When Mercy Me released “I Can Only Imagine” in 2001 it was one of the first Christian songs that I had ever heard on the radio. I remember thinking about the lyrics and truly imagining how my heart might feel when the time would come for me to meet Jesus. At that point in my life, it wasn’t something that I had thought much about, but the music and the words of the song stirred my soul.

It turns out that I wasn’t the only person who was moved by the song. “I Can Only Imagine” has since become the best selling Christian song of all time. Perhaps this is because it is more than a song, it’s a prayer for those who hear it.


Article continues after advertisement:

Though I’ve listened to the song countless times through the years, I wasn’t aware of the powerful story behind the lyrics. In a newly released film named for the hit song, we are able to get a glimpse into the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that led Bart Millard to write “I Can Only Imagine.”

I Can Only Imagine Trailer

I was stunned to discover that the inspiring songwriter Bart Millard had come from such a difficult past. A mother who abandoned him, a father who beat him, and a series of failures in his music career almost kept Bart from receiving the fullness of God’s love and mercy. Almost.


Article continues after advertisement:

“I Can Only Imagine” is an uplifting film that reminds us with God all things are possible. Families will enjoy the themes of forgiveness, hope, and perseverance in the face of difficulty. Christian music fans will enjoy the soundtrack and references to old favorites in the industry. Everyone will enjoy watching the true story of lives that have been transformed and are now lived for the glory of God unfold.

“I Can Only Imagine” is now playing in theaters. Though not suitable for a younger audience because of some of the family violence, this film is worth seeing.

Think Deeper

  1. Prior to watching the film, what did you think of the song “I Can Only Imagine”? How did it lead you in prayer? What are your thoughts on the song after watching the movie?
  2. What surprised you most about Bart Millard’s story?
  3. What were some of the things that held Bart back during his career? What changed that?
  4. It takes courage to forgive those who have hurt us deeply. Is there someone in your life you need to forgive?