Gospel Songs To Consider Playing On Your Wedding Day

If you are looking for a way to honor your faith at your wedding (along with your Christian service), then you might want to consider some gospel songs.

While you might have chosen traditional hymns during the ceremony itself, there are plenty of other times throughout the day to enjoy the likes of Whitney Houston, Nat King Cole, and even Beyonce who will be singing about the Christian faith. It is a great way to get some modern and traditional songs into your day, whether that is during the father and daughter dance, or while you are signing the wedding register.

Often, songs that can speak about your faith have been with you (and your loving relationship) for a long time. It is a great way to add them to your special day. However, even if you are not religious, there is no doubt that gospel music has a certain power about it. Also, it influenced the likes of both R&B and soul music.

Greatest Gospel Songs

Biggest Gospel Hits

1. “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” by Aretha Franklin

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged, beneath, beneath that flood
They’re gonna lose all their guilty stains

In 1956 when Aretha Franklin released her album called The Songs of Faith, she was only 14. It was recorded at the New Bethel Baptist Church, the place where her father was the reverend.

One of the best performances on the album (which in 1983 was reissued) is the song There is a Fountain Filled with Blood which was a hymn originally written by William Cowper in the 18th century.

2. “Down By the Riverside” by Nat King Cole

Also known as “Down by the Riverside“.

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Ain’t gonna study, study war no more
Ain’t gonna think, think war no more
Ain’t gonna fight, fight war no more
We’re givin’ it up, we gonna let it go

Down By the Riverside is a song, like many gospel records, which has been interpreted by jazz musicians. This famous and well-known spiritual song also goes by the name Gonna Lay Down My Burden and Ain’t Gonna Study War No More.

This is because the origins of the track were during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. However, it actually did not get published until a number of years later in 1918.

It was a track for Plantation Melodies: A Collection of Modern, Popular and Old-Time Negro Songs of the Southland, Chicago.

Since then it has been covered by lots of musicians such as Johnny Cash and Bing Crosby. The Nat King Cole version is wonderful, and he often sang it during his concerts.

3. “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” by Louis Armstrong

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Oh, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory, Hallelujah

This powerful and beautiful spiritual song by Louis Armstrong was originally written about the period of slavery in America. However, it was first published in 1867.

In 1962, Armstrong released a great version of this song which has also been covered by many other jazz musicians. Some of those include Dr. John and Harry James.

Which version will you choose?

4. “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by Whitney Houston

Lyrics To Inspire You:

A, a constant friend, constant friend is He
Oh, his eye is on, his eye is on the sparrow
Oh yes, I, I know He watches, oh, over me

Surely no list would be complete without a Whitney Houston song, right? While the original His Eye is on the Sparrow was written around 1905, it has become a classic gospel song. Because of this, it has been covered by many singers such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and Mahalia Jackson.

The Whitney Houston version is wonderful and was released in June of 2012 which marked four months since her death at 48.

The song was a cover done for Sparkle which was a musical. It likely would not have been released, but her death must have been the motivation to release it.

5. “God, You’re So Good by Passion” and Travis Greene

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Not to look at the waves
But to keep our eyes fixed on You
You’re so good
Forever good

Travis Greene was brought up by a mother who was both a choir director and a minister. This set him on the path of God and Music, so no wonder he released the gospel hit God, You’re So Good.

He became fully accustomed to gospel music around the house, saying that it basically became part of his entire life.

In 2018, he released a live version for Capitol Christian Music Group. The gospel choir that led the backing vocals was called Passion which originated from Passion City Church based in Atlanta. The lead singer is Kristian Stanfill.

Take a listen to both tracks to find out which one best suits the wedding day.

6. “I Saw the Light” by Hank Williams

Lyrics To Inspire You:

No more darkness, no more night
Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord, I saw the light

While I Saw the Light didn’t have much success the first time around, in the years that followed this became one of his most well-known songs.

Just to put it into perspective, a biopic on Williams called I Saw the Light came out in 2015 starring the actor Tom Hiddleston.

If you like country gospel, then this song will hit the sweet spot. It is often said that Williams wrote this song on his way home after being at a dance in Alabama. His mother, Lilly, then saw a light that shone at Dannelly Field Airport.

