Songs To Pray By

by Troy Bronsink

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What you’re holding is the fruit of a three year collaboration and friendship. As a pastor myself I’ve seen artists and pastors struggle to connect. But when City Church began and reached out to me to do music, their pastors and leaders wouldn’t settle for such a disconnect. They envisioned beauty ringing in harmony with devotion and peace-making. So we set out together to build Christian worship experiences that were authentic to the indie music and art, and lives of justice we all loved.

Then in the spring of 2012 we decided it was time to share these experiences through an album. City Church’s leadership put up the first half the budget and we were fortunate to raise the other half on kickstarter in just 29 days. Even though this is comprised of songs we sing week after week as a congregation it has been quite a project. A smaller band met weekly for three months tightening arrangements; then one March weekend a host of people put together the stage, lights, sound, beer table, you name it; we recorded both the dress rehearsal and show involving as many as 18 musicians—all live to tape; then spent a couple months in the studio editing, mixing, mastering and committing all manner of skullduggery with the textures culminating in what you now hold in your hands.

If there’s one thing we hope you get from this project it’s that prayer is not quartered into hours, lines, or measures. It is a way of being present, resonant with God’s presence all around us. And because of this, worship–be it as a church congregation, at a party, or as an individual with ear buds–oughta include songs. We hope you love listening to these songs, that you learn to play them and pray with them, and that they help communities pray together. But we also hope this kicks you in the butt to get out and create authentic art that you can pray by too!

I’d like to thank Scott Armstrong, Bryan Buck and the whole congregation of City Church. Thank you Kelley, Eve, and Wake; and all those partners and kids who encouraged (or bared with) all us artists putting in extra hours on this project. Thank you, Mike Sink, Jason Gregory, and Ben Cox who really made the concert possible and David Drexler for hours upon hours in the studio, letting me manhandle your equipment. Thank you to Chris Van Beneden, Jordan and Skyler McDonald, Brandi and Jonathan Bronsink, and everyone else who gave on kickstarter. And thank you to the congregation of Neighbors Abbey and community of SW Atlanta who didn’t get to benefit from this art as much but who inspired so much of it.


released August 10, 2012

Troy Bronsink Vocals, Acoustic, Classical and Electric Guitars, Banjotar, Glockenspiel, and Harmonica
Justin Roth Electric guitars and pedals galore
Will Groth Drums, Chimes, Percussion, tshirt full of nuts and bolts, Cards in Bicycle Spoke, etc
Derek Hensel Bass Guitar and vocals

Additional musicians
Eugene Russell: Flute, Saxophone
Josey Stone: Keys, Bells
Jack Jirak: Electric Guitar
Mike Sink: Electric and Acoustic Guitars
David Drexler: Guitar Effects, Vocals
Bill Davis: Cello.
Additional Background Vocals: Annie Drexler, Kerstin Armstrong, Stacey Hensel, Sasha Cox, Eric Worrell and the congregation of City Church Eastside.
Studio guest musicians:
Dan Ra guitars on tracks and Daley Hake and Julie Bell guitar and strings.

Produced by Troy Bronsink. Live recording on March 23 and 24 at One Twelve Gallery engineered by Larry Blewitt , Berry Bailey, Kenneth Lovell, and Marty Simpson of Green Tea Media, FOH engineering by Jason Gregory, addition recordings at io-sight and sound, Larry’s Basement, and Drexler Studios, and from Troy’s eye-phone. Mixed by John DeLorme and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music. Art Design by Jonathan Bronsink and Kevin Byrd. Photography by Russell Shaw studios.

All songs arranged by Troy Bronsink. All original songs and choruses by Troy Bronsink except as follows: Today We All Are Called verse melody derived from on English folk tune KINGSFOLD, lyrics ©1989 by pastor and film writer H. Kenn Carmichael, used by permission. Come Thou Fount public domain melody derived from “NETTLETON” by 18th Century American Evangelist Asahel Nettleton, and based on 1758 lyrics from Robert Robinson. Be Thou My Vision melody SLANE takes its name from the hill on which St.Patrick gained notoriety by defiantly lighting a candle for the Easter vigil against the royal edict, lyrics based on various verses from ancient poetry to public domain hymnody.



