Devotional Worship Music w/ Jon Guerra

The worship music we sing on Sunday mornings may sound different than the worship music we listen to on Monday mornings. We sat down with artist Jon Guerra to talk about devotional worship music, how it’s different than congregational worship music, and tips for writing it. Jon released an album of devotional worship titled “Keeper of Days” in 2020 and it was great to hear his thoughts on the topic.

Devotional Worship vs Congregational Worship

What classifies a song as a devotional worship song and how does it differ in style?

Jon: “Congregational worship music is more Sunday morning worship. You can sing along to it, it’s catchy. Lyrically it is saying true things about God or talking about the Christian life in a way that’s communal in nature. Devotional music is more Monday morning prayer music. It’s a little more interior. I wanted worship music to fill in gaps in our day that aren’t in the church. Devotional music can help us pray and attend to something else throughout the day.”

Writing Devotional Worship Music

When writing congregational music, most songs usually follow a similar structure and lyrics that apply to lots of people. With devotional worship music, it’s much more of a blank canvas when you’re writing.

Jon: “You don’t start with a goal in mind. You sit down and start playing chords and humming a melody, and there’s no ‘I’m gonna put this hear and put this there’. The rediscovery of that has been amazing. I write frequently and I write a lot before I sequence an album together. So the spark of writing the songs is very freeing, but then I try to find a common theme through the songs. I find that to be helpful. When I’m putting the songs together for the album, I try to focus on what the journey is going to be and what’s going to start and end the album.”

Can you use devotional worship music in your services?

If you are leading worship at a church, you could use devotional worship in the service if you introduce it strategically.

Jon: “Churches that are comfortable having songs sung over people or songs as an intro to a liturgy or sermon, could definitely use devotional music. I think ultimately, we sing in church and so there’s already a precedent of people engaging in art in a meaningful way. Real worship happens when our hearts are attending to the words coming out of our mouths, not just when we’re singing words. So people can attend just as much to the words that the worship leader is singing. I think there’s plenty of room to introduce devotional worship in a service.”

To hear more about devotional worship, watch the full interview below!

You can listen to Jon Guerra’s album “Keeper of Days” wherever you stream music!