walk on Water.” While listening to youtube a few days I heard Oceans and thought to myself “I don’t get the big deal about this song, I must listen to it again.” And I did. And Holy Spirit spoke through it-through groans and tears that only He understands! Days later I received a call that has brought me on a journey that I never thought would ever happen. A secret desire of my heart that was unique to me and the path that God had been leading me that I didn’t even realize at the time. It wasn’t to sell my house, or to move to Los Angeles and work at the Dream Center, but it was where the Spirit has lead me. We are not all called to be missionaries. Paul, Peter, and the other disciples were missionaries and they stayed with regular people, church people who were longing to know and serve Jesus right where they were.

  232. Devorah
    posted on Mar 20, 2016 at 8:59 PM  |  reply

    OH I’m so glad I tripped across this post after almost 2 years after seeing it the first time shared by one of my FB friends….
    Never…EVER….EvEr!!! will I stop singing this song….Frankly, I’m a mess…I didn’t grow up knowing how to listen to God, how to discipline myself into an obedience to his voice…It’s been rough, but my heart cries out for this, I’m hungry for this!! Thankfully I’m beyond the disillusionment of thinking that to follow Christ is a bed of roses. I recognize that it’s going to be scary and uncomfortable. So do I want this? well….my head says you’re crazy…my heart says I’m really tired of living by this world’s standard. OF COURSE I want this!!! I’m crazy in love sold out to Him and I may not know what it looks like to go beyond my borders exactly yet, but one day I will look back and see where I took those steps in faith, and I will remember this song cheered me on and encouraged me. I will never stop singing this song, it’s my hearts cry! I have counted the cost, and He’s worth it 🙂

    posted on Apr 03, 2016 at 5:49 PM  |  reply

    I was rather surprised and grieved to hear someone say “Stop singing ‘Oceans’. Perhaps it would have been better just to challenge people to think about what they’re singing, which is what we should always be doing! There are many churches and believers singing ‘Oceans’, and doing it, or at least making this song a prayer to God. Prayer is asking God to help us. There are many anointed songs that are beyond many peoples present reality and experience which have been created to encourage, challenge and move people forward in their faith, love and service for God and His Kingdom. Many songs have been birthed out of a deeper experience with God that will inspire, motivate and convict others to seek a deeper, more fruitful relationship with God. My prayer is that you will see the many prayers in songs like ‘Oceans’ and not “take away the keys and hinder others from entering in”. Respectfully another bond servant in the Lord.

    • Devorah
      posted on Apr 04, 2016 at 10:36 AM  |  reply

      Yes yes yes!!! Well said’

  234. Brian
    posted on Apr 08, 2016 at 8:18 AM  |  reply

    I hope I do not come across as overlycritical or without grace for the author. ..

    However. This article makes no sense for the Christian.

    The Christian is saved and indeed should live by grace through faith alone… not by works.

    Could you imagine if this principle were applied to everything we spoke about or sang about whenever we met to encourage one another and worship our King?

    “sorry, only those who have obeyed every inclination of the Holy Spirit in their lives this week to think, act, and feel as Jesus would are allowed within the church…or home fellowship or the bible study…etc.”

    You dont get to even ASK God to lead you deeper this week. You have to prove you have gone deeper before you can ask. ???HUH???

    Isn’t that like getting converted before you get converted? Washing before you wash?

    Did David fulfill all his requests for God’s leading in his life?

    Did Paul?

    Did any Biblical figure other than Christ himself?

    Seems to me that as we are asking we are also asking GOD to get us to the place (internally) where we DO obey His direction.

    So, please….do NOT stop singing Oceans….even if you aren’t perfect yet….
    And If you are like me…that you have stopped singing it just because you have sung it soo many times….well…. DO not stop singing songs that call you to somewhere deeper that you are right now.

    “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

    Anyone there yet? No? I didn’t think so…
    One day…if you are in Christ…You WILL be like Him….but until that day

    KEEP SINGING! Keep reading!, Keep encouraging! Keep asking! keep Surrendering! Keep depending! Keep Loving! KEEP TRYING!
    Keep dying to self and living to GOD.

