Petra at 50: More Power to Ya (1982)


In celebration of Petra turning fifty years old in 2022, here at I am going album by album through their discography and reflecting on the role their music has played in my life. In this post my focus is Petra’s fifth album, and one of their most famous, 1982’s More Power to Ya.

The Backstory

The additions of John Slick and Mark Kelly to Bob Hartman and Greg X. Volz, and the teaming up with Jonathan David Brown as producer, brought Petra to new heights with the Never Say Die album. Louie Weaver joined the band as drummer for the tour, which saw Petra do over 150 shows in a 300 day span, touring with Servant. 

For the first time in the band’s history, then, there were no lineup changes heading into their next album, for which they took five weeks off of touring to traverse the middle of nowhere in Texas to record. Volz has spoken about dealing with several scorpions, but no one was stung. Hartman, who has written and said in interviews that this is perhaps his favorite album, felt the atmosphere contributed to the vibe of the album.

Everything was clicking for Petra as they recorded what would become one of their most beloved albums.

Album Overview

This album builds upon the style and sound we heard on Never Say Die and with good reasons. It had been their most successful album to date, the band was the same (adding Weaver), and the producer stayed the same. The band began to find themselves with Never Say Die, and as Hartman puts it, with More Power To Ya they would find their audience and their ministry. 

Ten songs made it onto this album with a balanced combination of rock and roll, ballads, and even some blues. The production is better than ever. The backing vocals are solid. You get plenty of guitars and drums, but keyboards play an increased role. The sound is a bit warmer than the previous album. Each instrument has its moment on the album. However, the aspect that stands out more than any other is the songwriting. Hartman pens all but two on this album, but there are no duds. Indeed, some of Petra’s most loved songs are on More Power To Ya.

My Origin Story

I don’t think I bought this album until 2001 when I was trying to complete my collection, but there was no rush, as I was familiar with and already had almost all of the songs on this album on CD already thanks to compilation albums. Petra Means RockPetrafiedPetraphonics and others include most of this album. Plus, More Power To Ya was heavily featured in The Petra Youth Choir Collection, which I became very familiar with at church in 1989–90.

When I finally bought the album the songs I’d missed were filled in. I got to hear the album as intended. It had been a long time coming.

Album Information

  • Released: September 21, 1982
  • Album Length: 43:25
  • Recorded: June 1982
  • Label: StarSong
  • The Band: Greg X. Volz (lead vocals); Bob Hartman (guitars); John Slick (keyboards, synthesizer programming, backing vocals, arranging); Mark Kelly (bass guitar, backing vocals, co-lead vocals with “Disciple”); Louie Weaver (drums)
  • Additional Musicians: Steve Porcaro (synthesizers, synthesizer programming)
  • Producer: Jonathan David Brown (producer, track arrangements, recording at Indian Creek Recording, Uvalde, TX, and Rivendell Recorders, Pasadena, TX, mixing at Rivendell Recorders
  • Recording:
    • Brian Tankersley (technical assistance)
    • Steve Hall (mastering at MCA/Whitney, Glendale, California)
    • Petra (track arrangements)
    • T & T Designs (art direction)
    • Lisa Williams (layout)
    • Randy Rogers (illustration)
    • Petragram (sleeve illustration)
    • Bob Thigpen (sleeve photos)


  1. “Stand Up” (3:34) – Straight away you get big guitars, followed by keyboards and drums, a change in the way they started the last couple of albums to be sure. Lyrically, the song is a call to spiritual battle, like many of Petra’s songs before and after. The Christian life is spoken of in militaristic terminology and the believer is reminded “the enemy is on every side, but still no match for the Crucified.” Thus, we are “fighting the fight that we know we will win.” This is much more the type of opening song I would expect for a rock album.

2. “Second Wind” (4:45) – Next up is a rocking track which speaks to the resiliency of those whose faith is in Jesus Christ. The line about getting a “new revelation” is theologically murky, but it shouldn’t take away from the greater point of the song; namely, when we grow weary the Lord is still there, and through His Spirit and His word He gives us the second wind we always need. I love the driving guitar in this song and upon listening to album several times in preparation for writing this I have a newfound appreciation for the pounding drums.

