Five More Petra Songs that Taught Me the Truth
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Here at Rambling Ever On, we have written about Petra a lot. We’ve made no secret about how important their music has been to us over the years. Some time back, I wrote an article about five Petra songs that taught me the truth. You can read that here. And recently, we published our Top Fifty Petra songs of all time. So, even though we have covered their music extensively, due to their vast catalog and the sheer number of great songs they released, I felt it was worth discussing five more Petra songs and their impact on my life. To keep things as fresh as possible, I decided to pick songs that have not been covered on Rambling Ever On before. Let’s get started.
Petra taught me the importance of meditating and dwelling on things from above.
Song: “Think on These Things”
Album: No Doubt (1995)
Scriptural Support: Philippians 4:8
Whatever things are pure and true I want to think on these things Whatever things are filled with virtue Think on these things When my mind begins to stray I want to think the other way Think on these things Think on these things
If I were a betting man, I would wager that Philippians 4:8 is one of the most well-known Bible verses in the world. Not necessarily outside the church, but I’m confident it is within the church. We miss a lot about the Christian life if we fail to take to heart Paul’s words to the church in Philippi.
Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, pure, lovely, and of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.Philippians 4:8
Petra clearly felt this verse was important, so they decided to write a song centered around it. “Think on These Things” is one of the standout songs on No Doubt, their 1995 release. While No Doubt is not one of their strongest albums, I’ve always loved a handful of songs on it, and “Think on These Things” is right at the top.
In 1995, I graduated from High School and started college at Welch College. I had dealt with lust issues for my last few years of high school. It was a wedge in my relationship with God. This song was not only a comfort but it was a challenge for me during that transitional period. I should and could choose to think about other things. Things that were pleasing to God and spiritually beneficial to me. The final refrain in the chorus, “When my mind begins to stray” echoes in my mind to this day.
This is not the only song on No Doubt that covered this ground and helped fortify my defenses against lust. More on that later.
Petra taught me that a broken and contrite heart before God is a good thing.
Song: “Don’t Let Your Heart be Hardened”
Album: This Means War! (1987)
Scriptural Support: Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:13
Key Lyric: The whole song
I should probably just post the lyrics to the song and be done with it. While this is a very simple song, musically speaking, the lyrics, written by Bob Hartman, are profound and saturated with Scripture. It was and is easy to miss how counter-cultural the Christian life truly is. This song was always a much-needed reminder even if I didn’t want it. “Don’t Let Your Heart be Hardened” gently pulled me back to a better understanding of how believers should live out their faith.
Don't let your heart be hardened - don't let your love grow cold May it always stay so childlike - may it never grow too old Don't let your heart be hardened - may you always know the cure Keep it broken before Jesus, keep it thankful, meek, and pure May it always feel compassion - may it beat as one with God's May it never be contrary - may it never be at odds May it always be forgiving - may it never know conceit May it always be encouraged - may it never know defeat May your heart be always open - never satisfied with right May your heat be filled with courage and strengthened with all might Let His love rain down upon you Breaking up your fallow ground Let it loosen all the binding Till only tenderness is found
Petra taught me that as a Christian I should have different values than the world.
Song: “Marks of the Cross”
Album: Wake Up Call (1993)
Scriptural Support: Matthew 10:39, Luke 9:62
Praying, caring, loving, sharing These are the marks of the cross, ohh Giving, bearing, feeling, daring To lay down your life on the line Forgetting what you leave behind And willing to suffer the loss Of the marks of the cross
Wake Up Call is one of the most thematically consistent albums in Petra’s catalog. Most songs speak directly to believers and the church, urging, exhorting, and prompting dedication, conviction, and faith. “Marks of the Cross” is one of a handful of mid-tempo tracks on the album that pushes the listener to a more devoted walk with Christ. I first heard this album in high school and while the album as a whole took some time to work on me, I can honestly say this song stood out from very early on. The world values success, money, fame, and power. The marks of the cross, the marks of true believers, are very different. They are outward expressions of our inward transformation.
Petra taught me to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice instead of temptation’s siren call.
Song: “Think Twice”
Album: No Doubt (1995)
Scriptural Support: 2 Timothy 2:22
Hey, did you ever think twice Something inside says stay away Hey, did you ever think twice When there's still time you can go the other way Hey, did you ever think twice If you don't stop you're gonna' pay the price Hey, did you ever think twice
Covering some of the same ground as “Think on These Things” but coming at it from a different angle, “Think Twice” is the blinking, red light warning us that danger is ahead. Temptation can rear its head at any moment, any time. We are fools if we think we can walk through life with our defenses down. Too often, I have been a fool. “Think Twice” was another weapon in my arsenal in the fight against lust and temptation when I was a young man. It still is.
Petra taught me that boredom and peer pressure are a dangerous combination.
Song: “St. Augustine’s Pears”
Album: God Fixation (1998)
Scriptural Support: Romans 7:19
Now it's haunting me how I stole those pears 'Cause I loved the wrong Even though I knew a better way Not for hunger or poverty It was more than pears that I ended up Throwin' away...
God Fixation is a tricky album. Compared to some of Petra’s great albums, it falls short. But, over the last few years, my appreciation for it has grown considerably. While it still fails to reach the highs of the past, there are many wonderful tracks on the album. “St. Augustine’s Pears” has been and will likely always be my favorite song from the album. For one, the melody and guitar have a classic, rock and roll sound to them. But, what makes the song work best, is the storytelling quality employed for the lyrics.
Bob Hartman didn’t write a lot of stories, so this feels like something new and fresh from the band. It recounts the classic story about St. Augustine stealing some pears when he was a young man, even though he wasn’t starving or in need. In fact, he didn’t even really like pears. The allure of sin is ever-present and powerful. It’s even more powerful when we grow bored with our day-to-day and when we surround ourselves with friends whose “paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.” The moral: Don’t grow weary of doing good and choose good and godly friends. Message received, Petra. Message received.
Five more times Petra taught me much-needed lessons. How about you? What Petra songs taught you the truth? What Petra songs encouraged, exhorted, challenged, or convicted you? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media accounts. Thanks for reading.
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5 thoughts on “Five More Petra Songs that Taught Me the Truth”
Thanks, Phill. I love it when song lyrics teach Scriptural truth, and how they can guide and fortify our lives.
Let Not Your Heart Be Hardened was and contiues to be a pivotal song for me. I am easily jaded by personality and it has always bern been difficult to trust others. This song is a reminder both of how ineed to be before God as well as toward other people. Hard hearts are easy, flesh hearts can heart, but they heal rather than break.
I agree completely. Thanks so much for sharing.
Thank you for this post. I found it while searching for the lyrics to Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened. Petra sings the songs of my soul. I grew up in the 80’s and Petra was very controversial at the time. (Christian Rock was considered an oxymoron in those days.) My favorite Petra album is Petrophonics – it’s a collection of their more ballad type soft rock songs. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. The Road to Zion really spoke to me as a teen. Later Fools’ Gold really resonated as a young adult in college – “I’d rather be a fool in the eyes of man than a fool in the eyes of God!” still applies to me today. Thankful Heart, More Power to Ya, First Love – so many wonderful songs that taught us the truth in a way that has stayed with us for DECADES. Can you say that about the hundreds of sermons you heard in church? I can’t. There’s something to be said about music with a clear, heartfelt message.
By the way, I was wondering – has Petra ever released “the story behind the song” for any of their music? I was looking this morning for the story behind, Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened, but I didn’t find anything. Do you know if anything like that exists? TIA!
Thank you for keeping the music of Petra alive by posting it on your blog! ❤
Thank you so much for the comment. Sadly, I don’t know of any “behind the story” out there for most of their music.