February 15

Gospel Joy V: Happiness is the Lord

Fort Worth, Texas (1974)

Ira Stanphill was driving home from his church office. He turned his car radio on and up came ads for some establishments’ alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and terms related to “happy hour” He pondered on the word “happiness” and told himself that happiness does not come with those things in the commercial, but with knowing Christ. As his musings deepened, he started singing; making melodies and words as he drives along. That same day, “Happiness Is the Lord” was published.

The Song

“Happiness Is the Lord crossed both national and international borders. From the US, it made its way in Europe. Years later, the melody of the said gospel tune could be heard ringing in the Asian air. Guess the song’s too infectious to be ignored.

For the content, Ira Stanphill details why real joy can only be possible through having a personal relationship with Christ. Since ‘happiness’ is one of what people seek in life, God is no monster to withhold it from us. He provides lasting joy as we make our trip leading to heaven.

“Happiness is the Lord” by The Heritage Singers

The Songwriter

Gospel Joy V: Happiness is the Lord 1

Ira F. Stanphill

 (February 14, 1914 – December 30, 1993)

He wrote more than 550 gospel songs. Among the classics were “Mansion over the Hilltop, “Room at the Cross,” and today’s featured song, “Happiness Is the Lord.”

His Songwriting

As expected from composers, Ira Stanphill’s songwriting happens in unusual hours and places. People were an essential part of his methodology. Before the service commences, he’s known to ask people around to contribute or to share their inputs on what they think would make a good Christian song. As the church and the choir sings, he’ll be busy scribbling lyrics and assigning melodies to new songs. Before the service ends, the song/s would then be ready. Mr. Stanphill would go to the podium and sing his new composition for the congregation.


gospel, Gospel Joy, Ira Stanphill, songwriters

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