Stand By the Cross

teasley_do

(photo of Daniel Otis Teasley)

STAND BY THE CROSS

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother…” (Jn. 19:25)

     INTRO.:  A song which exhorts us spiritually to stand by what the cross of Jesus represents just as Mary physically stood by His cross is “Stand By the Cross.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Daniel Otis Teasley, who was born on October 25, 1876, in Christian County, Illinois, the son of James A. and Rhoda A. (Hamilton) Teasley. He entered the ministry of the Church of God denomination in 1896, and served in New York.  On January 31, 1901, he married Ora J. Howard in Rootville, Crawford Co., PA. Sometime after 1910, he became General Manager of the Gospel Trumpet Company, where he worked until 1917. He then worked as general manager of Warner Press (1917–18).

Teasley wrote several books such as Historical Geography of the Bible, The Holy Spirit and Other Spirits, How to Conduct a Sunday School, The Gospel Guidebook, and The Bible and How to Interpret It.  Also, he co-edited a number of hymnals including Salvation Echoes, Truth in Song, and Songs of Grace and Glory.  And he produced many hymns.  “Stand by the Cross” was copyrighted in 1907 and first published that year in Truth in Song: for General Gospel Work, which Teasley co-edited with Barney Warren, Andrew Byers, and Clarence Hunter for the Gospel Trumpet Company of Anderson, Indiana.

The song was used in The Gospel Message in Song compiled by Flavil Hall and Samuel H. Hall and published by F. L. Rowe in 1910 for use by churches of Christ.  This same book contains another song, “The Glory of God” with words by Mrs. H. Leo Boles, for which Teasley provided the music.  Teasley died on November 15, 1942, at Santa Ana in Orange County, California.  His body was buried there in Fairhaven Memorial Park.  The inscription on his gravestone reads:

DANIEL O. TEASLEY

1876 – 1942

WHEN TIME AND ETERNITY MEET.

“Stand by the Cross” also appeared in the Hymnal of the Church of God, 1953.

The song stresses how important it is for us to be faithful to what the cross stands for.

I. Stanza 1 tells us when to stand by the cross

Stand by the cross when the morning sun

Beams on your way so bright;

Stand by the cross when the shadows fall,

Soon we shall triumph for God and right.

  1. We must stand by the cross in the morning when the first beams lighten the sky: Ps. 5:3
  2. We must stand by the cross during the day when the sun shines bright: Ps. 19:4
  3. We must stand by the cross in the evening when the shadows fall: Ps. 141:2

II. Stanza 2 tells us where to stand by the cross

Stand by the cross till the day is done,

Firm to the end and true;

Trust when the battle is raging wild,

For there is waiting a crown for you.

  1. We must stand by the cross till the day is done: Jn. 9:4
  2. But we must stand by the cross where the battle rages to fight: 1 Tim. 6:12
  3. And we must stand by the cross faithfully to gain the crown: Rev. 2:10

III. Stanza 3 tells us how to stand by the cross

Stand by the cross like a soldier strong,

Fearlessly face the foe;

Soon shall the army of night recede,

Back from the morning’s triumphant glow.

  1. We must stand by the cross as strong soldiers: 2 Tim. 2:3-4
  2. Thus, we must stand by the cross fearlessly facing the foe: Eph. 6:10-12
  3. And we must stand by the cross through the night until morning: Ps. 30:5

IV. Stanza 4 tells us why to stand by the cross

Stand by the cross till the Lord returns,

Faithful through life’s last test;

Soon we shall hear from His blessed lips,

“Lay down thy armor and be at rest.”

  1. We must stand by the cross because the Lord will return: Acts 1:11
  2. We must stand by the cross because He wants us to be faithful: 1 Cor. 4:1-2
  3. We must stand by the cross because we want to hear Him say, “Well done”: Matt. 25:21

CONCL.:  The chorus reemphasizes how vital it is for soldiers of Christ to stand:

Stand by the cross, soldier, stand,

Victory will come by and by;

Stand by the cross, soldier, stand,

And we’ll conquer though we die.