She awoke her son with the words: “Wake up, we are nearly home. I just saw the light.”

7. “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Big Bill Broonzy

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I looked over Jordan, now what did I see you
Coming for to carry me home
A band of angels coming for me

A song that is often sung in church, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is a favorite across the world, even today. It is also sung in many sporting stadiums too. The song itself goes as far back as 1909 when The Fisk Jubilee Singers sang it.

While Big Bill Broonzy was known for his blues hits, he recorded a moving version for his Last Sessions record which was put together in 1961, not long before he died.

8. “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” by Mahalia Jackson

Lyrics To Inspire You:

He’s got everybody here right in his hand
He’s got the whole wide world in His hand

If you have heard Mahalia Jackson’s music before, then you will know that she has a great voice that suits the world of gospel music. In 1958, she did her own version of the 1920s song He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands which happened to reach the Billboard charts.

This was no mean feat either, especially when the likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley were belting out the hits at the time.

While this isn’t what this list is for, Mahalia Jackson hands down could fill a list of some of the best gospel songs ever made. For that reason, another one to consider is Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho which she also did her own version of in 1958.

9. “Grateful” by Hezekiah Walker

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I could go on and on and on about your works
Because I’m grateful, grateful, so grateful just to praise you Lord
Flowing from my heart are the issues of my heart, it’s gratefulness

According to Hezekiah Walker, a preacher based in New York, Grateful is a gospel track that was written to give encouragement to those who find themselves struggling in difficult moments in their life.

It was written by Shawn Brown who was a pastor. Sadly he died in 2010 and had written several gospel numbers for many different artists.

Grateful was released as part of the album titled Better: Azusa The Next Generation 2. On stage when he performed the song, he did a duet with Anonique Smith, a singer, and actress.

10. “More Abundantly Medley” by Ricky Dillard

Lyrics To Inspire You:

But I’ve come to mend your broken heart
And to give your heart a song
I’ve come to give you life

A new gospel singer to the scene, Ricky Dillard, who also mixes gospel with Motown, released his debut tracks in one go in 2020 called More Abundantly Medley and Release.

The former included vocals from Tiff Joy, while the latter had its video filmed at the Haven of Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago.

Impressively, the video was viewed more than a million times within the first year on YouTube.

11. “Alabaster Box” by CeCe Winans

Lyrics To Inspire You:

You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His love all around me and
You don’t know the cost, not of this oil
In my alabaster box

Winans is well-known in the music industry having won 12 Grammy awards, as well as released five platinum and gold albums that are influenced by gospel sound. It is no wonder that Alabaster Box, which was released in 1999, did so well in the mainstream charts.

It features some brilliant lyrics based on religion and was written by a musician and academic named Dr. Janice Sjostrand. The writer actually once opened the stage up for singer Ray Charles.

There is a lot to like about this song and is well worth having it play at the wedding.

12. “Everybody’s Gonna Have a Wonderful Time Up There” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Lyrics To Inspire You:

We’re going down the valley, going one by one,
Gonna be rewarded for the things we’ve done.
When we get to heaven and the promised land,
Then we’ll understand.

Tharpe, who was born way back in 1915, began her gospel singing days in the 1930s. Often she recorded for Decca Records and has been classed as an inspiration for many.

One example is Chuck Berry who took a lot of influence from her. Just listen to Tharpe’s The Lord Followed Me which came out in 1947. Even Elvis Presley noted her as one of his all-time favorite guitar players and singers. Impressive!

Everybody’s Gonna Have a Wonderful Time Up There is perfect for the reception. It was even once described as being a “gospel boogie”.

13. “2nd Win” by Kierra Sheard

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I know it may seem like your life is falling apart
But don’t you know God’s already working it out
There’s strength in you, you were born to win
So don’t quit now here comes your second win

You may have already heard of some of Kierra’s family. Her grandfather is none other than Mattie Moss Clark, and her mother is Karen Clark-Sheard (of The Clark Sisters fame).

Kierra is currently at the forefront of modern and progressive gospel music. She has been known to describe her sound as both ‘relevant’ and ‘urban’ when speaking to her younger audience.

