How Cory Asbury Maintains ‘Purity of Heart’ in Worship

Photo from Cory Asbury’s Instagram

How Cory Asbury Maintains ‘Purity of Heart’ in Worship

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Worship singer Cory Asbury opened up about his days leading worship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and how he tries to maintain the simplicity from that time in his life. 

“There was no goal. You just were trying to commune with the Holy Spirit. There was no end game. There was no goal to either have influence or money,” Asbury told fellow worship singer/songwriter Rita Springer on her “Worship is My Weapon” podcast. “It was just like, I want to sit in this room. Be with God as much as I possibly can and write songs out of Scripture.” 

As an intern, there was no money, but he eventually started to do conferences and other venues where he started to earn a little. 

“It was less than minimum wage always. But it was pure, and I loved the people that we were doing it with,” Asbury recalled. 

When he and his wife, Anna, had their first child, Gabriel, it would become difficult to continue at IHOPKC. 

“I was there every night for like six hours during the time that we should have been eating dinner together, putting Gabriel down together, reading bedtime stories and all that kind of stuff,” the father of four said. “And then it was clunky for life, clunky for family and community started to suffer because when you start having kids. It becomes a little more difficult to do what we were doing.” 

While Asbury doesn’t regret moving on from IHOPKC, he appreciates what it taught him about the simplicity at the heart of worship. 

“Every big, famous worship leader that I know started there,” he said. “They were David on the back hills of Bethlehem, worshiping with a harp and a bunch of…sheep, ya know, and no one cared. They didn’t make money for it. They didn’t have a platform for it.” 

The 38-year-old is also grateful for that time when he admitted that he felt “hidden” in that season before he had the platform or recognition that he has now. 

“[T]he hiddenness was so sweet. Because I would talk to God, and I would go ‘This sucks. Meet me in this place. Find me here,’” he told Springer. “I found such a sweetness and a tenderness there.” 

In 2017, Asbury found that recognition when his song “Reckless Love” became a hit, and the Bethel Music album by the same name reached number #1 on the Billboards Christian Album chart. That success would prove more challenging than that time at IHOPKC. 

“I think it’s probably because, you know, man is tested by the praise of other people, and I think that’s so much more difficult to maintain…that purity of heart in the middle of it,” Asbury said. 

He passed on some advice to upcoming worship leaders, stemming from his experience with notoriety. 

“A platform will come. Stay cleaning the toilets, stay…stacking chairs, showing off how many you can carry in youth group. I think that’s the stuff that gets you the crowns,” the singer said. 

He added, “The other stuff is peripheral, and it becomes the goal for a lot of us. But it’s peripheral, it’s a gift that God gives, but it’s not what we’re after.” 

“The Father’s House” singer said that he strives to remain humble and keep that “servant’s heart.” 

“I just try to stay approachable, stay humble, stay kind, stay human. I think that’s how Jesus was, and I try my best to do that for sure, and that’s really an intentional part of my life,” Asbury said. 

In a separate interview, Asbury shared how the trials in his life inspired some of his songs. “Reckless Love” came out of a time when his daughter, Lily, almost died, and the Lord used it to right “some wrong ideas” in his heart. 

“It was God’s kindness to go, ‘Hey, I’m allowing this to happen because you actually have all these fault lines in your heart where you believe that I’m mean vindictive, angry, spiteful, and I’m doing this to you because you’ve done something wrong.’” he told Tanner Peake on the “Redeeming Missions” podcast. “That’s a wrong paradigm and God’s like, ‘I want to root that out.’” 

Movieguide® previously reported on Asbury’s frightening experience after trying THC gummies for his chronic back pain and how the incident inspired “Only Jesus for My Pain”: 

 “It felt like my entire life played out before me, like the worst anxiety and fear and, like, I don’t even know [how] to explain it. I don’t know how to say it. I was so scared and I was freaking out, like just freaking out. I was crying my eyes out, and I had anxiety, like I felt anxiety,” he continued. “I was so scared for the rest of what was happening, and I looked at my wife, and that was in the middle of her dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety, and I looked at her and I was like, I know how you feel now.” 

“And I kept saying over and over, ‘I just wanted it to work. I just wanted it to work.’ And I just wanted it to fix me. I just wanted to feel better. I just wanted to fix my body,” Asbury added. “I wanted to fix the pain, and I wanted it to fix the pain so bad and in the middle of it, it did not fix me, in fact, it made my life considerably worse.” 

It was in that moment that Asbury gave his back pain to the Lord and began to trust that whatever happened with it in the future, he would give it up to Jesus rather than try to take it into his own hands. 

“All of a sudden, something hit me,” Asbury recalled. “I just kept saying, ‘Only Jesus for my pain. Only Jesus for my pain.’ He’s the only one that can touch it. He’s the only one that can either fix it or not fix it.” 

The Grammy-nominated singer’s latest song release is a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” 

“Landslide has been Anna’s and my song since I can remember. I send it to her every year on our anniversary to remind us that nothing can stop our love. It’s a beautiful, haunting reminder that no matter how old we get, no matter how much hardship we face, we’ll get through it – together,” Asbury posted on Instagram. 

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