As soldiers in Christ’s army, we are to wage a good warfare that we might gain the final victory.  In order to accomplish this goal, we must “Stand By the Cross.”

stand by

I’ll Follow

“I’LL FOLLOW”
“…Let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24)

     INTRO.:  A song which expresses the desire to deny self, take up the cross, and follow Christ is “I’ll Follow” (#187 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  According to most sources, the text was written and the tune was composed both by James Cleveland Moore (1888-1962). A Missionary Baptist preacher, song writer, and singing teacher in Spaulding County, GA, Moore attended the old Draketown Baptist Institute, which no longer exists, Mercer University, and the University of Florida.  After becoming a minister, he served at Funstron, Alma, Moultree, Glenwood, Willacoochee, and Abbeville, GA; at the Bethel Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Sycamore, GA; and in Hawthrone, FL. Also he served for two years as president of the Georgia-Florida-Alabama Tri-State Singing Convention, and was president of the Southern Singers’ Association of Georgia. It is estimated that he produced over 500 songs; sales of his phonograph records ran into the millions.

Probably Moore’s best known song is “Never Grow Old,” dated around 1914.  Nethymnal lists two other songs by him, “I Believe in Jesus” and “Inside the Gate.”  One of his last hymns, “Thou, O Christ of Calvary,” was produced for inclusion in the Baptist Hymnal published in 1956 by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  For reasons that I have not been able to determine, Hymnary.org attributes the song “I’ll Follow,” with the first line, “I’ve heard my Savior calling” and the chorus beginning “The way is very narrow but I’ll never follow,” to William C. Stokes.  In Sacred Selections, it is listed as copyright 1930 by J. C. Moore and very likely first appeared in the Sunday School and Revival Songs No.2 published by the Morris Henson Co. of Oklahoma City, OK, in 1933.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song may currently be found in Sacred Selections.

The song gives several reasons why we should follow Jesus

I. Stanza 1 says that we should follow Jesus because He will make us free from sin

“I’ve heard my Savior calling,

‘Take up thy cross, follow Me.”

In tender tones He is pleading,

‘Come now and from sin be free.’”

  1. Jesus calls us to come to Him: Matt. 11:28-30
  2. He asks us to take up the cross, symbolizing the commitment to accept the responsibility to do His will no matter what: Lk. 14:27
  3. In return, He promises to make us free from sin: Rom. 6:17-18

II. Stanza 2 says that we should follow Jesus because He will always be near us

“Though He may lead through the valley,

And sometimes the way seem so drear,

‘Tis joy to know He is with me;

My Savior is always near.”

  1. Leading us through the valley symbolizes a place of danger: Ps. 23:4
  2. Sometimes the way seems so drear because man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble: Job 14:1
  3. But regardless of this, Jesus has promised always to be with His people: Heb. 13:5-6

III. Stanza 3 says that we should follow Jesus because He will enable us to conquer

“Sometimes He leads to the conflict

Where foes, strong and mighty, assail,

But in His strength I can conquer;

Through Him I can e’er prevail.”

  1. Sometimes He leads to the conflict in which we must fight the good fight of the faith: 1 Tim. 6:12
  2. In that conflict, foes who are strong and mighty, assail us: Eph. 6:12
  3. However, by following Jesus we can be more than conquerors through His love: Rom. 8:37

CONCL.:  The chorus continues to point out the importance of following Jesus.

“The way is very narrow but I’ll follow,

I’ll follow, I’ll follow;

The way is very narrow but I’ll follow,

I’ll follow Jesus all the way.”

