"When our songs (have mercy)" was orginally written after the Boxing Day tsunami, when it felt like there was nothing in our repertoire to sing in response. It brings God's heart for justice into our times of singing, and reminds us that a vital part of our worship is to reach out with compassion to those in need, to steward our resources generously and to pray for those less fortunate than us. It has been through a number of revisions, and this final version has proved really useful for using in times of intercession.

You can download the mp3 from this website and just play it in a service, or your worship band can play it live. You can get the lead sheet and chord chart from RESOUNDworship.org. I've regularly led this song with just an acoustic guitar, and left space after each chorus for people to bring their own prayers, whether silently or spoken out loud altogether. A typical example of how the song might be used is:

Verse 1 & Chorus
Pray for the whole world, conflict areas, world leaders etc
Verse 2 & Chorus
Pray for specific areas of suffering and need, both globally and locally
Verse 3 & Chorus
Pray for us, that we would be used by God to bring healing and peace
Optional final Chorus

When our songs of joyful celebration
are drowned out by the groans of those in need,
echoing creation,
that's waiting like a prisoner to be freed.
Father we cry out,
how long until the pain and suffering cease?
We pray that your kingdom
would fill this world with justice, love and peace.

Have mercy, Lord, on the earth you created;
have mercy, Lord, through us.
Father, change our hearts, take our hands, raise our voices;
may we demonstrate your love.

Still the lonely widow fights for justice
and orphans are exploited and oppressed.
Help us change our culture,
for we're not the only ones who should be blessed.
We must hear Jesus:
'When you show love to those who are in need,
and care for the captive,
it's just as though you do these things for me.'

Father, you have giv'n to us so freely,
now help us to be generous with our wealth.
All we have is yours, Lord -
how could we only use it for ourselves?
Give us compassion
for those who need the comfort we can bring,
the hungry and hopeless,
who wait for us to practise what we sing.

© Matt Osgood / RESOUNDworship.org, Administered by The Jubilate Group 4 Thorne Park Road, Torquay TQ2 6RX, UK copyrightmanager@jubilate.co.uk