Bart Millard's Story Behind

Mercy Me’s Bart Millard shares the heart-rending story behind the beautiful song “I Can Only Imagine.” This song touches a part of the heart that yearns to meet with God in the world where there is no pain, no sorrow, and no sufferings of this world. From the moment the piano music begins to softly play, all focus becomes directed to the Lord. The lyrics show us a glimpse of the world of peace where all our worries are no longer superficial, but only for the glory of God. Millard simply expresses all of mankind’s deep thirst for completion in God. Here is the story behind “I Can Only Imagine” by songwriter, Bart Millard.

When my father died of cancer in 1991, he left me with the assurance that he was headed to a better place. He used to always tell me that I was getting the raw end of the deal because I had to stick around here. For several years following his death, I would find myself writing the phrase, I can only imagine, on anything I could find. That simple phrase would give me a peace and a hope thinking about what my dad was finally experiencing.

Years later, in 1999, MercyMe was writing songs for an independent project. I remember coming home from a show and being wide awake on our bus at 2 o'clock in the morning. I was trying to write lyrics in an old notebook of mine, when all of a sudden, I stumbled across that phrase. About ten minutes later, the song was written. Some people say it's amazing that it was written in ten minutes, when really it had been on my heart for almost ten years.

I Can Only Imagine
Words and Music By Bart Millard (MercyMe)
c 2001 Simpleville Music/ASCAP

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me
I can only imagine

Chorus
Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for your Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine
I can only imagine when that day comes
And I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Chorus

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine