As a young child my attention was captivated observing our church pianist bring forth the musical sounds of melodies and hymns that accompanied the robust and spirited singing of our Spanish speaking church congregation. I began to ask for a piano and lessons at about the age of seven. My mother did not take this request seriously. However, when I was nine, my father with the help of our church school’s music teacher, and with much material sacrifice, presented me with a piano and I was enrolled in piano lessons at school.

Three months after my lessons began, our church pianist left. The pastor approached me one Sabbath, “I heard that you are taking piano lessons, do you have a hymn you might help us with?” The only hymn I had acquired was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” So we sang that for two weeks until I was able to add to my list “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.” Thus, began a journey of service for the church there that lasted until I married and moved away from my church community.

The gift that my father presented me had an unexpected spiritual blessing. When I accompanied the congregation in their singing, I not only read and played musical notes, I also perused words, many times meditating upon their significance. Thus, when I reflect on prayer the words of the first hymn that I learned to play always come to mind:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Are we weak and heavy-laden,

Cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge,

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms He’ll take and shield thee,

Thou wilt find a solace there.

The focus of this issue of Dynamic Steward is prayer. We begin with a young adult point of view and the influence of praying parents. In Perspectives, we consider a pastor and leader’s thoughts on prayer as well as ‘hear’ from the heart of a doctor. Finally, Reflections probe us to look deeper into the Lord’s Prayer, and also to meditate upon the words of a twentieth century martyr.

May your soul be blessed and your thoughts be lifted to where heaven and earth touch.

Alongside you in His service,
Maria Ovando-Gibson

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July–September, 2007

Prayer