10 Worship Songs about Joy
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And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.”—2 Samuel 6:5

The Hebrew word for celebrate comes from the root word “sachaq” which means “to laugh.” Worship should bubble up from an overwhelming delight of being in God’s presence. He longs to see his people responding to his goodness with exuberant abandon.

We put together this list of 10 joyful worship songs that you can use to add some enthusiasm to your worship set.

Hymns about joy

1. Joyful, Joyful

Henry Van Dyk was a professor of English literature at Princeton between 1899–1923 and also chaired the committee that wrote the first printed Presbyterian liturgy, The Book of Common Worship of 1906.

When he was filling in as a guest preacher at Williams College, Williamstown, MA, in 1907, he found himself overwhelmed by the beauty of the Berkshire mountain. He wrote the words that would become the hymn “Joyful, Joyful.” When he walked into the college, he handed the words to the president and said, “Here’s a hymn for you. It should be sung to Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy.’”

Today it’s one of the most popular hymns of all time.

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Op’ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.

2. I Stand Amazed in the Presence

Charles Gabriel has written between 7,000 and 8,000 hymns and gospel songs. While we don’t really know the background of “I Stand Amazed,” it’s an incredible expression of joy at God’s unmerited goodness and grace.

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden
he prayed: “Not my will, but thine.”
He had no tears for his own griefs,
but sweat-drops of blood for mine.

In pity angels beheld him,
and came from the world of light
to comfort him in the sorrows
he bore for my soul that night.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
he made them his very own;
he bore the burden to Calvary,
and suffered and died alone.

When with the ransomed in glory
his face I at last shall see,
’twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of his love for me.

3. Joy to the World

It’s almost ironic that “Joy to the World” is so closely associated with Christmas. When Isaac Watts paraphrased Psalm 98 for it, he was writing a hymn that celebrated the Lord’s second coming. His feelings were that this Psalm captured the beauty and essence of the entire Bible. To Watts, the only response to the knowledge that Christ would return to reign, rule, and release us from the curse was joy.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Worship songs about joy

4. Undignified (I Will Dance) by Matt Redman

In 2 Samuel 6, King David brought the arc back into Jerusalem after conquering the Philistines. He was so overwhelmed and full of joy that he was dancing and celebrating with his subject. His wife and Saul’s daughter, Michal, was completely disgusted.

When he came home, Michal met him with these words, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (2 Sam. 6:20)

David responded, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (vs.21–22)

Matt Redman captures this idea with his song “Undignified.” Instead of trying to be controlled and proud in worship, “Undignified” challenges worshipers to respond with joyful surrender.

I will dance I will sing to be mad for my king
Nothing lord is hindering the passion in my soul
I will dance I will sing to be mad for my king
Nothing lord is hindering the passion in my soul

And I’ll become even more undignified than this
Some would say it’s foolishness but
I’ll become even more undignified than this
Some would say it’s foolishness

5. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever by Delirious?

In a discussion about “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” songwriter Martin Smith remembered:
“This must be back in 1994, ’93 maybe even. Couple of decades ago. And just having the space to sit on the side of a hill. There was a river running down below, I remember. It was a very simple song. It came very quickly. One of the very few that did come quickly, unfortunately, and it wrote itself in a sense.”

Something about the simplicity of this song really resonated with Christians. This uncomplicated response to God’s goodness fills congregations with simple joy.

Over the mountains and the sea,
Your river runs with love for me,
And I will open up my heart
And let the healer set me free.
I’m happy to be in the truth,
And I will daily lift my hands:
For I will always sing of when
Your love came down.

I could sing of your love forever

6. Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble by Delirious?

Martin Smith was praying in his church when someone told him, “When you sing, the mountains are going to tremble.” It stuck with Smith and eventually worked its way out in “Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?”

It’s a prophetic song that looks forward to the return of Christ and the impact that it will have on the entire earth. Our joy in worship isn’t just a response to what we’ve experienced; it’s an anticipation to our heavenly future.

And we can see that God you’re moving
A mighty river through the nations
When young and old return to Jesus
Fling wide your heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Open up the doors and let the music play
Let the streets resound with singing
Songs that bring your hope
Songs that bring your joy
Dancers who dance upon injustice

7. Hymns of Joy by Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin is known for introducing popular hymns to younger audiences by adding a refrain and using it in worship. “Hymns of Joy” breathes new life into Henry Van Dyk’s “Joyful, Joyful.”

Tomlin added a refrain about the coming of Emmanuel, turning it into a Christmas song, and he included it on his album Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship. Like “Joy to the World,” “Joyful, Joyful” lends itself perfectly to the joy associated with the nativity.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel
Your love has come
Here to dwell

8. The Happy Song by Delirious?

“The Happy Song” is the third (and final) Delirious? song in this list. The instrumentation in this jovial song exudes joy. The folky acoustic guitars, banjos, and harmonica creates an atmosphere of fun and exhilaration.

The thing that’s so great about “The Happy Song” is that it’s just a laid-back, amusing song celebrating God’s love and salvation.

Oh I could sing unending songs
Of how you saved my soul
Well I could dance a thousand miles
Because of your great love.

My heart is bursting Lord
To tell of all you’ve done
Of how you changed my life
And wiped away the past

I want to shout it out
From every roof top sing
For now I know that God
Is for me not against me

9. Joy of the Lord by Rend Collective

Gareth and Ali Gilkeson, the spouses at the center of Rend Collective, were pregnant with their second child. When they ended up miscarrying, they were heartbroken. Ali says, “It was a difficult time when we had to actively pursue joy and find our strength.”

As Gareth explains it, “We chose joy, faith, and trust, rather than despair and cynicism. We wouldn’t have gotten through that time if it wasn’t for God’s strength. Most people think that joy is just for happy people or optimists. In a difficult time, joy is what gave us the strength to go on.”

In the dead of night
I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
Though the waters rise
I’ll lift my eyes
I’ll lift my eyes to You
While there’s hope in this heart
I will praise you Lord

The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord is my strength
In the darkness I’ll dance
In the shadows I’ll sing
The joy of the Lord is my strength

10. Happy Day by Tim Hughes

Tim Hughes and a theologian friend were lamenting the fact there weren’t enough contemporary worship songs about the resurrection. Later, in reading a book about Michelangelo, Hughes was struck by the artist’s word to a painter who was depicting Christ on the cross. Michelangelo told his peer, “’Paint Him instead the Lord of life.”

This led Hughes to pick up his guitar to write a song that celebrated the joy that Christ is alive and the difference that truth makes.

The greatest day in history
Death is beaten, You have rescued me
Sing it out, Jesus is alive

The empty cross, the empty grave
Life eternal, You have won the day
Shout it out, Jesus is alive
He’s alive

Oh, happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh, happy day, happy day
I’ll never be the same
Forever I am changed

What are your favorite worship songs about joy?

We’d love to hear from you. Tell us what worship songs that make you respond with joyful worship.

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