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The Best Keith Green Songs of All Time

By Hannah Goodwyn Producer

CBN.comUnashamed of his faith, Keith Green pounded on his piano and blasted the mic with his Good News songs for hungry masses. He's a legend in the Christian music industry who died too young in an airplane crash in 1982. Now, 30 years after his tragic death, Green's songs are still relevant today (The anniversary of the plane crash that claimed his life is this Saturday, July 28).

Each of Green's songs are jam-packed with a biblically sound message, ministering faith to seekers and a holy shove to Christians to do God's work. Growing up, my personal faith journey included a healthy dose of Keith Green. More than just entertaining my family as we sang along with the tape while driving around in our Volkswagen bus, Keith Green's songs built my faith.

Top 10 Keith Green Songs

Keith Green's legacy in music and the Christian community is astounding given his short time in ministry. He only had five years to share his message and music before his untimely death in '82. Within that time, Keith Green produced passionate songs that minister to souls even today.

These 10 songs, listed in no particular order, embody Green's passion for telling people about Christ, including a few that showcase his God-given talent at songwriting/composing, and others that speak directly to the heart.

1. "You Put This Love in My Heart"

For Him Who Has Ears to Hear (1977)

One of Keith most notable tunes, "You Put This Love in My Heart" extols God's grace and mercy towards us. It's a testimonial of how the Lord changed his heart. It teaches that even in moments of doubt, God can breakthrough.

Cause your love has released me
From all that's in my past
And I know I can believe you
When you say I'll never be forsaken
Your love is gonna last

>> Watch Keith Green sing "You Put This Love in My Heart" at the Jesus Festival in 1977

2. "When I Hear the Praises Start"

For Him Who Has Ears to Hear (1977)

The piano man pulled up to the keys and wrote this heart-melting song. It's a love song from the Lord to His children about the blessings and promises He wants fulfill in our lives.

For when I hear the praises start, my child,
I want to rain upon you,
Blessing that will fill your heart,
I see no stain upon you,
Because you are My child and you know me,
to me you're only holy,
Nothing that you've done remains,
only what you do in Me.

3. "Make My Life a Prayer to You"

No Compromise (1978)

"Make My Life a Prayer to You" was one of Keith Green's most moving songs of devotion to God. It's simplistic in word and sound, yet still profound in that it strips all religious baggage away to reveal a heart steadfastly faithful to sharing God with others.

I want to die, and let you give,
Your life to me, so I might live,
And share the hope you gave to me,
The love that set me free,
I want to tell the world out there,
You're not some fable or fairy tail,
That I made up inside my head,
You're God, The Son, you've risen from the dead.

4. "Dear John Letter (to the Devil)"

No Compromise (1978)

This song is Keith Green's letter of rejection to the Devil. Jazzing up the ivories, Keith belts out this tune in defiance against an enemy who tries to get him into "the ways of the world". You'll find yourself singing along and tapping your feet; it's a fun way to put the Devil in his place.

Oh my momma warned me, and how my daddy cried,
The day I left my home you said you'd always keep me satisfied,
But oh, how you lied, you lied.
Well I should have heard my momma's words,
But then I guess I had too much pride, original sin.

5. "Asleep in the Light"

No Compromise (1978)

It's a plea to the church to walk out from within its four walls and minister God's peace and truth to a dying world. We grieve all of heaven by not sharing with those who are unaware of God's goodness. This song especially encompasses the heart of Keith Green in that it encourages and chides you all at the same time. It's a loving slap across the face, not to condemn you, but to wake you up.

The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can't fight, cause it's asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you've been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can't even get out of bed.

6. "To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice"

No Compromise (1978)

Prophet Samuel asked this question, "What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice?" As recorded in I Samuel 15:22, the answer is what Keith Green sings in "To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice". God wants us to live obedient lives, not ones that offer Him superficial sacrifices.

To obey is better than sacrifice
I want more than Sundays and Wednesday nights.
Cause if you can't come to me everyday,
then don't bother coming at all.

7. "The Victor"

No Compromise (1978)

A perfect musical picture of Christ's resurrection, "The Victor" resonates deep within the soul, building faith in our risen King. With a powerful choir backing him, Keith Green declares the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death.

Just look, the gates of hell, they're falling,
Crumbling from the inside out,
He's bursting through the walls with laughter,
Listen to the Angels shout!
It is finished, He has done it,
Life conquer death, Jesus Christ, has won it!

>> Keith Green performs "The Victor" in Estes Park, CO, in '78

8. "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful"

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt (1980)

Still sung in churches across the globe, "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" is probably the most recognizable song Keith Green ever penned. Here's what Green said about the start of this classic:

"On Monday night of this week, at about midnight, I wrote a letter to the Lord. I didn't know where to mail it, so I put it in my Bible (laughs). And I asked him, 'Lord, you've gotta do something about my heart. You know, a lot of time's gone by since I met you. And it's startin' to harden up, you know. It's kind of natural. I wanna to have baby skin Lord. I wanna to have skin like a baby on my heart. It's starting to get old and wrinkled and callous.' It's not ‘cause of anything I'm doing. It's ‘cause of a lot of things I'm not doing. And I stayed up till about 2 in the morning writing this song…" (Keith Green, as recorded live on Oh, Lord, You're Beautiful: Songs of Worship)

Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me.
I want to take your word and shine it all around.
But first help me to just, live it Lord.
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.

9. "There is a Redeemer"

Songs for the Shepherd (1982)

In the same vein as "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful", "There is a Redeemer" is Keith Green's declaration of God's sacrifice for us and his thankfulness for the Lord's gift of mercy.

There is a redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One,
Jesus my redeemer, name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Oh, for sinners slain.

10. "The Lord is My Shepherd"

Songs for the Shepherd (1982)

David was the psalmist of note in the Bible. Keith Green was a true psalmist of our time. Straight from Psalm 23, this song captures the melody and passionate faith David and Keith had for the Shepherd.

Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup's overflowing
Surely goodness and lovingkindness
will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord,
for ever, and ever and ever.
The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn can't wait to meet Keith Green in heaven, and found it difficult to narrow down his greatest songs to this list of ten. So many more classics almost made the list.

She serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.

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featured keith green albums

Songs for the Shepherd by Keith GreenSongs for the Shepherd (1982)

So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt (1980)

No Compromise (1978)

For Him Who Has Ears to Hear (1977)


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