Jonathan Cain, longtime keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, Journey, is gearing up to release his new Christian album, What God Wants to Hear on Friday.
Cain co-wrote the best selling hit, "Don't Stop Believin,'" for Journey and says his new album, What God Wants to Hear, is filled with personal songs about his faith journey. The first single, "Deeper than Deep," and the rest of the album was recorded at Addiction Sound, Cain's state-of-the-art studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
The 66-year-old musician admits that he has never felt this close to the Lord after working on this new record and hopes the songs will help others feel the same.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with Cain, in which he describes his upbringing and coming to Christ moment, as well as his marriage to Pastor Paula White, and the future of his ministry.
CP: Will you share your story of faith and where you are now in your relationship with Christ?
Jonathan Cain: I was raised a Catholic in Chicago at "Our Lady of the Angels." My father was a deeply spiritual, prophetic man, [who] I adored. I watched him pray as a boy and wanted to know the "Jesus" he shed tears for. I had my breakthrough at 6 years old and received the Lord, Jesus Christ. I was so swept up in the spirit, I told my parents I had future plans to enter the priesthood. In third grade, my first musical journey was when I sang in an elite choir in my Catholic school where we performed Gregorian chants in Latin. It was an Orthodox Catholic Church so there was incense and mostly Latin.
In 1958, there was a terrible school fire and we lost 100 children and three nuns. My faith had been shaken that day. My father explained the Lord had saved me for greatness. He believed it was for music so he enrolled me in music lessons. I found redemption in music and learned to flow in the spirit as I played, turning me away from the terrible tragedy. I had abandoned my plans for priesthood and replaced them with dreams of being a musician.
When I was 18, I went to a Baptist church with my girlfriend. and had a breakthrough when a pastor laid hands on me on an altar call. I wept that evening and realized how numb I had become with God and how He was calling to me for restoration. I received that blessing and went on to raising my three children in a Lutheran Church in the Bay Area as a member of Journey. Still, I felt my faith was on again off again until I met Paula White, who saw that the Lord had other plans; there was a weightiness to my spirit. She gave me the news that God loved me and wanted his son back. She spoke to the king in me and gave me new hope I could get right with God. The God I had hungered for; the Father I had been missing.
I asked to meet her spiritual father, Archbishop Duncan Williams, who assured me I was the man Paula had seen in the spirit. I asked him to baptize me in Ghana and I believe I had a supernatural breakthrough. After much repentance and atonement, I asked if he would marry Paula and I.
CP: How has your wife, Paula, played a role in your ministry (songwriting, ministering, etc.)?
Cain: Since our wedding, I have never been happier and started to write songs of thanksgiving and love from my heart to the Holy Spirit. Once it began, it has been a steady flow of lyrics and melody, I have been obedient. I continue to steward what He has given for me for such a time as this.
Paula has never pastored me but has been instrumental in leading me to necessary scriptures that helped complete many of my songs. She is transparent and apostolic with her faith and has lead me to follow in the mind of Christ. Something I had not been consistent doing. I guess God has a sense of humor, when he had a man that wanted to start his life as a priest, end up marrying a preacher.
CP: You said you found healing in music, how would you say God has used music overall in your life?
Cain: God has provided true musical and spiritual restoration. I doubted my creative spirit three years ago and God showed me a way to praise Him through song. It opened the door to a whole tapestry of images and concepts that were brand new for me and I continued on that path.
CP: You still actively tour with Journey, can you tell us about life on the road as a Christian with one of the most popular American rock bands of all time?
Cain: As a member of Journey, I have taken the role to minister to Make A Wish Foundation where we auction off guitars backstage, while playing tailgate toss. As a band, we have raised over $250,000 for Make a Wish. Recently, I have been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. While doing visits to hospitals, I have prayed over children with life threatening illnesses and continue to bring Jesus to every stage I walk on.
CP: What would you say is different about writing and singing worship songs than any other music you've done?
Cain: The different part of writing and singing worship lies in the identity and truth of God's Word and true intention for us as His followers on this Earth. In Journey, we have a style, a sound, and we sing about life, hope and love. But in worship, there is only one love — only one path to true salvation.
I was in Ghana, watching Pastor Noel Jones, preaching about supernatural acceleration. He said some of us didn't need to wait our whole lives for the anointing and if we got our minds out of the way, we could understand that higher realm. I got the idea that the Lord was doing just that in me and started to write the song, "Rush Into Me." The lyrics came quickly and it is still powerful for me when I listen to my CD.
CP: What do you think is in store for the future of your ministry or music with Journey?
Cain:I hope my music can minister to others and bring their hearts closer to God. It has been a different journey of faith and obedience and I am proud to give my time, treasure and talent to the Almighty. I have been blessed in my life and want to return my gratitude unto my Lord.
Journey will continue to tour and I hope the Lord will inspire me to continue to make new music again with this iconic band of rock and roll. For now, I remain His humble servant and continue to serve Him in my new ministry.
For information on Cain or where to order his new album, What God Wants to Hear visit his website, Jonathan Cain Music.