While she doesn’t just focus on gospel sound (her music takes inspiration from hip-hop, R&B, and pop as well), she likes to include traditional elements from gospel music within her work.

2nd Win is a track taken from her album Graceland which was released in 2014. It is a song that talks about how you can use God as the power to find your own strength from within.

14. “The Lord’s Prayer” by Dinah Washington

Lyrics To Inspire You:

And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors (as we forgive our debtors)
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from all evil

Popular during the 1950s, Dinah Washington first began her music career by singing church songs. She was a member of the Gospel Singers Convention which was co-founded by Sallie Martin, and became a lead singer.

In the early part of the 1950s, she recorded a singing version of The Lord’s Prayer which is the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples.

You will love her voice on this track, it is very moving.

15. “Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name” by Shirley Caesar

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Jesus, nobody but Jesus
Everyday, hallelujah, your name is the same
My mother’s Jesus, my father’s Jesus
I love calling your name

While born back in 1938, today Shirley Caesar is noted as being one of the most important and established gospel singers of the modern era.

Having begun recording music at age 12, she preached at Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church which was based in North Carolina.

She was always telling people how she was a preacher first and a singer second. It is a good thing she became a singer, otherwise, we would not have had this wonderful version of Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name.

16. “Awesome” by Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Giver of salvation, by His stripes I am healed
My God is awesome, today I am forgiven
His grace is why I’m living, praise His holy name

While Charles Jenkins is not a gospel singer per se, there is a reason for his release of Awesome. Having become a Pastor at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church situated in Chicago aged just 34 in 2010, he teamed up with the choir of the church to record a full album.

It was created two years after becoming a pastor and was titled The Best of Both Worlds which featured Awesome. This particular song reached number one on the Billboard Gospel Singles charts.

It not only has a happy title but would sound great at the wedding reception.

17. “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by Beyonce

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Through a storm
Through the night
Lead
Lead
Lead me on
to the light

A wedding is not a wedding without Beyonce, right? While it is not a Beyonce original, it is a wonderful cover of the classic written by Thomas A. Dorsey. It is also a song that has been covered many times, but this version is perfect for the wedding day.

This song has a lot of relevance in today’s world. Due to the outrage that overtook America after the deaths of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner, it was featured in a 2014 civil rights documentary called Selma.

Beyonce sang it a year later at the Grammy Awards alongside a hand-picked selection of black men in solidarity, and to show both the vulnerability and strength in black men.

18. “Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)” by The Carter Family

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Will the circle be unbroken
By and by Lord, by and by
There’s a better home awaiting
In the sky Lord, in the sky

During the 1930s, The Carter Family covered the hymn Will the Circle Be Unbroken. It gave the hymn a new lease of life, causing it to be covered many times due to its spiritual and religious meanings.

The likes of Mavis Staples, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, and Jerry Lee Lewis did their own cover versions. The song went into the Grammy Hall of Fame in the late 90s.

For a more recent version, take a look at The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band who put it on their 1972 album. However, it has more of a country influence.

19. “Abide With Me” by Thelonious Monk

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies
Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee
In life, in death oh Lord abide with me

Abide With Me by Thelonious Monk is a classic when it comes to gospel music. While it was once also sung by Doris Day in 1962 for her You’ll Never Walk Alone album, it is actually Monk’s version that stands out.

Based on the original by Henry Francis Lyte, a Scottish poet, and minister in 1847, Monk performs a wonderful gospel version that was released on his album Monk’s Music in 1957 – just over 100 years later after the hymn was first written.

The album itself features some wonderful jazz greats, such as Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey, and John Coltrane.

20. “My God is Real (Yes, God is Real)” by Johnny Cash

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Some folks may doubt, some folks may scorn
Well, they can all go on, just leave me alone
But ask for me, I’ll take God’s part
My God is real for I can feel Him in my heart

Johnny Cash, who was raised in Arkansas, stated that he grew up singing gospel songs. At the age of 16, he had a touching moment with his mother when she heard him singing songs about God. She noted to him that “God’s got his hands on you.”

On his Hymns From the Heart album in 1962, he did his own version of the gospel classic My God is Real (Yes, God is Real). It was originally written by Kenneth Morris and has been covered by the likes of Mahalia Jackson and Pat Boone – to name a few.

