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"Total Praise" by Richard Smallwood


Rachel Pfuetzner/Unsplash

From Sam Cho:


Out of the countless hours that I have spent learning gospel music, the one song that has remained a consistent part of my daily liturgy is “Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood. In my initial impression of the song, I was intrigued by the mix of classical and gospel music. Because of my lack of knowledge of the history of music in the West, this was quite a surprise. I spent many sleepless nights transcribing the music onto my guitar, and when I was finally able to play it, I was ecstatic. Not only were the lyrics powerful, but the direction and motion of the chord progression felt like they were a reflection of the message of the lyrics. In a recent conversation with my friends, I realized that this song is my favorite worship song.


However, mentioning only my own experience of this song would be a disservice. This song was released in 1996 on the album Adoration by Richard Smallwood. In subsequent interviews, he reveals that this song came out a dark portion of his life. Furthermore, Smallwood would continue to suffer from clinical depression. For Smallwood, earthly suffering does not inhibit the praise of God rather it is the place in which the Christian finds that praise is the proper response of the Christian. 


Verse

Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills

Knowing my help is coming from You

Your peace, You give me in time of the storm


Chorus

You are the source of my strength

You are the strength of my life

I lift my hands in total praise to you

You are the source of my strength

You are the strength of my life

I lift my hands in total praise to you


Bridge

Amen, Amen (Amen)

Amen, Amen (Amen)

Amen, Amen (Amen)

Amen, Amen (Amen)