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‘For Me, It’s Jesus’: Actor Dennis Quaid Shares the Story Behind His New Song, ‘On My Way to Heaven’

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Actor Dennis Quaid shares how playing the part of Arthur in "I Can Only Imagine" left a lasting impact—one that inspired him to finish and release a song that he wrote for his mother, "On My Way to Heaven."


‘For Me, It’s Jesus’: Actor Dennis Quaid Shares the Story Behind His New Song, ‘On My Way to Heaven’

Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate’s new faith-based film, “I Can Only Imagine” debuted this weekend with an incredible $17.1 million launch as viewers flocked to theaters to see the inspirational story behind a song that touched the hearts of millions.

“You just let God take that over; let Him take care of that all. It frees you up in life.”

“I Can Only Imagine” tells the story of Bart Millard, founding member and lead singer of MercyMe, who wrote the famous words to the MercyMe song, “I Can Only Imagine”  in just a few minutes. However—as we learn in the film, it took a lifetime to craft the words that have made such a large impact.

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Dennis Quaid plays the the role of Millard’s abusive father who find Jesus later in his life, reconnecting with his son and finding peace after a lifetime of anger and suffering.

For Quaid, playing the part of Arthur left a lasting impact—one that inspired him to finish and release a song that he wrote for his mother, “On My Way to Heaven.”

“After Arthur, I started having the thought of not judging anybody else and that included myself. Because you just let God take that over; let Him take care of that all. It frees you up in life,” he shared at the National Religious Broadcasters’ convention.

Growing up in in a religious family, Quaid was baptized along with his brother at a young age. But it wasn’t until his 20s that he began the search for something deeper and more personal.

“I went around the world, actually, in my late 20s, and the question I had, as I went around the world was, ‘Who is God?’ I became a seeker, really. So I came back, and I read the Bible cover-to-cover. For me, it’s Jesus; it’s the red words of Jesus. How simple it is. There really is redemption in that.”

Quaid wrote the words to “On My Way to Heaven” but never finished the song or shared it with anyone. It was not until years later when he was cast in “I Can Only Imagine,” that the inspiration to finish the song came to him.

RELATED ARTICLE: What ‘I Can Only Imagine’ Teaches Us About Forgiveness

“There was grace that came into his life,” Quaid explains when speaking about Arthur’s story of redemption. “That’s the beautiful thing… about the good news that Jesus was talking about.”

So he finished the song and and sent it to his mother on her birthday, a woman with faith that, according to him, is “unquestionable.”

“I wrote it for my mother, but it’s my story,” he reflects. Watch the video below to hear more about the inspiration behind his own song and story.

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