  235. LittleB
    posted on Apr 30, 2016 at 1:05 AM  |  reply

    Hello there,
    I want to tell you that I completely and wholeheartedly disagree. And here’s why: I have recently started delving into Christianity and what that means for me and my life. I decided maybe I should start listening to some Christian music, to help it all feel less scary. Guess why the very first song on Pandora was? This song you’re condemning. For me, I felt like it was the first real sign from God that I was going in the right direction, taking that great leap of faith.
    I felt like He had directly placed those specific lyrics you quoted on my heart FOR ME, that he would lead me where my trust was without borders, but that my newfound faith would make me stronger. And it has. And I cry every single time I hear it, because I know I have to be pushed outside my comfort zone to help me discover Christianity. (I was raised atheist, punished for attending churches.)
    So yes, I do know exactly what I am begging and pleading from Jesus every time I sing this song. I am praying he will indeed take me deeper than I have ever wanted to wander, so that I may know Him.

  236. Rachel Brooke
    posted on May 04, 2016 at 7:46 AM  |  reply

    I do listen when God nudges me to do something. I’ve that homeless man my last $20 because God told me to or buy that person coffee or take groceries to a single mom. I want God to use me however he sees fit, even if it make me uncomfortable. That’s my goal to be uncomfortable so that other can see Him in me. I will never stop listening or singing this song or reaching for the border

  237. posted on May 05, 2016 at 11:48 AM  |  reply

    I think this is just over-thinking 🙂

    Trust him without borders=trust him completely. That’s it.

    Admittedly, we are imperfect in following or even trusting Him. Not even the most sincere Christian really can, intentionally or unintentionally. But that won’t stop me from singing Oceans, going to church, or trying to do better in Jesus’ name.

    It’s like saying, “if you’re sinful, don’t go to church”. That mindset is sadly the mindset most people I know hold on to this day. The hospital is for the sick, not the healthy. The church is for those who want to get well, not the perfectly well or for those who think they don’t need to get well.

    CS Lewis said, “Faith… is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods.” Once we accept Christ, nothing can take us away from him, since he chose us to become his children, despite of our inconsistency. He always loved unconditionally.

    • posted on May 05, 2016 at 11:56 AM  |  reply

      *in spite of our inconsistency.*

  238. Billy
    posted on May 05, 2016 at 5:20 PM  |  reply

    Smart. I applaud the sarcasm. 🙂

  239. sound doctrine
    posted on May 14, 2016 at 7:44 AM  |  reply

    the problem I have with this doctrine less song is which spirt is the song talking about? could be anything unfortunately hillsong are dubious on various levels

  240. George
    posted on May 17, 2016 at 3:07 AM  |  reply

    Sorry, but I think you’re over-interpreting the lyrics here.

    There’s nothing wrong with asking the Spirit to take you deeper into dangerous thinks, it’s basically asking the powerful Holy Spirit to strengthen your footsteps on that dark road!

    And then when it says: ” take me deeper than my feet could ever wander AND my faith will be made stronger…” It’s not “that” but “and”, it makes a huge difference in the context of that sentence, if it’s “that” then it would mean: my faith is only made stronger when you (Spirit) take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. But if it’s “and”, it means: my faith will be made stronger after I go deeper than my feet could ever wander, it’s not the only way to make my faith stronger…

    ‘Oceans’ isn’t a song asking God to take you to horrible places, but asking Him to guide your footsteps and rid you off any doubt when on risky journey/event/situation…etc in life! Once you properly walk upon the waters, you become more like Jesus, having no doubt in the power of God’s guidance or else you’ll sink and drown.

    Lastly, I love the songs lyrics, but I believe the way it’s being sung is misleading! We as Christians should be completely transformed from this world, the Spirit teaches us how to perform (a performance that’s really away and different from this Earth as we belong to the kingdom of heaven). Sadly, Christian singers these days are mimicking the world’s lifestyle, including the way they sing songs which’s terrible! What I’m saying is, instead of singing it in a spiritual (calm, gentle, eloquent, mature…) there was kind of screaming near the end of the song along with loud sort of heavy metal music going on! Christians aren’t known my that, we are characterized by our divine change, spirituality, and biblical discipline.

    That doesn’t only goes to this specific song but the majority of today’s Christian song, they sound like the world, unfortunately the singers have no idea what they’re doing, perhaps they’re being blinded by their greed (fame, fortune, position) that they lost their true identity in Christ or the purpose of their mission ( if they were Christians in the first place).

