There is nothing more instrumental in drawing us into God’s presence than songs that glorify Him and honor the power of His love in our lives.
Here’s a look at 10 Christian albums of 2013 that make an exemplary effort at moving us, inspiring us, uplifting us and bringing us closer to Him.
Wow Hits 2013 by Various Artists
Wow Hits delivers the best of Christian artists with their biggest songs each year and the 2013 compilation album doesn’t disappoint. The two disc-set offers a total of 33 songs that will move and inspire you, and lead you to a place of worship. Some of the amazing tracks from multiple Dove Award and Grammy Award winning artists include “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord” by Matt Redman, “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman and “Busted Heart (Hold On to Me)” by For King and Country. The compilation spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.
Burning Lights by Chris Tomlin
Burning Lights is Grammy and multiple Dove Award winner Chris Tomlin’s latest effort which earned the distinction of being one of only four contemporary Christian albums that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The album also enjoyed three weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Christian Albums chart. The lead single, “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies),” also went to No. 1 on the Christian Hot Singles chart. The song is a beautiful reminder of how God goes before us in everything we do and surrounding us with armies of angels. As a worship leader, Chris Tomlin excels in delivering great worship records and “Burning Lights” is a shining example.
Zion by Hillsong United
The third studio album from Hillsong United reached No. 1 on the Billboard Australian Albums, Billboard U.S. Christian Albums and both the U.S. and Australian iTunes Top Albums chart, also hitting number five on the Billboard 200. The deluxe edition contains bonus tracks and a DVD. The internationally popular Australian band delivers an album designed to lead us into a place of worship and remind us that the Kingdom of God is established here on earth within us.
Precious Memories: Volume II by Alan Jackson
This album full of classic hymns including “Amazing Grace,” “He Lives,” “Just As I Am” and more is Grammy-winning country artist Alan Jackson’s follow up to his first Christian collection, Precious Memories, from 2006. The first installment went double platinum and the 2013 second volume hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart the week of April 13 and stayed there for six weeks in a row. Both albums pay tribute to his mother and contain some of her favorite hymns. The album provides a great opportunity to connect with God through some of the most beloved Gospel songs of all time.
Rise by Skillet
This ninth studio album by Christian rock band Skillet was released on June 25, 2013 and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart on July 13. It held the No. 1 spot for five weeks and then slipped for a week to return to No. 1 for two more weeks. Hit singles include “American Noise,” “Sick of It” and the title track “Rise,” which the group performed on TV on Conan. This record is dubbed by some as a kind of rock opera with the overall message being hope in a broken world. Rock enthusiasts can enjoy Skillet’s signature symphonic rock sound as the story unfolds. The deluxe edition contains bonus tracks.
How Mercy Looks From Here Amy Grant
Amy Grant does what she does best in her 17th studio album which is a soft departure from her upbeat pop sensibilities. This record is a tribute to her late mother and features collaborations with some great artists like her husband Vince Gill, singer-songwriter legend James Taylor, Sheryl Crow and the legendary Carole King. Faith, family and love are dominating themes. “Don’t Try So Hard” with James Taylor reminds us to lean on God’s grace and remember we are all worth it, even we when feel like we’re not. This record spent three weeks in Billboard’s Christian Albums No. 1 spot and the deluxe CD contains bonus tracks.
Wow Hits 2014 by Various Artists
The most recent compilation of contemporary Christian hits contains some incredible worship songs. The two-disc deluxe edition has 39 tracks in all including “Don’t Try So Hard” by Amy Grant (featuring James Taylor), “Overcomer” by Mandisa, “Hurricane” by Natalie Grant, and “You Are” by Colton Dixon. The album contains 15 number one singles and 15 more that charted in the top five. It has enjoyed peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, claiming the spot several times since its release.
Overcomer by Mandisa
The American Idol finalist has been inspiring fans with contemporary Christian songs ever since her show departure. Mandisa has enjoyed great success in the Christian genre with three Grammy nominations and multiple Dove nominations, including a special Dove Uplift Someone Award for her video of the title track of her fourth studio album, Overcomer. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and sends an overall positive message: We can do anything with Christ.
Let the Future Begin by Passion
This worship album was recorded live at the annual Passion Conference in Atlanta and features award-winning Christian artists Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Crowder and Christy Nockels. Meant to inspire and lead college students to revel in the Glory of God, the message and music impacts people of all ages. The album has 14 tracks and features hits like Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)” Kristian Stanfill’s “The Lord Our God.” It topped the Billboard Christian Albums chart for two weeks in 2013.
A Messenger by Colton Dixon
American Idol finalist Colton Dixon garnered a huge Christian fan base by openly declaring his commitment to Christ during his run on the show. Colton’s debut studio album, A Messenger, reached No. 1 on both the Billboard U.S. Gospel and U.S. Christian Album charts. His promo single for the album “Never Gone” also charted at No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Christian singles chart. The album marks a brilliant first effort and his signature rock sound and vocal power shines through, with an overall message of hope and power found in God’s eternal love. A Messenger notably won the 2013 Dove Award for Best Rock/Contemporary Album of the year. Colton is promoting the album while opening for Third Day on The Miracle Tour.