I’ve long loved Psalm 34:1, “I will praise You at all times, your praise will continually be on my lips.” I want to praise God at all times—not just the good times, or easy times—but I so often fail to. I often default to whining, not worshiping. I often complain, rather than consistently praise God in faith. “The Valley” is an aspirational prayer that aims to determine: no matter what comes my way, I choose to bring you praise.
I need this song because I want it humming down in my subconscious on the hard days, in the uncertain seasons. The second verse gives the reason why we can face the future with fearless hope: because when we look back we see God has been faithful through it all to this point. Even though we’ve doubted and wavered, He never has. So in our present, we choose praise. With our future, we hold onto hope. And with our past, we remember that God hasn’t failed us yet, and his heart remains for us.
I met Cliff Sims years ago when I was leading worship in Alabama. Cliff is an incredible songwriter with a passionate heart for God and he sent me a rough demo of a song he’d started writing. He’d already done most of the hard work, and I loved it immediately! We worked together to finish it up and we’ve been leading it ever since.
The arrangement & sound of the song is triumphant, defiant even, because I didn’t want it to be a vulnerable cry as much as an assured resolution: No matter what, I choose to praise. Hebrews 13:15 says we are to “continually bring a sacrifice of praise.”
That’s what this song aims to do, because even if the cost is great, the treasure is worth it.