    We need to pray for that. God bless.

  241. posted on May 19, 2016 at 7:09 AM  |  reply

    […] reminded me of this blog that went ‘viral’ a few years ago. If you’re not down to read it or […]

  242. posted on Aug 17, 2016 at 5:58 PM  |  reply

    […] One of my favorite Christian authors is Annie F. Downs and she wrote a blog post called “Stop Singing Oceans.” If you want to read the entire article here is a link, it’s pretty great: Stop Singing Oceans […]

  243. posted on Aug 29, 2016 at 8:15 PM  |  reply

    […] “Oceans” by Hillsong United.  At some point during that period of my life, I read a blogpost about how we shouldn’t really love the song or sing  the lyrics unless we really mean them […]

  244. Mij
    posted on Sep 09, 2016 at 9:46 PM  |  reply

    First of all the song is talking about your Faith. The Holy Spirit knows us better than we do. He knows what we’re capable of, He knows our heart, He knows when the time is right to call us to the places that we, our voices sing and request in our hearts. If we trust and have Faith, then we shouldn’t have to worry about any of that. The Bible says do not fear over and over again because He is with us 24/7, He already knows the path of our life. If you are intended to experience any of your above points then there is no stopping it regardless of our Human nature to somtimes doubt and fear. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding and He will guide your path. Trust Him, Have Faith and know that He will never leave you or forsake you. He will send you where you are called to be at ANY given time. Sing your heart out sweet brothers and sisters and Trust Him with your life wherever He sends you and whatever situation you may be in.

  245. posted on Sep 14, 2016 at 4:49 AM  |  reply

    Uhm… Annie, I don’t think you get what the song means. Maybe you are reading too much into it. Which is why is very good to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in these things before posting this online because you don’t want to be the one that the prophecy gets fulfilled by directing Christians to a wrong path according to what our Lord Jesus said.

    From what I got from the song especially the part you are referring “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” is that the writer is saying, lead me to a place where I have no borders of trust in You. Holy Spirit lead me to a place where I have no borders in trusting you. Not the world. Remember the bible says “cursed is the man who trust in a man”. So I don’t think this was written in a manner of trusting other people or the world.

    But in grace and peace I understand you were warning in us from a good place. But let’s not tarnish others publicly for zeal without knowledge is not good my sister.

    I pray you find this in good peace and in love.

    God bless you.

  246. Beverly Posavad
    posted on Sep 28, 2016 at 10:38 AM  |  reply

    OK, I didn’t read through all of the two hundred seventy eight thousand comments made here. Maybe this has already been said:

    I don’t particularly care for the song. Yes, it is a great song, but it is WAY overplayed. Therefore I tend to change the station when I hear it come on the radio and, as a Worship Leader I have not incorporated it in any services yet. That is a choice based entirely on my own personal preference.

    BUT… If we were to think that way about every song I feel we may have to remove singing from our worship entirely. There are so many songs that we “pray” (as it were) for God to move in our lives and break us of our worldly comforts. And then when it comes down to it, we forget those lyrics when those comforts are around us. Hillsong did another song some years ago called Believe. The first lyrics of the song are “I said on Sunday how much I want revival, then on Monday I can’t even find my Bible” Having sung that song in church, I watched as people raised their hands and “prayed” to change and then saw the same people on a daily basis, still living their worldly lives. The reason we pray is because we have faith that we will break to God’s will (however eventual it may occur). If you are motivated to move to God’s will, yet your faith is still lacking to DO God’s will then by all means keep praying until He finally brings you over that border.

  247. Sarah
    posted on Mar 02, 2017 at 3:30 AM  |  reply

    It’s not about the waves or the borders or the uncomfortable nature of what He might ask you to do.

    It is about the one who’s asking.