The gate is strait and the way is narrow which lead to eternal life, but Jesus tells me that this is the road which I must travel to receive His blessings.  Therefore, I must resolve that concerning the path that Jesus has laid out before me “I’ll Follow.”

ill follow

God in Heaven Answers Prayer

ingalls

(photo of Vivian C. Ingalls)

GOD IN HEAVEN ANSWERS PRAYER

“And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place; and hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place…” (1 Ki. 8:30)

     INTRO.: A song which points out that God will hear in heaven the prayers of His people is “God in Heaven Answers Prayer.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Vivian Chaney (Mrs. C. M.) Ingalls, who was born on Oct. 27, 1898, near Corsicana, TX, the daughter of Francis Marion Chaney (1875–1953) and Dora E. Wilkerson Chaney (1881–1966).  When she was five years old, the family, who had been Louisianians, moved back to Louisiana.  While she was very young, she was taught by her mother to read music, and later she attended several singing schools, but most of her musical knowledge was acquired in college, attending Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA, and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.

In 1921, Vivian married Charles Martin Ingalls (1893–1971).  He later became a high school principal.  Vivian’s song, “God in Heaven Answers Prayers,” was copyrighted in 1940 by the Hartford Music Co. in their book Crowns of Glory.  Also she authored other songs.  After spending many years teaching music in public schools, she taught at Crowley’s Ridge College, a private, four year, coeducational Christian liberal arts college in Paragould, Arkansas.  While the institution is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, students of all religious backgrounds are welcome.

After she retired from there in 1969, Vera and Charles evidently returned to Louisiana.  According to the Springhill, LA, Press and News-Journal (May 19, 1971), graveside services were held in the Evergreen Cemetery at Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana, for Charles, who had been a long time resident and principal of Evergreen High School for many years and died on May 10, 1971, at the age of 77 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. At the time of his death he and Vera were living in Shreveport, LA.  “God in Heaven Answers Prayers” was used in Our Garden of Song compiled in 1980 by Gene C. Finley.  Vivian died, aged 87, on Dec. 28, 1985, at Shreveport, LA, and is also buried in Evergreen Cemetery at Minden.

The song encourages us to pray.

I. The first stanza talks about when to pray

Christian friend, as down life’s pathway

You are traveling day by day,

Burdened down and almost sinking in despair,

Heavenly blessings not receiving

Just because you are not asking,

Look to God for He will hear and answer prayer.

  1. Jesus said that we ought always to pray: Lk. 18:1-8
  2. We should especially pray when we are burdened down with care: 1 Pet. 5:6-7
  3. Many times we do not receive simply because we do not ask: Jas. 4:2

II. The second stanza talks about why we should pray

All the world will try to taunt you,

Saying, “God’s too great to see

All the trials Christians meet with everywhere;”

But, thank God, His word assures us

That He hears our earnest pleading.

Yes, our Father up in heaven answers prayer.

  1. The world taunts us by saying that prayer is useless: Ps. 94:1-7
  2. But God’s word assures us that the prayers of the righteous will avail: Jas. 5:13-18
  3. Therefore, we should pray because God’s ears are open to His people’s prayers: 1 Pet. 3:12

III. The third stanza talks about how to pray

When we’ve prayed hard and received not,

‘Tis because we’ve asked amiss,

And our lives are not in tune with heaven fair;

Let’s live closer to our Master,

Let the Holy Spirit guide us,

Then we’ll see that God in heaven answers prayer.

  1. Sometimes when we pray, we don’t receive because we ask amiss: Jas. 4:3
  2. Thus, we should strive to draw nearer to God by cleansing our hands, purifying our hearts and humbling ourselves before Him: Jas. 4:8-10
  3. And we should always seek to let the Holy Spirit guide us through His word: Eph. 6:17

CONCL.: The chorus reminds us that if God sees the sparrow fall, then He knows our cares, pain, and burdens

Jesus knows our cares and trials,

Knows each heartache, knows each pain,

Knows each heavy burden that we have to bear;

If He marks the sparrow’s falling,

Then He’ll hear our feeble calling.

Go to Him for God in heaven answers prayer.

Prayer is not an exercise in futility, as the materialist suggests.  It’s not even merely a beneficial psychological phenomenon. For the Christian, it is actually talking to the heavenly Father with the firm conviction that “God in Heaven Answers Prayer.”

god in heaven

Jesus Through Samaria

“JESUS THROUGH SAMARIA”
“And He must needs go through Samaria” (Jn. 4:4)

     INTRO.:  A song which uses the Biblical record of that time when Jesus went through Samaria to make some applications for us today is “Jesus Through Samaria” (#152 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written and the tune was composed both by John B. Hicks.  The song was copyrighted in 1901 by Eiland and Dean, which I assume refer to Franklin Lycurgus Eiland, a member of the Lord’s church, and Emmett Sidney Dean, a Methodist, who were both song writers and co-workers in the Trio Music Company of Waco, TX.  It appeared, most likely for the first time, in The Gospel Gleaner which was published in 1901 by the Trio Music Co. and perhaps edited by Eiland and Dean.  Also, it was found in several of Trio’s subsequent publications, such as The Gospel Messenger, a New Song Book and Songs of Redemption for Revivals, Campmeetings, etc. both from 1905, and Glad Hosannas from 1906.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it may currently be found in Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

The song encourages us to proclaim the same message that Jesus did to the woman of Samaria.

I. Stanza 1 reminds us that Jesus lived on earth as a man

“Our Savior once wandered on earth as a man,

Both footsore and weary to Samaria’s land;

A story He told, most wondrously grand,

Salvation through Jesus for poor sinful man!”

  1. Jesus, the divine Word, wandered on earth as a man because He became flesh: Jn. 1:1, 14
  2. On several occasions Jesus visited the land of Samaria: Lk. 17:11
  3. In Samaria, He told the same story that He told to the Jews, about salvation: Lk. 19:10

II. Stanza 2 points out that as a man He told the story of salvation to a woman of Samaria

“Sore, weary, and thirsty, He came to a well,

And there, to a woman, this story did tell.

She heard it with joy, for her soul could be free,

And she this salvation through Jesus did see!”

  1. On one particular trip through Samaria, Jesus came to the well of Jacob near Sychar: Jn. 4:5-6
  2. There, He told the story of salvation to a woman who came for water: Jn. 4:7-15
  3. She heard it with joy because she could see this salvation in Christ: Jn. 4:25-29

III. Stanza 3 exhorts us to follow the example  of Jesus and tell this story for mankind today

“Then, brother, let’s sing this sweet story, so t rue,

Salvation through Jesus, for me and for you!

Let every glad heart this great message now tell,

The same and sweet story there told at the well!”

  1. Jesus wants us to tell the sweet story just as the early disciples did: Acts 8:4
  2. This story of salvation through Jesus is to be told to every creature in all the world: Mk. 16:15-16
  3. It is the same sweet story that was told at the well: Jn. 4:39-42

CONCL.:  The chorus emphasizes the importance of continuing to tell this sweet song of Jesus and His death on the cross for our salvation.

“We’ll sing this sweet song, this glorious song,

Of Jesus who died on the tree!

He died on the tree for you and for me!

O, sing the sweet story, Salvation is free!”

Not many spiritual songs are based on specific events recorded in the scriptures, but this one makes it clear that there are some important lessons that we can learn as we follow “Jesus Through Samaria.”

jesus-samaria

The Glory of God

Boles

(photo of Ida May Meiser (Mrs. H. Leo) Boles’s gravestone)

THE GLORY OF GOD

“…The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isa. 6:3)

     INTRO.:  A song which emphasizes how the whole earth is full of God’s glory is “The Glory of God.”  The text was written by Ida May Meiser (Mrs. H. Leo) Boles, who was born on Jan. 10, 1879, in Ohio.  She married H. Leo Boles on September 23, 1906.  They had a son, Leo Lipscomb Boles.  H. Leo Boles had been born on February 22, 1874, in Gainesboro, Tennessee.  In 1894 he married Miss Cynthia Cantrell when he was twenty years of age. To this union a son, Cleo, was born on July 14, 1895. The young wife and mother lived only four days after the son was born. A sister of Boles took little Cleo and cared for him until his father was in a position to take him.  After being baptized by W. T. Kidwill in a meeting at Olive Church of Christ in DeKalb County, Tennessee, on September 27, 1895, Boles graduated from Burritt College, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in 1900, and attended the Nashville Bible School, later known as Lipscomb University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1906.

