Phil Wickham is sharing how scripture brought him back into an intimate relationship with God after a season of what he calls 'lifestyle Christianity.'
During the worldwide pandemic, Wickham released a song called 'Battle Belongs' in late 2020. It resonated with a lot of people.
"It became such a fight song and a faith-building song for me," says Wickham in an interview with The Christian Post. "Almost immediately, I started … getting all these DMs and messages and emails from people saying, ‘This has given me words to my prayers. I didn't know what to pray when I was in the hospital bed, by the graveside, or when we lost our job, and we just prayed this song.’ And it was just moving."
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However, Wickham felt like he was simply going through the motions in his own life rather than living in a relationship with God at the time.
"As I was hearing people say, like, ‘I was going through this, but I just kept crying out to the Lord and it was great,’ I was just thinking, ‘Man, I'm the one singing the song … but is it really true for my life? Is this my go-to playbook when I hit a wall or face a metaphorical mountain?"
Hungry for more, Wickham started reading the Bible a lot more.
"I felt so — I don’t know if convicted is the right word — but just like, ‘Lord, I'm so sorry that I've missed out on the joy and in the beauty of it’ just because I haven't been cultivating in my heart this excitement to be in His presence, this real faith that He is listening and wants to do things. … My mind is less on, ‘What are the good things to pray?’ And more like, ‘I wait to ask God for things according to His will in the name of Jesus because He's going to do it if it's according to His will, in the power and name of Jesus, to His glory.’"
His eighth studio album, Hymn of Heaven had multiple songs that were deeply resonating with listeners. 'Battle Belongs' hit No. 1 and led five different Christian charts for many weeks, as did the next single 'House of the Lord.'
The title track 'Hymn of Heaven' just hit No. 1 at the end of August on Billboard's National Christian Audience chart, making it the third song on his album to have such an impact.
In the interview Wickham goes on to say that the pandemic created a time of shaking for him, and others in ministry, causing them to ask big questions.
"What are we really doing here? What's important? What do we need to strip away? What's the fluff? What's the stuff that lifts my ego up? What's the stuff that really helps, what's really Kingdom here?’ At least a lot of my friends, and myself, were asking those questions and didn't really even know we had to. But in an exciting way, we're saying, 'Life is short, it could change any minute. We just want Jesus, and we just want to be about the Kingdom stuff.'"
After spending a lot of time in conversation and prayer with God which reconnected his faith on an intimate level, Wickham put pen to paper.
On September 27, Wickham will release his first book, a 40-day devotional called On Our Knees: 40 Days to Living Boldly in Prayer.
"Writing this book helped me to remember [the power of prayer]," Wickham says. "I would hope that this book would help people to understand the beauty of it, the joy of it, the intimacy of it. That it's not this religious act, but it's this communal act with God. There's an urgency; the world needs for people to pray."