21. “Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour” by Bob Dylan

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Savior, Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling
Do not pass me by

The original song of Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour was sung by Fanny Crosby, a woman who is noted as being the queen of writing gospel songs. This was back in 1868, so holding that title still is quite something.

Over a century later, Bob Dylan released his own take on this song which he is said to have been influenced by The Stanley Brothers.

During this time in both the 70s and 80s, he released what some people call the ‘Christian Trilogy’ of records. One is Saved which features a self-penned track titled Precious Angel.

While this song is great to have on the wedding day, why not check out some of his other Christian-themed music for inspiration?

22. “Great is Your Mercy (Live)” by Donnie McClurkin

Lyrics To Inspire You:

A new dine of life every day
To show forth Your wonders every day
To stand in Your presence every day
To tell of all Your mercy every day

You might find a few live tracks on this list, though the non-live version is just as good, and might suit a wedding reception more – however, there is nothing like feeling like you are at a gospel singer’s concert.

There was a time in the 1960s when a place called Croydon in England was the place to go as a blue and jazz musician. The venue was the Fairfield Halls and it attracted some of the biggest names.

For the Live in London and More album released in 2000, Donnie McClurkin chose the venue to perform at – despite it not being quite London. Great is Your Mercy is a wonderful track on the album which is delivered in such a haunting way live.

Give it a listen. You might just understand why the live version is fantastic.

23. “Let the Church Say Amen” by Andraé Crouch

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Lift your hands, lift your hands
God has spoken, so let the church say amen
Oh, thank you lord
God has spoken, so let the church say amen

Andraé Crouch is said to be highly influential within the modern era of gospel music. Having worked with the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Elton John, it is no wonder he is highly respected.

Let the Church Say Amen is a track by Crouch that features vocals sung by the pastor Marvin Winans, who is the brother of gospel sensation CeCe. The organ is performed by Carl Wheeler on the song.

Crouch is known for his love of God and wants to be remembered as so.

24. “Goin’ Up Yonder” by Tramaine Hawkins

Lyrics To Inspire You:

As God gives me grace
I’ll run this race
Until I see my Savior
Face to face

After leaving the Edwin Hawkins Group, Tramaine Hawkins became a legend within the gospel music scene. The single Goin’ Up Yonder was written by the singer Walter Hawkins who was also her husband at the time.

Despite divorcing in the mid-90s, the song always remained a favorite of hers and the fans.

While all that took place in the 1960s and 70s, by 2020 she re-released the track as a new version for the TV series Greenleaf. It has up-to-date lyrics to comfort those who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

25. “Move On Up a Little Higher” by Marian Anderson

Lyrics To Inspire You:

O Lord, I’m going outside sing sing in beauty
March all around God’s altar
Gonna walk down and get higher

This song became a huge hit for Mahalia Jackson in 1947 – it sold over 8 million copies at the time. However, it is the Marian Anderson version that is considered to be striking. It was an unreleased track that was released years later, despite doing a cover of it around the 40s/50s herself.

The song was originally written by a Baptist minister named William Herbert Brewster in the 1940s.

26. “Morning Has Broken” by Cat Stevens

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day

Originally written in 1931 by Eleanor Farjeaon, a children’s author from England, Cat Stevens decided to do his own take on this song as he flipped through a hymn book during a ‘dry period’ of his music career.

He released it in 1971 as it featured on the album Teaser and the Firecat. It features piano playing by Rick Wakeman, the keyboardist from Yes.

The single version did well as it reached number 6 on the Billboard charts.

27. “What a Friend We Have” by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Lyrics To Inspire You:

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Written originally by Thomas Andrew Dorsey, a very influential and well-known composer within the gospel music industry, What a Friend We Have has been covered many times over the years.

Some of those who have recorded their own versions include both Elvis Presley and Little Richard. However, in the year 1960, Tennessee Ernie Ford brought it out and produced a hit on Capitol Records.

While known for country music, this gospel hit is not one to be ignored.

28. “Touch the Hem of his Garment” by Sam Cooke

Lyrics To Inspire You:

When she touched him, the savior didn’t see
But still he turned around and cried, somebody touched me
She said, it was I who just wanna touch the hem of your garment
I know I’ll be made whole right now

This wonderful song by Sam Cooke is said to be one of the greatest Gospel songs ever made and for good reason too. In 1956, Cooke wrote it quickly while traveling to a session to record with The Soul Stirrers.