Following his marriage to Ida May in 1906, Boles taught Religious Education, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, and the Bible at David Lipscomb College (now known as Lipscomb University) from 1906 until his retirement, where he was the head of the Bible department for more than two decades and served as the university president twice, first from 1913 to 1920, and a second time from 1923 to 1932.  The Boles family, H. Leo, Ida Mae, Cleo, and Leo Lipscomb, resided at 4100 Granny White Pike in Nashville, TN. Boles was an elder of the Reid Avenue Church of Christ in that city.

Ida May Boles was a poetess.  Her song, “The Glory of God,” was copyrighted in 1910 with the tune composed by Daniel Otis Teasley of New York City, NY, and appeared in the 1910 book The Gospel Message in Song compiled by Flavil and Samuel H. Hall.  Another song of hers entitled “Prayer,” dated 1908 with music by Flavil Hall, also is found in the same book.  H. Leo Boles died on Feb. 7, 1946, at Nashville.  Ida Mae Meiser Boles died, aged 76, on Oct. 17, 1955, also at Nashville, in Davidson County, Tennessee, and was buried in Nashville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum.

“The Glory of God” praises the Lord for all that He has created and done.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that He created the celestial bodies.

The stars that deck the sky with light.

The sun and moon and all things bright,

From heaven high to lowly sod,

Declare the glory of the Lord.

  1. God created the stars: Ps. 8:3
  2. He created the sun and moon: Gen. 1:16
  3. The entire heavens declare the glory of our God: Ps. 19:1

II. Stanza 2 tells us that He created the processes of nature

The fresh young buds that richly grow,

The summer winds that gently blow,

All things that heaven and earth afford,

Declare the glory of our Lord.

  1. God ordained that the young buds should grow: Isa. 55:10
  2. He ordained that the winds should blow: Eccl. 1:6
  3. These processes declare that the earth is the Lord’s: Ps. 24:1-2

III. Stanza 3 tells us that He created the beauty of the earth

The grandeur of the mountain high,

The changing tints of evening sky,

The crimson flush of morning light,

Declare the glory of His might.

  1. God created the mountains with their grandeur: Ps. 90:1-2
  2. The changing tints of evening sky signal a good time to cry out in prayer to God: Ps. 141:1-2
  3. The crimson flush of morning bright brings new mercies from God every day: Lam. 3:23

IV. Stanza 4 tells us that He created the conditions necessary for life

The silver drop of morning dew,

The changing clouds of brilliant hue,

The warbling birds of lovely spring,

Declare the glory of our King.

  1. God gives the silver drops of dew which waters the earth: Gen. 27:28
  2. Also He sends the clouds which pour out the water that is so necessary: Ps. 77:16-17
  3. And He made the birds which warble in the spring: Gen. 1:20-21

V. Stanza 5 tells us that He created everything that we see and know

The deep green vale and rolling plains,

The sweet sunshine and gentle rains,

The golden grain or growing seed,

Declare that He is Lord indeed.

  1. It is God who waters the green valleys: Ps. 104:10-11
  2. He’s the one who makes the sweet sun to shine and the gentle rain to fall: Matt. 5:45
  3. And He causes the seed to grow into golden grain: Mk. 4:26-29

CONCL.:  The chorus reminds us that the glory of God is seen throughout the universe which He made:

The glory of the Lord most high

Is seen in all the earth and sky;

His praises all creation sing,

And shout the glory of the Lord.

