Matthew West, ‘Don’t Stop Praying’: Story Behind the Song [EXCLUSIVE]

Matthew West has another hit single on his hands, with “Don’t Stop Praying.” The song, which marked the biggest streaming debut in West’s 20-year career, is very personal to West, while also resonating with his fans all over the world.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever had a song that I felt like was connecting with an audience this early, this much,” West tells Everything Nash. “There’s something special that seems to be taking place. The message of the song seems to be resonating in a special way. I love it. I love the song so much, and it means a lot when other people love it too.”

It was an encounter with a couple at a meet-and-greet in Greenville, South Carolina that inspired West to write “Don’t Stop Praying,” penning it with his good friend and frequent collaborator, Jeff Pardo.

“They were very happy to be there, but we were going to take a picture, and before we took the picture, they said, ‘Hey, would you keep us in your prayers … We’re excited to be at your concert tonight, here in downtown Greenville. But tomorrow morning, we’re going to be down the road at the hospital,'” West recalls. “It was because his wife was battling breast cancer, and was going in for surgery.

“I just felt the heaviness of that moment, the weight of the fact that that night they were at my concert, and I was going to get the chance to sing for them,”  he adds. “But the next morning, they’re going in for the fight of their life.”

As a popular Christian artist, West is no stranger to people asking him to pray for them. It’s a request he takes seriously, often choosing to take immediate action instead of putting it off until later.

“I’ve been trying to get in the habit of just saying, ‘Let’s do that right now,'” West explains. “And so that’s what we did. There were 100 people in line behind them, and we just stopped the line, and we bowed our heads, and we said a little prayer in that moment. That started to happen more and more often, and I started to realize how many people were asking me to pray for them, and how many times I was stopping the line to do it.

“I got home to Nashville after a tour stop, and thought, ‘That feels like something I need to put to music,'” he adds. “I was just inspired by people’s determination to pray. No matter what they were going through, they were praying to a God they believed would get them through. I felt like that was a message that would resonate, so that’s what made me put pen to paper.”

West’s sixth book, My Story, Your Glory, is out now. Find the new book, “Don’t Stop Praying,” and all of West’s music and upcoming shows, at

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elicity Public Relations / Hannah Burton