You would not know he wrote it so quickly, however. It is definitely the mark of a talented man!

The quartet of male vocals on this record shows how lovely the harmonies were, especially at a time when singing in groups was quite popular in American music.

You will not be able to stop singing this track.

29. “Amazing Grace” by Ray Charles

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

By far, Amazing Grace is one of the most well-known spiritual songs of all time across the world. Everyone, whether religious or not, knows how the words go and how the melody sounds. It is also such a beautiful hymn to sing.

Ray Charles does a wonderful job at recreating its beauty along with the London Symphony Orchestra. If you want to seek out other versions, then Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, and Elvis Presley all do great versions.

30. “I’m Getting Ready” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Lyrics To Inspire You:

‘Cause I’m getting ready (I’m getting ready to see)
Something I’ve never seen (something I’ve never seen)
Prophesy over your life saying (I’m getting ready to see)

Born in 1981 in Georgia, since Tasha Cobbs Leonard released her album Grace in 2013, she has been a force to be reckoned with. Her gospel music is a passionate take on the modern era and shows that you can blur the lines between both pop and gospel music.

Her 8-minute track I’m Getting Ready is taken from the album Heart. Passion. Pursuit which was released in 2017. It features the vocals of Nicki Minaj and was produced by Kenneth Leonard Jr, who also happens to be her husband.

If you need a brilliant eight-minute filler, this is it!

31. “Jesus on the Mainline” by Ry Cooder

Lyrics To Inspire You:

If want His kingdom
Tell Him what you want
Call Him up, call Him up, call Him up, call Him up
You can call Him up and tell Him what you want

While a number of people have released this song (Randy Travis and Robert Plant are just a couple of them), it is Ry Cooder and the Chicken Skin Band which has done the most haunting version. It was released on the 1974 album Paradise and Lunch.

Often noted as being a fine example of what ‘roots music gospel’ is, you will want to hear for yourself how great this rendition of Jesus on the Mainline is.

On a side note, the earliest known recording of this song is in the 1950s when Alan Lomax recorded the Mississippi Fred McDowell singing it.

32. “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)” by Patty Griffin

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Then I hear your sweet voice, oh
Oh, come and then go, come and then go
Telling me softly
You love me so

Patty Griffin, while known for country music, released Up to the Mountain (MLK Song) which is a song that encapsulates the power of religion and the inspiration that Martin Luther King had on a generation and the ones that followed.

Griffin also released a second gospel song titled Heavenly Day. However, while she is the first to admit that she has no background when it comes to gospel music, she released the album titled Downtown Church in 2007.

It was actually recorded in Nashville at the Downtown Presbyterian Church.

33. “Joshua Fit De Battle” of Jericho by Grant Green

(Instrumental)

Not all gospel songs need words to be considered a classic. This instrumental version has a wonderful melody performed by guitarist Grant Green. It was released in 1963 for the iconic label Blue Note.

The song itself is based on Joshua leading the battle when the Israelites fought against the Canaan. It appeared on the Feelin’ the Spirit album and featured the pianist Herbie Hancock.

It was remastered in 2004 for a cleaner version that is perfect for a wedding day.

34. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water

There are a number of versions of Bridge Over Troubled Water, so no doubt you will find one that suits your wedding atmosphere. The song by Simon & Garfunkel was released in 1970 giving the original a modern take.

However, only a year later Aretha Franklin decided to release a big gospel-sounding version of this very song. She noted that this song had a great chance of becoming a huge gospel hit.

Which one you choose is up to you. You might even find some more versions along the way.

35. “Mansion Over the Hilltop” by Elvis Presley

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop
In that bright land where we’ll never grow old
And some day yonder we will never more wander
But walk on streets that are purest gold

Just like Beyonce (see above), what is a wedding without Elvis Presley? For those who know his discography inside and out, and for those who do not, Presley was known for musically interpreting some of the most well-known worship songs in history.

One great example is Mansion Over the Hilltop which he released in 1960. It featured on the album titled His Hand in Mine. However, when it comes to Elvis Presley, you will be spoilt for choice.

