By Danny Jones
Friday, May 2, 2014
Cakes. Pies. Cookies. Gift cards for restaurants. Every weekend, there's a Southern Gospel artist(s) who receives one (or more) of these from well-meaning fans. You can add to the list things like sport teams hats, T-shirts, and other gifts.
And they appreciate it.
There's nothing really wrong with those tokens of appreciation. It is true that some fans can get a little carried away but things usually work out just fine.
But if you really want to do something to support Southern Gospel music artists—something that is truly needed—I'd like to suggest this: Pray.
We all know that God is on duty 24/7. As Christians we've been taught that His office never closes, and He never hangs out a "Be Back Tomorrow" sign. Less emphasis, however, seems to have been placed on the fact that the devil doesn't shut down at 5 p.m., either. That troublemaker his own "Open 24 Hours" sign.
The people who perform Southern Gospel music are not mythical superhuman figures who are immune to what the everyday person faces in life. And while I'm not minimizing anyone's issues when I say this, I have to wonder if many artists face more than their share of troubles and obstacles because they are so driven to do something for God.
Those who read my blog often know that I usually have a light-hearted approach to my writing. I assure you, however, I've never been more serious as I am right now. As I write this, I know artists within our community who are dealing with financial difficulties, artists who are facing marital issues, artists who are struggling with questions about their calling on their lives, artists who are wondering if their ministry can survive one more setback, artists who are afraid to leave town because it might be the last time they see a loved one, artists who are fighting depression because they are watching their kids grow up without them, and there's so much more.
Meanwhile the devil just keeps pushing a little harder, grinding a little deeper. And he's laughing the whole time.
I love what John Bunyan, writer of "The Pilgrim's Progress," said centuries ago: Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. Those words help to show why we need to continually pray for those in Southern Gospel music (and, yes, elsewhere). They need support from every angle. We need to be bombarding the portals of Heaven with pleas on their behalf. When we make the comment "I'll pray for you," that doesn't mean we say it, walk off, and forget it within 30 seconds—it means we do it. You don't have to wait until Sunday to pray for these people. There's no need to wait until you see them so you can meet them at the bus door. Just do it. Do it now in your office, in your car, in your home, wherever.
Just do it.
Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer. But that doesn't mean it was the only day of prayer. We all have plenty we need to pray over—just my list alone would require a National Century of Prayer. But now, more than ever, remember this group of special people. They need it.
And they appreciate it.