Art & Vulnerability

I’m amazed at how vulnerable I feel as an artist when I create something that others are meant to experience.

I wrote a quick song last night, very roughly/poorly recorded, and swallowed hard as I played it for some friends who came by my office today. They loved the feel of it, but I still felt like a little kid approaching that moment when you look to see if they’re being nice or being honest.

Even at 40, though known primarily as a worship-related writer, my first love of writing thickly poetic songs is still hidden as I avoid exposure to others. Yet, those songs say what I want to say in the world more deeply than any pop-lyric.

The Church must feel like that, too, sometimes. Groans can only express the beauty we often taste in responding to God’s approach – like flowers bursting in myriad colors from a cold stone.

I think that deep down we don’t want to be laughed at, or be seen as attempting to be something we’re not. It’s the PoserFear.

The tenderness in that area of our hearts must be a gift, at the same time it feels as though it’s a curse.


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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