He is an artist that you will most definitely want to check out more about his music. He has plenty of tracks that will suit the wedding reception.

36. “Wings of a Dove” by Ferlin Husky

Lyrics To Inspire You:

When these things beset us
He doesn’t forget us
He sends down His love
On the wings of a dove

Wings of a Dove became widely known when Ferlin Husky released the 1958 song a couple of years later. While it has a country overtone, it has a subtleness of gospel notes which makes it count in this list.

A dove is often mentioned in the bible, and this is why this song talks about them from a religious viewpoint. While it has become a classic in the country genre, it has also been covered by many artists.

Doves spiritually mean the love of God and other religious symbolic meanings. This makes it a great song for a wedding.

37. “I’ll Fly Away” by The Kossoy Sisters

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

I’ll Fly Away was written by Albert E. Brumley who is noted as being one of the best gospel songwriters of all time. In 1956, The Kossoy Sisters, who were identical twins, sang the song in wonderful harmony.

On a side note, Kanye West recorded his own version of this song too. As did Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss. That means there are a few versions to choose from when it comes to the wedding reception.

Lyrics To Inspire You:

38. “We’re Blessed” by Fred Hammond

Lyrics To Inspire You:

He’s set thee above nations
And cast thine enemies away
He’s standing up within you
So let me hear you say
We’re blessed

If you want to listen to something a little different, then We’re Blessed by Fred Hammond will be a hit. He is known as being the king when it comes to urban-influenced gospel music.

Having been born in Detroit, he became a talented and influential bass player. Hammond’s album version of the song We’re Blessed was recorded for the record The Inner Court.

It was co-written by Tommie Walker, a person he collaborated with on many occasions. The backdrop of the track features vocals from Radical For Christ, and the overall tone is a funky and pulsating melody that is sure to get everyone dancing at the reception.

39. “Jesus the Same” by Israel & New Breed

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Highly, mighty, worthy: Jesus is,
Gracious, patient, generous
And there is no other name that is greater than Jesus

If you want a song that depicts a celebration, then Jesus the Same (which was released in 2012) is a great one to have. Back in the early 00s, Israel (full name Israel Houghton) was a highly celebrated gospel vocalist. He won many Grammy Awards.

However, he has so many songs in his discography that are worth checking out. There may just be plenty of other great tunes for the wedding reception.

40. “When the Saints Go Marching In” by Sidney Bechet

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Oh, when the saints go marchin’ in
Oh, when the saints go marchin’ in
Lord, I want to be in that number
When the saints go marchin’ in

You can go two ways with this one: the wonderful version by Sidney Bechet which is instrumental, or the jazz gospel version by Louis Armstrong which came out in 1938.

There is no denying your faith when it comes to this classic. The lyrics were inspired by the Book of Revelations, and everybody feels great while listening to it – okay, singing to it!

Depending on which one you choose, it will be great for the reception or while signing the wedding register.

41. “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp

Lyrics To Inspire You:

And I never, never would have made it
Oh I never could have made it, never could have made it without You
Oh I would have lost it all
Oh but now I see how You were there for me

Marvin Sapp wrote the song Never Would Have Made It after a sad time in his life. In 2006 his father passed away. Because he was grieving, he struggled to find any words while preaching. However, the lyrics to the song came to him within the next few days which gave him some comfort.

The song was written alongside music arranger Matthew Brownie, and it ended up on the album Thirsty which was released the following year in 2007.

Unsurprisingly, the catchy record stayed at the top of the gospel charts for 46 weeks. Now that is impressive!

42. “Wanna Be Happy?” by Kirk Franklin

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Do you wanna be happy?
(If you’re tired of you then say)
I just wanna be happy
(Now if you really mean that, open up your heart and say it)

In 2017, Kirk Franklin made a comeback into the music industry by releasing the album titled Losing My Religion. It featured the track Wanna Be Happy? which has sections of the hit Tired of Being Alone included.

The song also features the well-known soul singer and veteran Al Green, who is known to have a pedigree in gospel music. He has won eight Grammy awards focusing on gospel music.

This song is an interesting one to have at the wedding because it delivers a more modern sound.

