Friday, September 07, 2012
One of my all-time favorite recordings is Gold City's mid-1990s release, Preparing The Way.
While I think it is one of the better representations of how classic quartet singing met a modern style, I cannot overlook the fact that what really makes the recording shine is the quality of the songs that are included.
One of those songs is simply titled, "Pray." I won't belabor you with all of the lyrics, but the first verse and the bridge are my focus today...Verse: Weary bodies, troubled minds...they will defeat you every time...circumstances all around you may look dim...but even if you have to crawl, Jesus wants to hear it all...you will be alright if you can get to Him.Bridge: When it's hardest to pray, sweet victory awaits...when you don't feel like praying, pray.
On the eve of Southern Gospel's largest event, let me offer those words the song's writer penned about two decades ago to everyone in Southern Gospel music. There are many artists who are discouraged as they watch the current down-trodden economy eat away at their livelihoods through record-breaking travel expenses. Record companies are continually dealing with the challenges of selling their product to a market that sometimes has to make the decision of "what do I give up in order to take this home with me." Concert promoters, regardless of their promoting territory, face surmounting obstacles in keeping their concerts well-attended and sustaining in a manner that will allow them to do another concert. All aspects of Southern Gospel music, professional and non-professional, performing and non-performing, have been witness to how quickly things can stack against continuing along the Southern Gospel path.
That's why it is imperative for anyone who is connected to Southern Gospel music—even just remotely—to do exactly as the song "Pray" suggests. Pray.
You may not feel like it. You might feel like you're reached the point that you feel your efforts are in vain. Your body may be weary, your mind may be troubled—trust me, you're not alone if you feel that way. Yes, the circumstances around you may not be bright. But that doesn't mean God has left you by the wayside. He's waiting to hear you pray, even at this very second.
Let's go a step further. As a follower of Southern Gospel music, what can you pray for? Naturally, pray for the message of the songs to touch hearts and lives. But let's drill down further. Pray that concerts will be well-attended. Whether they feature dozens of artists or just one or two, Southern Gospel needs every successful event that can exist. How about for the artists? Pray for their safety, their peace of mind that the uneasiness of being away from home is replaced by the contentment that God is in control, and that the work of the artist will not be in vain. Pray that new and wide avenues for getting Southern Gospel music product into homes will be present. Pray that those who have to make decisions that are far-reaching in the Southern Gospel industry will make those decisions on a Godly-basis for everyone's betterment and that he or she has genuine Godly peace about those decisions.
I could list many more things to pray about. And I'm sure you have many that you could add to my list. The important thing, though, is to do it. Pray.
Pray for yourself—and each other. Any and every individual who claims to be a member of the Southern Gospel music community in any way can do that. And, frankly, he or she should
do that as being able to pray for one another is a privilege. It's a way of praising the Lord, as it demonstrates our faith in Him and the Christ-like concern for our neighbor that He wants us to practice. We too often forget this and turn away when someone's trials do not personally touch us because we have too many of our own. That might explain why we don't pray, but it doesn't excuse why we don't pray.
Sweet victory does indeed await. The Bible has been proclaiming that for years. So when you don't feel like praying...Pray.