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How Phil Wickham Went From ‘Lifestyle Christianity’ to ‘So Much Joy and Excitement’

Phil Wickham
Screenshot from YouTube / @Phil Wickham

Songwriter and worship leader Phil Wickham says that he has gone deeper in his relationship with God through prayer after being challenged by the faith of people who were inspired by his music. Prior to this change, Wickham had fallen into what he calls “lifestyle Christianity.” 

“I grew up in a Christian home, so prayer was always a part of what we did,” said Wickham in an interview with The Christian Post. “I’ve always believed in the power of it and the beauty of it and communities getting together.” Wickham did not say that he had fallen away from his faith, but that he was going through the motions in a sense before certain events caused him to re-evaluate his spiritual walk.

Phil Wickham Makes Prayer His ‘Go-To’

Phil Wickham, who released his first album in 2003, is known for songs including, “This Is Amazing Grace” and “Living Hope.” He says that during the pandemic, he and other ministry leaders were compelled to evaluate how to ditch “the fluff” and follow Jesus in a more focused way. In 2020, Wickham released the single, “Battle Belongs,” and said that, following the release, many people wrote to tell him the song gave them words to pray in their suffering when they didn’t know what to pray. 

The chorus of “Battle Belongs” says:

So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees
With my hands lifted high
Oh God, the battle belongs to You
And every fear I lay at Your feet
I’ll sing through the night
Oh God, the battle belongs to You

“It was just moving me and increasing my faith,” said Wickham of hearing other people’s stories. “I felt this, like, deep Holy Spirit thing in me growing as I was in the room with people. Their faith was beautiful to see.” 

But Wickham sensed a lack in his own life as he witnessed the faith of others. “I’m the one singing this song and being the catalyst…but is it really true for my life?” he wondered. He was not sure that what the song described was his “go-to playbook” when life got difficult.

“I was just challenged,” he said, “challenged to really believe in prayer and challenged for it to be my go-to in the big things and the small things.” Wickham decided to turn to Scripture and study how followers of God in the Old and New Testaments prayed.

One of the results of this endeavor was that Wickham ended up creating a devotional called, “On Our Knees: 40 Days to Living Boldly in Prayer.” The process of studying prayer in the Bible “really did change my life,” he said, and he realized had been missing out on the joy of knowing God.