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Troy Bronsink Cincinnati, Ohio

Music is a vehicle for all sorts of freight: meditation, lament, story, and laughter to name a few. Bronsink's melodies carry everything from soaring delight to brooding angst to congregational of praise. He's currently travelling to promote his book, Drawn In, with house shows and conferences featuring Songs to Pray by and his singer songwriter material. ... more

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Track Name: O Blessed God
the fresh spring of everything
pouring from your words, “let there be…”
the fleshed life of woman and man
dancing in the dawn of eden
a richness of plenty
for all the earth a destiny
your-voice walking with them
your-song’s cultivating rhythm

o blessed god
the saving one
oh, hear our cry to you
your kingdom come
your will be done
life pouring out of you

now we fall like leaves for missing you
and miss the kiss when justice and peace meet too
along the hungry and the thirsty streets
we see you in the ones we meet
our eyes are empty, our stomachs ‘full
how long, oh lord, ‘til your world’s made whole?
your-voice walking with them
our songs, so far from heaven

put a song in me like you people the streets of history
turn me upside by the hearts
i find in each street i’m walking
put clothes on shame teach us to sing
forgive our sins salvation ring
Track Name: Rescue Us All
i was lost until i found you
then i just brought you along
‘trouble forgiving ‘til i met you
turns out we’re forgiven all along
Felt safe once I made up my mind
now I’m looking for a different kind (of salvation)

one that will rescue us all here
rescue us all here
rescue us all here

‘Felt like a pot made out of the scrap slag
doomed from the start
a face as fierce as clay
and a tablet-stone heart
raw dirt under my finger nails
lock jawed from the rusty nails (of my salvation)

that can rescue us all here
rescue us all here
rescue it all here

pushed to the wall by my anger
recklessly close to danger
imagining a better self
leveraging life just to earn more wealth
Disparaged I have run... away
Now I need some rest from my own way (of salvation)

Oh give rest to us all here
give rest to us all here
give rest for us all here

bring new life

I’m just withering like grasses
turns out the Word is all that lasted
‘while i was just a bruised reed
turns out you would not break me
oh, so I’ll just be the fool’s fool
keep praying that you’ll come through
(in the end)

oh, and recue us all here
rescue us all here
give rest to us all here
Track Name: Wildest Imaginations
for all people of the earth
before all nations of the earth
you’ll be like sands of the earth, making life with god

from the west to the east
from the mountains to the seas
like the galaxy’s stars will be your reach

root us here, oh god
show us your heavens god
give us eyes to see
give us ears to hear
to follow you beyond our fears

beyond our wildest imaginations
make us a blessing to the nations
Track Name: Today We All Are Called
today we are all called to be disciples of the lord,
to help to set the captives free, make plow-share out of sword,
to feed the hungry, quench their thirst, make love and peace our fast,
to serve the poor and homeless first, our ease and comfort last.

lead us onward
shape us inwardly
help us follow you outward
lead us on, lead us on

god made the world and at its birth ordained our human race
to live as stewards of the earth, responding to god's grace.
but we are vain and sadly proud, we so not peace but strife,
our discord spreads a deadly cloud that threatens all of life.

pray justice may come rolling down as in a mighty stream,
with righteousness in field and town to cleanse us and redeem.
for god is longing to restore an earth where conflicts cease,
a world that was created for a harmony of peace.
Track Name: Kindle
holy spirit fill
the hearts of all people
with fire,
kindle this forest with fire

you’re an oak by an ancient spring
the deeper magic, it will ring
an oak in a forest of oaks, then
you’ll grow into what I have spoken

good news for the poor
roses where ashes were
hearts that find comfort
light out of darkness

freedom for chains
lighthearts for shame
this is what we proclaim
this is what we proclaim

be goodnews with the poor
plant roses were ashes were
hold hearts ‘til their comforted
un-frightened by darkness

build class-rooms not bars and chains
sow laughter for a change
this is what we proclaim...
this is what we've been made for
Track Name: Listenning
The day goes, day goes, calling you on, Calling along
Somebody texting you to move along The hippest song ‘
All bout that listening oaww
You gotta quiet what’s strong, gotta get somebody gone