3. “More Power to Ya” (3:38) – Next up is the title track, and it’s here we begin to see how Hartman’s songwriting continued to improve over time. The lyrics are based upon Isaiah 40:31. I was still six years away from knowing anything about Petra when this album was released, and my first memories of this song are youth choir in 1990. The older I get the more I appreciate this song. Few songs speak better to the hard road of the Christian, and the power of Christ to see us through it. Hartman writes about this song, “If we want to renew our strength, we must spend time with Him and allow Him to minister to us through His Word.” Hartman utilizes clever word-play in the lyrics: “But good things come to them that wait, not to those who hesitate, so hurry up and wait upon the Lord.” Hurry up and wait. A simultaneous call for urgency in the Christian life coupled with patient dependence upon God, whose power and grace are the source of all good things.

4. “Judas’ Kiss” (4:44) – As legendary as the title track on this album is, it may not be the most famous track on the album. In the late 70s and early 80s the use of backmasking in rock albums was a thing. Many Christian churches and organizations, particularly those with a Fundamentalist bent, suspected the use of Satanic messages being used. Thus, rock itself was evil in the eyes of many, and as been mentioned in previous entries in this series, Petra was made a target, a boogeyman of sorts, by some Christians. Petra’s answer was the start of “Judas’ Kiss,” which begins with a backmasking of Hartman saying, “What are you looking for the devil for when you ought to be looking for the Lord?” As for the song itself, it opens when a piercing guitar riff which might be the most famous guitar riff of any Petra song. The lyrics are speaking directly to Jesus: “I wonder how it makes you feel when the prodigal won’t come home. I wonder how it makes you feel when he’d rather be on his own. . . . It must be like another thorn struck in your brow. It must be like another close friend’s broken vow. It must be like another nail right through your wrist. It must be just like, just like Judas’ kiss.” A powerful song with some memorable guitar and plodding drums that pound pound pound pound.

5. “Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows” (4:18) – This and the two songs which precede it have to be in the running for the best three track run on any Petra album ever. It’s a heart-piercing song which begins with the quiet and familiar organ playing the tune of “Showers of Blessings.” You think you are listening to a soft ballad until it gets going a little later. The lyrics are a condemnation of pain-free, nuisance-free affluent type of Christianity, which is really not Christianity at all. Hartman kicks at the goads of superficial religiosity, safe within its own walls on sleepy Sundays while the world is dying on the outside. All the while the church is walling itself off from its own mission field. He writes, “When you have so much you think you have so much to lose. You think you have no lack when you’re really destitute.” Powerful lyrics along with a forgotten and underrated guitar solo.

6. “Run for the Prize” (4:31) – Here’s another solid rocker with a nice guitar intro and better solo. Lyrically it’s about a Christian who has gotten off track, and the listener is encouraged not to look over his or her shoulder at the past and risk getting further off track. Instead, focus once more on the goal of it all: Christ. Run for the prize and stay on the straight and narrow path which leads to life. 

7. “All Over Me” (5:52) – I used to not really care for this one, but with age I have come to appreciate it more. I don’t really care for the bluesy ballad musical style, but the lyrics are a reminder of the sinless Christ whose blood was yet for those He came to save, walking the listener through evens surrounding the crucifixion. It closes with a challenge to believe it, to believe in Him.

8. “Let Everything That Hath Breath” (4:23) – Greg X. Volz wrote this one and, as with the two he penned on Never Say Die, he has a penchant for praise rock songs. This one compares favorably to “Without Him We Can Do Nothing” and is right there with “Praise Ye The Lord.” It rocks. The driving guitar. Slick’s keyboard. Lyrics saturated in Scripture. And ultimately a call to praise the one true God grounded in how He has acted for His people throughout history.