Whether we feel the warmth of the sun by day or gaze into the starry heavens at night, whether we plant the flowers in spring or reap the harvest in fall, whether we notice the sparkling dew of early morning or view a gorgeous sunset in the evening, everything that we see and know points to its Creator and manifests “The Glory of God.”

glory of god

Just When I Need Him Most

“JUST WHEN I NEED HIM MOST”
“I will not leave you comfortless” (Jn. 14:18)

     INTRO.:  A song which reminds us that Jesus has not left us comfortless but promises to be with His people is “Just When I Need Him Most” (#140 in Sacred Selections for the Church).  The text was written by William Charles Poole (1875-1949).  Born in Easton, MD, he attended Washington College in Chestertown, MD.  In 1900, he was became a Methodist minister, and served in the Wilmington, DE, Conference for 35 years prior to his death at Lewes, DE.  In addition, he was an author of hymn texts.  “Just When I Need Him Most” was produced in 1907 with the tune composed by Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932).  The song was copyrighted in 1908, and after its renewal in 1936 it was owned by Homer A. Rodeheaver.  Perhaps Poole’s best known hymn is “Sunrise,” written in 1924 with music by Bentley D. Ackley.  His 1923 hymn “I Would Not Live Without Jesus” with music by James M. Hagan was owned by Austin Taylor and has appeared in many of our books.  Other songs by Poole include “The Call of the Christ,” “Christ Shall Be King,” Count Me,” “The Church by the Side of the Road,” “Did You Pray Till the Answer Came?”, “Do It for Jesus Today,” “I Shall See the King,” “In the Good Old Way,” “Have You Prayed It Through?”, “In the Garden with Jesus,” and “Won’t Somebody Tell Them?”  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “Just When I Need Him Most” may be found in Sacred Selections.

The song identifies several reasons why we need Jesus.

I. Stanza 1 tells us that He is near

“Just when I need Him, Jesus is near,

Just when I falter, just when I fear;

Ready to help me, ready to cheer,

Just when I need Him most.”

  1. The Lord has promised that He will draw near to us if we draw near to Him: Jas. 4:8
  2. If we do this, He will assist us when we falter not to stumble and fall: 2 Pet. 1:10
  3. And He will be ready to cheer us just as He did His apostles: Matt. 14:27

II. Stanza 2 tells us that He is true

“Just when I need Him, Jesus is true,

Never forsaking all the way through;

Giving for burdens pleasures anew,

Just when I need Him most.”

  1. Christ is true, the faithful witness: Rev. 1:5
  2. He has promised never to forsake us: Heb. 13:5-6
  3. Instead, He will exchange our burdens for pleasures anew: Ps. 16:11

III. Stanza 3 tells us that He is strong

“Just when I need Him, Jesus is strong,

Bearing my burdens all the day long;

For all my sorrow giving a song,

Just when I need Him most.”

  1. Because Jesus is strong, He as our forerunner gives us strong consolation: Heb. 6:18-20
  2. This involves His bearing our burdens as we cast them upon Him: Ps. 55:22
  3. Thus, even in times of sorrow, He gives us a song so that we can rejoice in Him: Phil. 4:4

IV. Stanza 4 tells us that He is our all

“Just when I need Him, He is my all,

Answering when upon Him I call;

Tenderly watching lest I should fall,

Just when I need Him most.”

  1. Paul affirmed that for the Christian Christ is all: Col. 3:11
  2. He will answer when we call upon Him because He is our Mediator with the Father: 1 Tim. 2:5
  3. In addition, He will tenderly watch over us lest we fall: Jude v. 24

CONCL.:  The chorus emphasizes how much we need Jesus to comfort and cheer us.

“Just when I need Him most,

Just when I need Him most,

Jesus is near to comfort and cheer,

Just when I need Him most.”

However, it is not enough just to know that I need someone to meet a need.  I must look to someone who can actually provide for the need.  And I can always rest assured that Jesus is willing, ready, and able to help me “Just When I Need Him Most.”

just when i need

Whisper a Prayer

walter howell

(photo of Walter E. Howell)

WHISPER A PRAYER

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17)

     A song which exhorts us to pray without ceasing is “Whisper a Prayer.”  The text was written and the tune was composed both by Walter Elwood Howell, who was born on Dec. 5, 1903, in the New Hope community near Middleton, TN, the son of Burley and Lula (Jacobs) Howell.  His involvement with music started early in life with the Howell Quartet consisting of Walter, his father, and two sisters.  In 1933, he married a schoolteacher from Toone, TN, named Martha Pirtle (1906–2000).  They had two daughters, Gail and June, and one son, Bailey (born January 20, 1937), who became famous as an all-star pro basketball player for the Boston Celtics.  Howell served as a rural letter carrier for 37 years before retiring in 1964.  In the early 1940s, he organized the Sunshine Singers who performed on the Uncle Tom Williams program over radio station WTSJ in Jackson, TN.