43. “The Old Rugged Cross” by Alan Jackson

Lyrics To Inspire You:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

The Old Rugged Cross is a hymn that was written in the 20th century. It has become popular too, as many country, jazz, and soul singers have covered it.

One of the best versions is by Alan Jackson, who released the track in 2006 as part of his album titled Precious Memories.

At the time, Jackson was exploring gospel music and since that has loved the genre. This makes the Alan Jackson version a great gospel take on The Old Rugged Cross.

44. “Blessed & Highly Favored (Live)” by The Clark Sisters

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Don’t take it for granted that we are here today
Just know that we’re blessed and highly favored

The Clark Sisters, who were known for their gospel hits, formed in 1966 but did not achieve success until the 80s. They then went on a long hiatus to concentrate on their solo careers in the mid-90s.

By 2006, they had reformed to release the album Live – One Last Time. It was produced by Donald Lawrence, with the song Blessed & Highly Favored written by Karen, one of the sisters. It showed the world that the sisters still had wonderful harmony.

In 2008 the track won a Grammy for ‘Best Gospel Song’. It is still said to be one of the greatest-ever reunion songs.

45. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Ella Fitzgerald

Lyrics To Inspire You:

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer

Ella Fitzgerald is no doubt a legend within the jazz world. Her version of What a Friend We Have in Jesus was released in 1967 on Capitol Records. It was on her album Brighten the Corner and was based on the original hymn written by a preacher named Joseph M. Scriven.

The hymn was written as a way to comfort Scriven’s mother while he moved to Canada from Ireland during the 1800s.

Fitzgerald’s version of the song is quite haunting and features backing vocals from the Ralph Carmichael Choir.

46. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” by Alison Krauss and the Cox Family

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause
I’d rather be faithful to his dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus then world wide things
I’d rather be true to his holy name

It may not come as a surprise, but gospel music really does inspire a number of different music genres. This song certainly proves it because in 1994 Alison Krauss, who is known for her country music, partnered with The Cox Family to release I’d Rather Have Jesus.

Not only did they team up to do this song, but actually a whole album is titled I Know Who Holds Tomorrow. The album went on to win a Grammy.

The song was originally written by George Beverly Shea who is stated as being a true gospel star. During his long career, he sang to millions of people alongside the preacher Billy Graham.

47. “Give Me That Old Time Religion” by Etta James

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Give me that old time religion
It’s good enough for me

Originally this traditional song was written in 1873. It is said to have come from English roots within folk music, though this has never been proved.

Despite it being a gospel classic, it has not stopped country musicians from doing their own covers. For example, the likes of Crystal Gale, Charlie Rich, and Dolly Parton have all done their own take on this classic.

However, the most vibrant and uplifting version is by Etta James.

48. “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” by Matt Redman

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Released in 2011, 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) was co-written by Englishman Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, a songwriter based in Sweden. It was featured on the album 10,000 Reasons and is said to relate to worshiping and loving God for 10,000 years and more.

Since its release over a decade ago, it has been covered by many artists. It has also won many awards and has become one of Redman’s most well-known songs of all time.

He also went on to release a book with the same name as the album to cover stories related to faith, thankfulness, and worship anthems.

49. “Peace in the Valley” by Sam Cooke

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I pray
Oh, no more sadness, no sorrow
No more trouble, there will never be
There will be peace, in the valley
For me

You may have heard a few versions of this song (it was originally penned by Thomas A. Dorsey for Mahalia Jackson in 1937). However, it was 19-year-old Sam Cooke in the year 1950 who created a wonderful gospel version.

At the time he was a part of the group Soul Stirrers. He became known for his gospel sound during this era, and even today it is seen as a classic.

50. “Blessings” by Chance the Rapper

Lyrics To Inspire You:

I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone
When the praises go up
(Good God)
The blessings come down

Gospel music is still just as strong today as it ever was, even in the mainstream music industry. Chance the Rapper released a gospel hit titled Blessings in 2016 which featured well-known gospel singer Byron Cage.

The track also includes a full gospel choir which gives the song both a moving and intense feel. This song is well worth a listen, even if you don’t like rap music.