    When Jesus through the Holy Spirit leads us to take a step that might scare us we remember that He is love and wants our best and their best. If it scared you remember who is asking and He won’t unlove you for being too scared to do it

  248. posted on Apr 02, 2017 at 5:50 AM  |  reply

    […] be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” A year or so ago I read a post from Annie F. Downs about why we should stop singing Oceans. Annie reminds us that when we sing this bridge, we are asking the Holy Spirit to lead us to a place […]

  249. Belle
    posted on Apr 11, 2017 at 1:34 AM  |  reply

    We are being changed from glory to glory. We may not be able to do it right at first, but we have a lifetime to try and give our best to do what God wants us to do, who God wants us to be. Yes, we may sing this on a Sunday, then fail to do it the next day, or the day afterwards… But that does not mean that we can’t. That’s why we are singing it… So that we can declare it in our lives. Faith is an incorruptible seed that’s being planted in our hearts and it grows by hearing and hearing the Word of God… By Praying and doing daily devotion or spending time with Him. We’re humans. It’s in our nature to fail and to make mistakes and do the opposite things that God says. That’s why if you remove ‘CHRIST’ from the word Christian… IAN will be left… and it mean I Am Nothing. We really cannot do what the song says without Christ. We’re not perfect. We can only give our maximum best, repent (change our mindsets), and try again until the end. God sees our efforts and our sincerity.

    You are the prophet of your own life- if you really say that you can’t, then so be it. But if you declare and believe that you can, then God will give you the strength to do what the song says 🙂

  250. Susan K Schmid
    posted on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:20 PM  |  reply

    I totally understand what you’re saying! Years ago, we sang a song at my church that had the phrase: make us and break us as bread to the nations, willing servants, Lord, are we. A few years of singing that song led to 2 families & 3 singles (13 of us in all) packing up everything and moving to southern Russia for several years to share the gospel and start a church. Folks better be careful of what they sing! God will take them up on it!

  251. Adrian
    posted on May 02, 2017 at 12:51 PM  |  reply

    Or maybe – JUST MAYBE – the beauty and the power of music (yes, even Christian worship music) is that it can mean something different for anyone and everyone. MAYBE this song calms an anxious soul, MAYBE this song doesn’t compel them to give money to the homeless or offer a helping hand, because at the moment they’re listening to it, they are lost and broken and have nothing else to give because they don’t have the actual mental and physical strength and THIS song, particularly the lyrics you say should no longer be sung, helps them feel like they aren’t alone. Helps them feel like they don’t have to carry their burdens alone. It could mean so many things for so many people. You and no one else has the right to say it shouldn’t be sung in any form of worship service. If a song is performed in a religious setting and evokes an emotional response, be that response more love for their God, the urge to do more work that would please their God, or even something as simply as offering them a glimpse of hope when they are so pulled down by the darkness inside of them, then a good work has been done. It should be performed because it has meaning. You may not understand the meaning it has for some, and how you feel about it might not match with theirs. But it should be performed. This song means so much to so many people. And you don’t get to take that away from them.

  252. JoVena Johnson
    posted on Sep 14, 2017 at 2:51 PM  |  reply

    But the thing is, if you keep saying (or sing) something, if will happen. Remember, we hold the power of death and life in our tongue. God doesn’t want us to be “comfortable”. The gospel doesn’t spread by people who live comfortably. To show kindness to a stranger might be uncomfortable to do (especially if you’re an introvert, like myself.) But I’ve faced my fears and volunteer in a place where I’m forced to interact with strangers constantly. It makes me extremely uncomfortable, but what I do makes the people I’m serving happy. Do you think Queen Esther was comfortable when she went before the king? Heck, Jesus wasn’t comfortable with the fact that He would have to die on the cross, an extremely terrible (and probably the worse way, at the time) to die.
    I could go on with examples, but I think I made my point.
    I’ll end with this, God will never ask you to do something unless He knows you would be able to do it. So, if you feel the Holy Spirit telling you to buy the hobo a coffee, do it. God knows all and by you showing that hobo love, you just might bring that dude to the Lord or, at least, plant a seed in him that would be watered by someone else, later.
    I say, keep singing Oceans. Jesus didn’t come for the perfect, He came for everyone. You might not feel comfortable with doing the things you listed in your original post, but if you keep singing it and believe you will one day be able to go to where your trust has no boarders, you will.

  253. Cherie
    posted on Apr 14, 2018 at 11:36 PM  |  reply

    The part in the song where it says , ” Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…” is great lyrics. As one who has dealt with panic attacks and anxiety, those words are perfect. Truth is, we can allow fear or anxiety to create ” borders”. Agoraphobia is an example of this, where people start avoiding places or situations that stir up anxiety. People start avoiding only some areas like public transportation, and busy shopping places… and this could easily start a pattern of avoiding even more places, making your circle smaller and smaller. It is in facing those situations over and over again that we habituate. God is faithful but we cannot see him and that is why it can be harder to step out of the comfort zone.

