The Purpose of Life
The Purpose of Life Website Ministry
Last Updated: 09/02/2012
You know...when the Rock is in your blood, it never leaves you! Petra was The Christian rock band to listen
to in the 1980's and early 1990's. They were the first 'proper' Christian rock band that I got in to in the early
1980's. They've really inspired me through the years, both musically, and most of all, spiritually. They
became widely known for their no-nonsense radical lyrics, and their powerful melodic rock.
It's often been said that rock music at its core is rebellious, aggressive and immoral - so how can rock and
Christianity mix? It's true that the majority of rock bands, particularly of the heavier variety, do live and
breathe the 'rock 'n' roll' lifestyle that often leads to a place of wasted desolation and emptiness, BUT
playing a certain style of music does not have to take you down that same road! A follower of Jesus, being
led by the Spirit, can play (or listen to) a variety of musical styles - without being dominated by fleshly lusts
and 'negative attitude.' I certainly enjoy the music of many rock bands, some secular & some Christian, but
that doesn't mean that I then have to take on the mantle of a rebellious immature teenager because of the
music! Once upon a time, I did act in such a way, but God took hold of me and changed me from within.
Now I'm free to love the music, while not condoning or living out the lifestyle! Anyhow, back to Petra!
On one of my visits to the US in the mid-1990's, I finally got to see Petra live in concert in Seattle. It was
due to the kindness of some fellow brothers giving me a ticket that I was able to go, which I am so thankful
for. And to top it all, Whiteheart were playing as well, who I've grown to appreciate even more (although
they're no longer together, their last album having been released in 1997, not long after I saw them).
I recall the time in my teens when I prayed to find a good 'Christian' rock band that sounded like Boston or
Journey, the kind of music that I really loved - a good AOR/melodic rock band that were Christians! And I
then discovered the Petra album More Power To Ya....and it fitted the bill nicely for me (even their album
covers were very Bostonesque with the spaceship guitars!)
Even though I really liked their earlier stuff from the
1970's and early 1980's, when Greg X Volz was
vocalist, I definitely grew to prefer the harder
rocking sound of the later 1980's, when new singer
John Schlitt was at the helm - particularly the
albums On Fire (1988), Beyond Belief (1990) and
Unseen Power (1991). The main guitarist and
prolific songwriter Bob Hartman took a break for
awhile during the 1990's, and it was during this time
that I lost interest in them for awhile as they tried
to find their place in the ever-changing music
market. It's a shame that I didn't get to see Bob H.
playing live as he wasn't in the band at the time I
saw them in concert.
Nevertheless, in 2003 Petra released one of their
most hardest rocking, power albums, with Bob
Hartman and John Schlitt together again - Jekyll
and Hyde, which I think is an excellent album.
Since that release, the band recorded a Farewell
live album/DVD and then went into retirement. I
think the DVD concert is really good, and there's
some welcome guest appearances from a couple of
'ex' Petra members.
There are so many great tracks on Petra's back
catalogue of albums (although I don't have all
of them), and many of these songs have
touched me deeply in spirit and soul. In
general, their songs are real statements of
faith and truth, with good, sound, biblical
lyrics, and they can be used for worship and
spiritual warfare (and I don't mean using your
Bible to bash someone over the head with it!),
as well as for just sheer enjoyment!
A selection of some of my favourite tracks are
on the Jukebox - a mix of ballads and
hard-rocking songs. It includes the track We
Need Jesus from Praise 2 that has John
Elefante (Kansas, Mastedon) and Lou Gramm
(Foreigner) on guest vocals.
I've just recently discovered that a reunion
concert CD/DVD has been released in 2011
entitled Classic Petra: Back to the Rock
Hit the Play button to listen to a selection of Petra tracks