51. “O Mary Don’t You Weep” by Bruce Springsteen

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Well Moses stood on the Red Sea shore
And smote’ the water with a two by four
Pharaoh’s army got drowned
O Mary don’t weep

While you might not associate Bruce Springsteen with gospel music, he has been known to produce some hits within the genre. While not originally sung by Springsteen, he has done a wonderfully haunting version of this gospel spiritual.

It is the story of Mary of Bethany and how she pleaded with Jesus to hopefully raise Lazarus, her brother, from the dead.

The song O Mary Don’t You Weep is said to be the inspiration behind Bridge Over Troubled Water, another song that has been covered many times.

52. “The Best is Yet to Come” by Donald Lawrence

Lyrics To Inspire You:

He’s gonna make it worth your time
For all of the troubles you been through
The blessings double just for you
The best Is yet To come

Donald Lawrence was a Minister of Music before taking on music as a full-time career. He was based at the Southern Baptist Church in Cincinnati. He decided to change careers by becoming a director of music which saw him work with The Tri-City Singers.

During this time he released what is now known as an inspirational song called The Best is Yet to Come, which was a single taken from the album titled Go Get Your Life Back in 2002.

Some of the lyrics in the song have become inspirational quotes on social media, as well as for Christian literature.

53. “The Battle is the Lord’s” by Yolanda Adams

Lyrics To Inspire You:

No matter what, no matter what you’re going thru
Remember God sees all and He knows all
And all He wants to do is use you
For this Battle is not yours its, its its its its the Lord’s

Yolanda Adams never needs an introduction. Having sold over 10 million records worldwide, she has become known as one of the biggest influences and established gospel singers ever. She also ventured into TV too by hosting her own television show.

Born in 1961 in Texas, she went on to release an album titled Save the World in 1983 which featured the track The Battle is the Lord’s. It was a huge hit, with the song being crowned ‘Song of the Year’ during the Stellar Awards in 1994.

This was because it was re-released that same year for her Yolanda… Live in Washington record.

54. “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Hear me prayin’, Lord, Lord
Hear me prayin’, all on that day
Sinnerman, you oughta be prayin’
Oughta be prayin’, sinnerman

It is true: not all gospel songs began within the church, and instead outside of it. This is true for Sinnerman, which is based upon the traditional culture of the African-American spiritual. However, it was actually originally a folk song based in Scotland.

So, how did Nina Simone come about this song? It was something that she sang at church, having begun singing it at a young age. She then began performing the song herself.

It is often said that when she performed this song live, sometimes it would last for around 15 whole minutes. You might not want the live version for your wedding, however!

55. “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” by Van Morrison

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Just a closer walk with thee
Grant it Jesus, if you please
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, dear Lord, close to thee

Born in Belfast, Ireland, Van Morrison is known for producing some gospel hits. The one he wrote himself titled (Lord) If I Ever Needed Someone was released in 1967. In 1991, he released an album titled Hymns to the Silence which included two gospel tracks.

These included Be Thou My Vision and Just a Closer Walk With Thee, which are words that appear in the bible. The latter included some additional lyrics which were in reference to both Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.

Two singers on the tracks are Katie Kissoon and Carol Kenyon, who lend their voices to produce wonderful backing vocals.

56. “Oh, Happy Day” by Edwin Hawkins Singers

Lyrics To Inspire You:

Oh happy day
When Jesus washed
Oh when he washed
When Jesus washed
He washed my sins away!

If there is one song that will get everybody singing, it is this one. Oh, Happy Day is a 1960s gospel version of the hymn from the 18th century. It is also another hymn that has reached the Billboard charts.

In fact, this version by Edwin Hawkins Singers managed to reach the number 4 position on the mainstream charts. It also reached number 2 in England and number 1 in both Germany and France.

In the 1970s the group won a Grammy for being the ‘Best Soul Gospel Performance’ of the year. This song is perfect for the wedding couple to celebrate a joyous day.

Now that you have seen the list, hopefully, you have found some special songs to use for the big day. Hey, why don’t you use them all?

Whether you are making your own playlist or getting a DJ, there is no doubt that you will create the best soundtrack for your Big Day that allows you to dance along to your faith.

Do you have a favorite Gospel song to play at a wedding? Please share your song below in the comments!

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