Also, Howell was a prolific song writer. After attending the Stamps-Baxter School of Music in Chattanooga, TN, he taught numerous singing schools throughout western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.  Two of his more popular songs, “Bend Away Down Low” and “I’m Walking in the Light,” were recorded by the Stamps-Baxter Quartet.  His song “Whisper a Prayer” was copyrighted in 1967 by the Hartford Music Co. in their book Grace So Amazing, and was used in Our Garden of Song compiled in 1980 by Gene C. Finley.  Two of his other songs, “I’ll Wear a Bright and Shining Crown,” copyrighted in 1950 by Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Co. in Better Songs, and “There’ll Be Shouting, Singing Too,” copyrighted in 1987 by M. Lynwood Smith Publications in New Songs No. 25, appear in the 1999 Into Our Hands edited by Leland R. Fleming.

Following his retirement from the Post Office, Howell spent his time continuing to compose songs, reading, gardening, playing the fiddle and the piano, going to singing conventions, and writing poetry.  Both his humorous and more serious poems appeared in his home county newspaper, The Bolivar Bulletin, and in the Paul Flowers Greenhouse column of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.   In later years, his songs were published by the Jeffress Music Company of Crossett, AR, Albert E. Brumley, Luther G. Presley, and others.  A member of the Church of Christ, Howell died, aged 74, on Oct. 12, 1978, at Middleton, TN, and his body was buried in the cemetery of the New Hope Church of Christ in Hardeman County, TN.  He was still writing songs at his death, and one which he left unfinished was “There’ll Be No Sad Goodbyes.”

The song is designed to encourage us to pray.

I. Stanza 1 suggests when to pray

Whisper a prayer when day is done,

Whisper a prayer when morning’s sun

Comes to warm the world and bid the darkness flee;

Whisper a prayer in heaven’s ear,

Whisper a prayer that all may hear

How the Savior died on dark Calvary.

  1. Evening, when day is done, is a good time to pray: Lk. 6:12
  2. Morning, when the sun comes up, is also a good time to pray: Mk. 1:35
  3. In fact, God’s people should always pray in heaven’s ear: Eph. 6:18

II. Stanza 2 suggests whom to pray for

Whisper a prayer for sinners, too,

That the right path they might pursue,

Leading them to heaven’s Lamb who loved them so;

Whisper a prayer for those bowed down,

That they may find a starry crown

At the end of earthly strivings below.

  1. Our hearts’ desire and prayer to God should be for sinners to be saved: Rom. 10:1
  2. We should pray that they might take the right path leading to the Lamb: Jn. 1:29
  3. We should also pray for those bowed down by temptation that they might endure and gain the crown: Jas. 1:12

III. Stanza 3 suggests what to pray for

Whisper a prayer that I might be

Faithful to Him who died for me;

May I ever grateful be to heaven’s Dove.

Whisper a prayer that when I’m gone

Heavenly joys may be my own

Through the ages spent in heaven above.

  1. We should pray to be faithful to death: Rev. 2:10
  2. We should pray for the guidance of heaven’s Dove, the Holy Spirit: Gal. 5:22-25
  3. And we should pray for the joys of heaven above: 1 Pet. 1:3-5

CONCL.:  The chorus reminds us of how important prayer is to the child of God.

Whisper a prayer for every heartache,

Each tear, each dreary mile,

And may each weary pilgrim find

Victory after while.

Joining the happy chorus there,

After the meeting in the air,

Then the Lord will take His children back home.

No matter whether times are good or bad, whether we feel happy or sad, or whether our situation makes us sorry or glad, we should always be able to take the time to “Whisper a Prayer.”

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