In 2008, CCM singer-songwriter Matt Maher released his major-label debut, Empty and Beautiful. Since then, he’s racked up three albums on the Top 25 Christian Albums chart, nine Grammy Award nominations, more than 20 GMA/Gospel Music Association Dove Award nominations, won the title of BMI Songwriter of the Year twice, and even performed in front of the Pope. With his distinctive style of southern rock and unique voice, he’s one of the most popular and important songwriters in worship music today. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Matt Maher songs of all time.
10. Empty & Beautiful
After releasing several albums independently, Maher released Empty & Beautiful, his major-label debut, in April 2008. It was a commercial success, reaching number 12 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart, number 6 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, and number 168 on the Billboard 200. It was equally well-received critically, with CCM Magazine saying it “sounds effortless, familiar and inviting, even though it plumbs the depths of theological truth,” and Christian Music Review praising Maher’s “message, his honesty and his conviction to put forth an album that would personally challenge me to re-analyze my life and ask myself the simple question.” The title track is particularly lovely – released as a single in 2009, it reached number 47 on the Christian chart.
9. Run to the Father (The Chosen Mix)
Run to the Father was co-written by Maher and Cody Carnes and first released by Carnes as a single from his 2020 album of the same name. Carnes’ version is beautiful, but Maher’s distinctive voice and sympathetic treatment of the lyrics make his later version from that year equally worth seeking out.
8. Look Like A Fool
Another gorgeous track from Maher’s debut next, this time in the shape of Look Like A Fool. With a feel-good vibe, big hooks, and a relatable message about not caring about what other people think or say about your faith and personal relationship with God, it’s a must-listen for every Christian who’s ever felt ridiculed for their beliefs.
7. Alive Again
Second albums can be notoriously difficult, but Maher aced the challenge with his sophomore outing, Alive Again. Released in September 2009, it drew rave reviews, with critics praising it as a sophisticated, well-crafted worship album. Commercially, it was an even bigger success than Maher’s debut, reaching number 6 on the US Billboard Christian Albums chart and number 126 on the Billboard 200. It spawned three singles, all of which performed well in the charts. The celebratory title track became particularly popular with fans, becoming the best-selling Christian and Gospel single on iTunes Rewind and earning a nomination for Worship Song of the Year.
6. Hold Us Together
Maher’s second album, Alive Again, is an inclusive, celebratory worship album full of well-crafted songs. It was well-received by both the critics (earning a nomination for a Dove Award for Praise & Worship Album of the Year at the 41st GMA Dove Awards) and the fans, who took the album to number 6 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and its second single, Hold Us Together, to number 6 on the Christian singles chart. It also managed to become the No. 1 K-LOVE song of 2010.
5. Because He Lives (Amen)
In 2015, Maher dropped his fourth studio album, Saints and Sinners. Profound, bold, and wonderfully crafted, it’s an album that highlights Maher’s place as one of the most gifted and inspiring worship songwriters in CCM today. Each song has heart, each has soul, and each has Maher’s unique voice at its center. Because He Lives (Amen) is especially lovely, with an intimate production that complements the personal message at its core to perfection. After hitting number 3 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart (Maher’s highest charting position to date), it was voted No. 1, on the Worship Leader’s Top 20 Songs of 2015 and awarded gold certification by the RIAA.
4. Rise Up
After sticking to the script for his first two albums, Maher threw away the rule book for his third outing and embraced a bold new direction. The sound was edgier, the emotion felt rawer, and Maher’s strengths as a songwriter became as obvious as his talents as a singer. Refreshing, exciting, and with a southern Americana vibe that had as much to offer secular listeners as the faithful, The Love in Between cemented Maher’s status as one of the most compelling artists in CCM. The album performed well in the charts, reaching number 7 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and number 97 on the Billboard 200, as did its second single, Rise Up, which reached number 23 on the Christian singles chart.
3. Turn Around
Maher may have adopted a bolder, more adventurous sound for 2011’s The Love in Between, but his profound, heartfelt songwriting was as touching as ever. On its lead single, Turn Around, he combines thunderous beats and funky guitars with an uplifting message that’s impossible not to be moved by.
2. What a Friend
Although Echoes became the first of Maher’s major label releases not to make the Billboard 200, it still performed well in the Christian charts, reaching number 5 in September 2017. It’s stuffed with beautiful songs, not least What a Friend. an upbeat, bouncy nugget of Americana with a big hook, an infectious energy, and an uplifting message about the joys of having a friend in Jesus. Released as the album’s second single, it hit number 10 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart.
1. Lord, I Need You
In at number one on our list of the 10 best Matt Maher songs of all time is Lord, I Need You. Released as the lead single from Maher’s 2013 compilation album, All the People Said Amen, the song became his biggest-selling single to date, reaching number 4 on the Christian album charts and certifying platinum shortly after.