9. “Road to Zion” (3:59) – This is another ballad and it is filled with imagery pointing the listener to the way that leads to life through a pilgrim’s journey filled with ups and downs. Using water, thirst, shadows, and light, these lyrics from Mike Hudson provide for one of the most memorable songs of the Volz era. For example, “Sometimes a shadow dark and cold lays like a mist upon the road, but be encouraged by the sight. Where there’s a shadow there’s a light.” I can’t stop there, though: “Sometimes it’s good to look back down. We’ve come so far, we’ve gained such ground. But joy is not in where we’ve been. Joy is who’s waiting at the end.” It’s all about Christ. I wrote above about how the song “More Power To Ya” showed how Hartman’s already great songwriting was just getting better, but this one is right there with it. I never appreciated this one singing it in youth choir. Maybe I had to grow up and go through stuff to get it. I feel I do now. Such a great song.

10. “Disciple” (3:29) – Written by Hartman, this song is unique because bassist Mark Kelly does co-lead vocals. The lyrics reflect a Christian whose desire is to count the cost and follow Christ, because the reward is greater than what will be lost in the world. The song is aspirational. What stands out to me is how the backing vocals blend with with the co-leads. If I was doing this song I’d change something, though. I’d have the song and album end right after the a cappella section starts with “I can’t wait to see Him.”

Ranking the Albums

  1. More Power To Ya – It’s hard to deny this album the top spot up to this point in Petra’s history. All cylinders on the Greg X. Volz era of the band were clicking with this album having both great rockers and ballads.
  2. Never Say Die 
  3. Come and Join Us
  4. Petra
  5. Washes Whiter Than

The #Petra50

You can tell from what I’ve written to this point how much I like this album. So where do the individual songs fall when we consider them in the context of Petra history up to this point? Well, not every song can make the list. There are no “bad” songs on More Power To Ya, but not all of them are Petra50 worthy. So we’ll go ahead and remove “Run For the Prize,” “All Over Me” (with great hesitation), and “Disciple” from consideration.

  1. “More Power To Ya” – The title track takes the top spot.
  2. “Chameleon” (1)
  3. “Road to Zion” – Just a fantastic ballad that really exalts Christ and shows Hartman’s great songwriting.
  4. “Come and Join Us” (2)
  5. “Angel of Light” (3)
  6. “Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows” – This song is known for its lyrics, which challenge the church to not be insulated, but fulfill its mission. But go back and listen to the guitar. It’ll surprise you.
  7. “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” (4) 
  8. “Let Everything That Hath Breath” – The third of the Greg X. Volz written praise rockers, and probably the best, by a small margin.
  9. “Praise Ye the Lord” (5)
  10. “Woman Don’t You Know” (6) 
  11. “Where Can I Go” (7) 
  12. “For Annie” (8)
  13. “Without Him We Can Do Nothing” (9)
  14. “Magic Mirror” (10) 
  15. “The Coloring Song” (11)
  16. “Magic Words” (12)
  17. “Why Should the Father Bother?” (13)
  18. “Walkin’ in the Light” (14)
  19. “Killing My Old Man” (15)
  20. “Stand Up” – Very solid Track 1.
  21. “Morning Star” (16)
  22. “Second Wind” – Better than solid rocker that is better than I remembered.
  23. “Mary’s Song” (17)
  24. “I Can Be Friends With You” (18)
  25. “Get Back to the Bible” (19)
  26. “Yahweh Love” (20)
  27. “Lucas McGraw” (21)
  28. “Backslidin’ Blues” (22)

Parting Thought

It’s not hard to see why this is Bob Hartman’s favorite album, nor it is difficult to understand why this album is remembered more than any other of the Greg X. Volz era. Seven of the songs place in my rankings, with four in the top ten, two in the top three, and a new number one! “More Power To Ya” and “Road to Zion” are two of the greatest ballads in the history of contemporary Christian music, much less Petra’s catalog. Additionally, the Petra sound of the Volz era that was rounding into form with Never Say Die was fully formed here, and I would argue this is the best sounding album of this Jonathan David Brown production era. More Power To Ya would stay on the charts for well over two years, significantly raising Petra’s profile and giving them the cache to headline tours, rather than just serve as a supporting act. You can hear the album here.

Petra was taking the Christian music world by storm. Come back for the next entry when we see how Petra responded with Not Of This World.

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