    Asking the Lord to lead you where your trust is without borders is a bold prayer. The situation we can face with this is would we rather be comfortable or bold, not letting anything hold us back from where God would have us go? Sometimes we may be bold and other times settle for comfort zone. But Jesus is the leader. He is the good shepherd that goes before, is behind and is beside those who have trusted him as their savior.

  254. Paul
    posted on Apr 18, 2018 at 3:22 AM  |  reply

    “Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Christians are called to live this kind of life. Many of us have already read this verse in the Bible, but it seems that this passage in the Bible is given less importance. While the world is busy living their lives for themselves, “Christians” are also doing the same! “Christians” only care about their comfort and to feel good, not wanting to trust God because it is “unknown and scary and uncomfortable.” No wonder the world does not see the light that they need to see in the lives of the people who calls themselves “Christians”. Instead of going with the flow of the world, Christians should live the reverse, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it” (Luke 9:24). People are busy making themselves rich, “storing up treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). Christians should not be concerned first and foremost about earthly needs and treasures, because God promised to give all the things that we need if we seek His kingdom and His righteousness first (Matthew 6:33). We should do it His way, and live the way He wants us to, not putting our comfort, needs, wants and happiness first, for “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36) Time to wake up! Shalom! 🙂

  255. Abigail
    posted on Apr 24, 2018 at 9:46 PM  |  reply

    I think instead of stopping, we should just ‘pause’ in singing this. We can start to sing this again as we work out our commitment and faith in God more. Isn’t it beautiful to fulfill and do exactly what we sing?

    If Jesus could sing this song, there won’t be any dispute because he walked the talk.
    And since we are to follow who He is, I would love to hear people sing Oceans truly.

    This is an eye-opening post. — Challenging and daring to be more real with our relationship with God.

    God bless!

  256. Amber Wallace
    posted on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:50 PM  |  reply

    My problem with the song is that most praise and worship songs today leave out The Name of God or Lord. It says spirit lead me …guess what there are all kinds of spirits or a spirit of something, so this spirit does not say clearly that it is The Holy Spirit. It may be implied, but it is not stated and you are addressing any spirits listening. I will end with this scripture: LOOK it up Yourself!!!
    1 John 4 English Standard Version (ESV)
    Test the Spirits
    4 “Beloved, DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY SPIRIT, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

  257. Mike
    posted on Nov 07, 2018 at 8:42 PM  |  reply

    Thank you for your post. I thought the same as you when I was first introduced to this song, that if felt very hokey, over-melodic, and without much scriptural substance. But as I read over the song again and again I believe it has more substance than many of us put on.
    If your argument is that we should stop singing this song because its implications and our heart posture is not inline, then by that assumption we should stop reading the Bible too because as Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14:26; Mt. 10:37).
    And if we’re not willing to do that then we should rethink reading the Bible before picking it up again.

    I appreciate what your concern is, that we don’t sing songs for the sake of the melody or how it makes us feel at the moment, but we must remember that just as it may take 1 month or 1 year or 10 years of reading the Bible for the Holy Spirit to provoke us, we don’t know how God will use certain songs to finally provoke our hearts awake to the idolatrous life we were living. Hopefully the Church also plays a crucial role of expounding the song just as the pastor exegetes a passage for preaching.


    posted on Nov 22, 2018 at 12:02 PM  |  reply

    Just change the title of the article to “Just stop singing Oceans” or “Stop just singing Oceans”, and your good to go 🙂

  259. Deb
    posted on Dec 05, 2018 at 1:42 PM  |  reply

    Why would we stop singing a song just because you think we don’t understand what it means?

  260. Carlton James
    posted on Dec 05, 2018 at 6:04 PM  |  reply

    This is the silliest thing I’ve heard a Christian say in YEARS. Like Deena said, isn’t that what Christians are supposed to do. Maybe you need to pray for boldness. Confession is made unto salvation, so in asking The Lord to move us past our borders takes us out of ourselves and into His perfect will. This article is full of defeatist attitude and a contrary spirit that makes people shrink back into the back pew and keep quiet. You should take it down. SMH

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