Worship artist and songwriter Meredith Mauldin teamed up with UpperRoom to release a collection of worship songs for their new album The Turning on DREAM Label Group.
The artist said the album comes from songs she wrote in her prayer closet.
Mauldin created a ministry called Song Lab, which specializes in helping worship leaders write songs from the heart, and spent seven years pioneering the worship and songwriting culture at the worship collective UpperRoom in Dallas, Texas.
But she wasn't always the praise artist she is now.
She and her husband were working in the entertainment industry — she as an actress and model — when the Lord met them "smack dab in the middle of it," Mauldin told The Christian Post.
They moved to Los Angeles, California, to be “lights” in the entertainment industry, but God had different plans.
Mauldin's husband fell radically in love with God and found a place that taught the Bible six days a week to the homeless. She explained that every message was “lay down your life. It's not about your life. It's about giving your life to Jesus and letting Him lead."
After hearing that message repeatedly, the duo ended up in the Middle East doing mission work.
"Through that, I just encountered the Lord saying, 'Would you be willing to lay everything down and be a worshiper of me?' It was just one of those things when the King of Kings asked you to do that, and you just see the magnitude of what that really means. Everything else just pales in comparison,” Mauldin declared.
The songwriter shared that God revealed to her that she was to worship Him in her missionary season. She began to explore what worship was.
"'Lord, what does it look like to truly worship you?’" she illustrated. “I don't want to perform for you. I don't want to perform for man; I want to worship you. And that has been our journey, and we're still just tapping the surface.”
Over the years, she began to sense something was missing in the worship industry.
"We're doing all the things, but what's missing? And as we started to look into it and I started reading the words, I'm like, ‘Wow, we're talking about ourselves. We're talking about what we want from God, what we want to do for God or what we want from Him,” Mauldin said.
“There's nothing wrong with that; there's corporate prayers and there are all those things, and they're beautiful, and the Lord knows we need them. He knows we need things. He's not opposed to that.”
"But I realized that when we would focus not on our needs and our lack, but we'd put that aside for a minute and start to focus on who He is, and what He's done, the room just shifts. It's like Heaven is attracted to the worship of Jesus,” she continued. “So when we would start to honor Him for who He is, and what He's done, all of a sudden, it's just like the ceiling opened up and like you couldn't help but worship Him.”
Mauldin also had a revelation of the power of "thank you."
“I was like, ‘Where are songs that just say thank you to God? And I couldn't find them, so we just started writing them,” the singer added. “It was just one of those things that we had such a revelation that we're going to write from that place of just wanting to honor and minister to Him. So that's kind of where it started.”
The new album The Turning is a result of that revelation.
She said the eight-song album came from “a dream I had of having songs that focus our eyes on Jesus. So I would say almost all of the songs are songs that I've sung for years in my prayer closet.”
"There are a bunch of reasons why I named it The Turning. One of them is to turn the eyes of the bride to Jesus to look at how awesome He is. But also the turning of a page. It's like we're turning to a new chapter. It feels like this is a new season, and the Lord loves to turn things for our good,” Mauldin maintained.
In 2021, Tennessee recording artist and worship leader Mackenzie Morgan went viral after she posted on social media that she can no longer “stay silent” about what she deemed heretical teachings of popular worship groups.
In her CP interview, Mauldin spoke about the criticism that some worship music is not scripturally sound and focuses on emotionalism.
"Emotions? I love that He gave us all of those things. He says, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your spirit, everything,” she said.
“He gave us our emotions; for us to love Him with our emotions is not a bad thing. Now, we can't base things on our feelings because feelings come and go with the wind. They can come and go with coffee or a good nap, but to align our hearts with truth, despite our feelings, and then to feel emotional about that, to me, is not emotionalism. It's basing our heart and aligning it with truth and responding to the Lord who deserves all of that.”
Mauldin noted that sports games are emotionalism, but worship of God, although emotional, is not fabricated emotionalism.
"To me, to be able to give that kind of an emotion to the Lord is an offering. It's not made to be distracting; it's not for other people. Just like David danced before the Lord and it looked like a distraction to some, he wasn't doing it for them. He was doing it for Him. So I think it's all the spirit behind it more than anything. It's like, 'Is my heart postured to give everything to the Lord?' Then I think it's an offering; it's not emotionalism, but that's my heart,” she added.
There are many expressions of worship, she added, imploring believers to teach the biblical words for praise.
“It's not just one expression. One of the words is 'tehillah praise,' which is that spontaneous combustion of the heart. There's also these ones that are 'hallel' like a hallelujah, it's to boast. It's to be glamorously loud,” she expounded.
“So there are all these different expressions, there's also praise that's reverent, that's bowing down — that's honor. There's so many different types of definitions in the word praise that we lump into that one word.”
She concluded by offering advice to other worship leaders: "Keep pointing them to Jesus because you can't worship what you haven't beheld. The more you begin to look at Him, and the more you start to encounter who He is, we were limited to what we know at this point, but the more you keep pursuing Him and starting to see Him in everything, it's hard not to respond in different ways. … You don't want to judge other people who are encountering in a different way than you."
She added: "The Lord loves your song the most. So even if you're not a songwriter, even if you're not a worship leader, for you to sing the little things that the “Lord has given you, sing your thanks to Him. It really does open the Heavens over your home.
The Turningalbum will be available to stream everywhere on July 29.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: email@example.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic