Saturday, August 3, 2013

prayer minstrel: Robin Mark

 It is about time I got back on track with my blog series on prayer minstrels.
My mental energy seems to have been hijacked throughout July and I felt unable to truly focus. I am praying August is different for me.

One of the "prayer minstrels" I want to highlight this week is a worship singer/songwriter from Belfast, Ireland. His name is Robin Mark and we have all, at one point or another, been acquainted with him through his popular worship song, Days of Elijah. I have had the blessed opportunity to follow Robin Mark in the past 10 years, as well as meet him and his band members several times in Shiprock, NM and in my home-state, Arizona. It even got to the point where, last I saw him, he recognized me, my sister, and my dad! Thanks to my uncle who has corresponded with him, I have been able to "know" Robin Mark to an extent. He is truly a humble Irish-man, through and through. He is so down-to-earth, you wouldn't even think for a minute that he is such a well-known worship leader whose songs have been played in many churches across America and the UK.

I know Robin Mark has come out with various album over the years, but the two that really stand out are both of his Revival in Belfast albums. My family and I played his first Revival in Belfast so often that there are a billion scratch marks all over the disc. Whether in our living room, running errands, or taking a vacation, his music has been the soundtrack to our lives. You could say that his songs have traveled everywhere with us, in and out of a great many seasons. Yet, that is such a testament to the depth behind his songs, which are gentle, Celtic-styled ballads. They aren't ordinary, nor are they polished. I admire the fact that these two albums were live recordings because it grants the listener such a true feel for what his "concerts" are like - one big worship gathering! I truly believe these albums showcase the purity of heart that he and his members have regarding the worship of the Lord. It is sacred and unadulterated, as well as close to the Father's heart through Scripture-inspired songs.

 There is something that stirs in me when my ears catch the drifting notes of the bagpipe intro on the opening track, Garments of Praise. The whole intro is a tremendous powerful build up to the point when Robin begins to strum his guitar and sings "Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Let the oil of gladness flow down from your throne. Your joy is my strength alone, my strength alone." I am aware that I write (and talk) about crying a lot, but this is one of those songs that unearth a great cry in me! It pulls me straight to Jesus and I sing with them, "Make these broken, weary bones rise to dance again....wet this dry and thirsty land with a river..Lord, our eyes are fixed on You and we are waiting for Your garments of praise as we praise Your name..." This wonderful song ends in a fun Irish jig with a delightful violin solo as the choir starts up a hallelujah chorus. From tears to laughter, his songs will lead you to praise the Lord with all your heart.

In the moments when I have observed Robin leading worship, I have become very aware of what makes a worship leader a true worship leader. It is the unexplainable connection the worship leader draws with the people, ordinary people just like himself, when he begins to sing their soul-cries for them and walks them to the throne room of grace. That is what makes a true worship leader In truth, this is what my blog series is about. We call them worship leaders, but I think a more proper term is, as I have referred to it in my blog series name, prayer minstrels.

 A minstrel is usual defined as a musician, or a poet, who travels from place to place and plays among all the people. To the poor and to the rich, the minstrel finds his place among all classes of people. His, or her, song lyrics and melodies find a place with humanity's truest dreams.

 A minstrel plays the "heart-history" of the people, the undeniable, unifying themes, values, and desires that have been in the heart of man since we departed from the Garden of Eden, away from the presence of the Lord.

 It is the "God-shaped-hole", as it has been termed before, in each of us that gives rise to this insatiable longing for Something more, Something bigger and far more vast than all that we are and know.
I add the word "prayer" to describe these minstrels because, in essence, that is connected to what this kind of worship does. Prayer is the language of heaven, the way we communicate to the Lord and how He communicates to us through the Holy Spirit within us. Prayer is an intimate thing. It lays bear our souls before God and it opens wide the mind and heart of Christ to us. Thus, I use the term prayer minstrel to describe those among us called to communicate the heart and mind of Christ to us through the gift of song, as well as draw us into the haven of the intimate and restored relationship we have with our Lord. That is the place where we learn to worship God - the purpose for which we were each uniquely designed. The place where we are fully known by our Lord and He, fully known, to us. It is a sacred place. And, we, with the Spirit indwelling us, all have this daily, abiding reality of being worship temples. However, as is the case, many of us bear many burdens and carry the weight of the sad and harsh realities of this earthly life. We are all sojourners, just passing through, but there are a lot of things that get stuck on our feet and hands along this journey. Sometimes, all these harsh realities hinder us from freely worshiping our Lord as we wish. These difficulties even tempt us to think that our identity is something else other than who our God has told us we are in Christ. So, we oftentimes look like a half-way house instead of a brightly burning and polished worship temple. It's not who we truly are, but we feel so encompassed by the woes and insanity of this life that the last thing we think or feel capable of doing is burning brightly for Jesus. Therefore, this is the calling of a prayer go to God's people and be the one to impart the Gospel-truths to free and heal souls worn down by the burdens of this earthly-life, as well as to revive them in their relationship with the Father.

Another song by Robin that really meets us at our level is the song, Revival. He opens it with a verse from Isaiah to prepare the way of the Lord, then the rest of the songs enfolds he sings a revival of the Spirit of God occurring amongst ordinary people. The lyrics are beneath the song posted below. I have also included some of his slower, more simple songs such as Jesus, All for Jesus and When It's All Been Said and Done. Although his songs may be simplistic, the messages of them speak for us in a powerful way. These songs summarize the longing for our lives to count for something, to live up to our fullest potential, to be everything that were crafted to be. There have been many instances in my life when I have been led to a point of wanting to relinquish everything and all that I am to find that true freedom that comes in belonging to my Creator and walking out this life in the way He fashioned for me and to reflect those things that are eternal. I love that Robin's music draws me to that point, time and time again. His music is such a humbling avenue for the Christian. I believe that this has a lot to do with Robin and his band and the authentic worship-environment they bring with them wherever they travel.

I am truly thankful for the opportunities to get to know Robin and his band members because it really impacted my life at a young age (I was around 15 the first time I met them). Those are memories I still recall and treasure of, not merely just meeting the band members, but partaking in that refreshing and inspiring time of worship before our glorious Lord. 

On a last note, I should mention that Robin Mark did write a book a few years back titled, Warrior Poets of the 21st Century. It is available to purchase through It was really neat to hear him talk in person about that book shortly after it was released. His Irish humor and genuine nature really comes across in his book as he shares personal experiences, but also Scriptural studies on the significance of our identity as worshipers of the Lord.

Garments of Praise

I hear the voice of one calling, prepare ye the way of the Lord.
And make His paths straight in the wilderness
And let your light shine in the darkness
And let your rain fall in the desert.

As sure as gold is precious and the honey sweet,
So you love this city and you love these streets.
Every child out playing by their own front door
Every baby laying on the bedroom floor.

Every dreamer dreaming in her dead-end job
Every driver driving through the rush hour mob
I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones
You're going to send revival, bring them all back home

I can hear that thunder in the distance
Like a train on the edge of town
I can feel the brooding of Your Spirit
"Lay your burdens down, Lay your burdens down".

From the Preacher preaching when the well is dry
To the lost soul reaching for a higher high
From the young man working through his hopes and fears
To the widow walking through the veil of tears

Every man and woman, every old and young
Every fathers daughter, every mothers son.
I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones
You're going to send revival, bring them all back home

When It's All Been Said & Done

Jesus, All for Jesus

The Wonder of the Cross

 Perfume - this piece was actually written and sung by one of the ladies in his band and it truly captures the heart of Mary as she poured forth the finest ointment upon Jesus' feet. 


  1. Awesome!! Obviously I loved this post... It's been far too long since I've listened to him. I loved your paragraph about it being "the soundtrack of our lives" because it was the same in our home too. We listened to it so much on road trips and just everywhere and it helped heal the hardest seasons of life. I remember how often I would get chills as his songs built up to a climactic shout of praise. I love them all, but Revival has to be my favorite because it just inspired so many visuals in my head and heart. I remember I told Robin Mark I wanted to make a music video for it like 7 years ago when you guys came out to see them in Shiprock! lol! Awww I hope to see Robin again. ♥ God bless the Irish!

  2. I haven't read all of this yet but I just have to say I now have Garments of Praise stuck in my head, which is a very good thing. :)

  3. Love hearing from you both! :) Thanks! Enjoy the songs!
    Alexis - haha! I didnt know you told Robin that! That is funny! But, I can imagine you have had it all mapped out in your head. :) Yeah, I love how special his music is to both of our families and has brought a lot of hope for everything we have been through.