Listening… we’ve all got someone
Listening… the love that glows here is
Glistening… the time that rolls here is
wrapping unwrapping
the mystical’s happening

I know that face
You know Its… something,
‘Just couldn’t say
(either its)
Something you’ve caged
(or its) Something you gave

You got something, someone, some-how’s telling you
You got a gold heart, a good heart, a good start; I’m telling you
Who-else’ll let you know
With all the work to be
So much, Left to be done

Keep listening
Lord, Keep listening
Keep listening
will we keep listening
Once again?

Take me long … take me along
Take me on
Down the road. Down with rogue; down’s the new vogue.
Don’t you even believe the load, leave the road, leave your load
And I’m jumping out fresh
Staring anew

Cause there a Light here that brought me down.
‘Throw me down, crash here!
The Light and it’s atmosphere holds me down
Gasping its sweltering hot
Here I’m melting love’s smelting me
the Immensity’s helping me to

Keep listening
I wanna, Keep listening
Keep listening
will we keep listening?

Breathing in, we’re
being breathed in.
Breathing, ending,
end of breathing.
End beginning.
In the ending
there’s beginning;
Here is listening

We’ve got time here of plenty…
You got time to hear… (so) tell me
Pick up a chair and tell me
tell me again
‘bout the listening
Track Name: Love
love, love, love, love, love
i will show you a more excellent way
i'm just a noise, just a lost symbol. i gain nothing if i do not have love
Track Name: Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night.
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

See Through Me
Help Us See

Be Thou my wisdom and Thou my true Word.
I ever with Thee and Thou with me Lord.
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son,
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

See Through Me
Help Us See

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul's mother, thou my high tower:
Raise all things heavenward, O Power of power.

See Through Me
Help Us See

High Lord of heaven, the victory won,
May I be in heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all!

See Through Me
Help Us See
Track Name: Peace
peace, peace, peace
i give you peace
not as the world spins (it)
i give to you… (I give)
peace, peace, peace

peace, peace, peace
i give you peace
as god has sent me
so I send you… (to spread)
peace, peace, peace

peace, peace, peace
i give you peace
reach out your hands (and quit)
hesitating (to make)
peace, peace, peace
Track Name: Stuck Here
sometimes I meet this stranger in my dreams
he is weathered like those cigarette men on back of magazines’
when I meet him it’s ‘long familiar mountain streams
where I stop to wonder
He said how are ya doing?
ya tired of playing the fool
are you still haunted by the memories of
awful kids from school? do really think
that haunted kid will get you through
oh do you?

(You see) you’ll get tired of pushin
that stone up the road
its starts out like a pebble then it grows
grows into a boulder the size of the moon
til you wake up one morning to realize you’ve gotten stuck here
trying to move the world

I said, now wait a minute
you don’t know who I am
I’m the perfect composite of all my favorite men
and even some of my most favorite women
‘ no need to be concern’n
yourself with me
I’ve learned to hold the tension
‘tween justice and invention
theres really no distinction
Just get under the engine
gotta start to chance conditions
‘stead of all that blind wishin,
prayin's a lot like fishin

But you’ll get tired...

Well this stranger winks and keeps on
‘says there’s more to try
next you’ll learn to juggle
friends and lovers
hopes and bottom lines
and then you’ll learn to trick leveraging your time…

Well I got tired...

then I stumbled on this notion
I was flooded with emotion
the old man said let it go son
so we put the wheels in motion,
and let it roll
let it roll
let it roll
let it roll
let it roll
let it roll
let it roll

yeah we let it roll
let it roll
tired of moving
tired of ruling the world
tired of moving the world
trying to move the world

sometimes i meet this stranger
in my dreams
Track Name: Hold On To These Things
h o l d o n t o t h e s e things

but don't hold them so tightly

'cause what you hold so tightly

you no l o n g e r h o l d f o r m e b u t f o r y o u