There can be times in our lives as growing musicians where obstacles, many of them springing from a lack of financial means, are standing in the way of our progress as a student.
Organists are particularly apt to encounter this situation where the lack of access to a sufficiently large instrument or the necessary money for a suitable personal instrument have us at a definite impasse.
And, it's heartbreaking for that organ student and their family.
Regardless of whether or not you feel you can be helped by prayer, please be aware that this can be a powerful conduit for receiving the right kind of help to move you from Point A to Point B faster, and sometimes in a totally unexpected way, than you ever thought possible.
Listen to this true story of mine, and you decide:
There came a time during my early teen years, after I was playing the organ for about a year, that the instrument I had at home with a limited number of stops no longer permitted me to make any further progress.
I was on a plateau, "pot-bound" and unable to grow further; my family wasn't poor, but just wasn't able to provide me with a sophisticated enough step-up instrument [See blog, Step-Up Instruments, Parts I-V].
It was very hard on them, to see me facing this brick wall like this and unable to help me.
So, I prayed "the prayer of faith."
The difference between this and any other kind of praying is that the prayer of faith begins by first thanking God for all the many blessings we already have, always letting our thanks first outweigh our petition.
Then, after giving this thanks, we tell God we have this problem we need Him to fix for us, tell Him why, and tell Him that, by fixing it, it will help glorify Him and His Son.
This isn't an attempt to bargain with God for benefits; it's nothing of the kind; it simply acknowledges a need for His presence in our lives, that we don't come into this world a passive, impersonal blob waiting for the world to put its stamp on us, no, it acknowledges the simple truth that we all show up here with a specific, personal destiny, a calling to enact, a Self to become.
Part of our job, while we're here, to find out what we already are, and become IT.
Then, while we're still praying this prayer of faith, and this is very important: WE THANK GOD for solving it, believing that it's already solved, that the solution is already signed, sealed, and on its way to fix things.
This defines our prayer as the prayer of faith; God finds this pleasing, for without faith it's impossible to please the heart of God.
God doesn't respond to pain. He doesn't respond to tears.
He doesn't respond to trouble, in and of itself. He's never responded to heartache. He only responds to faith.
Faith is what moves His hand.
One way we can demonstrate that faith by praying over some problem and believing He's already got it solved for us before the solution ever arrives.
If you've prayed before and never got the kind of results you prayed for, maybe you were praying the wrong way and weren't using this (what I call) "the prayer of faith."
At the point where I found myself at this impasse needing a step-up instrument I prayed that God would solve this puny little problem of mine, telling Him that it would help make me into whatever it was that He wanted me to become as an organist, for His greater glory and for the glory of His Son.
I feel asleep that night, comforted that the problem was fixed, and that God would see to it in His own way, in His own good time.
I wasn't long after that that the store where my family had bought me the smaller organ came out with a promotional drawing; about 200 families who had been in the store were given 2 tickets each to win one of 4 prizes.
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th prize winners each were to receive a Don Baker Curtain Time" LP record album; the 1st prize winner would receive half of a spinet organ with the understanding that it would be taken to the home of the lucky winner and they would pay off the other half.
If you entered the contest at all, you therefore had a 1 in 200 chance that one of your tickets would be drawn, and about a 1 in 40,000 chance that, through some strange stroke of favor, both of your tickets should manage to get drawn.
Since the little instrument being promoted in this drawing was even smaller than the one I had at home, at first I didn't see a reason at all to enter the contest, but the persistence of my family wore my stubbornness down finally, and I reluctantly filled out both tickets, showed up the night of the drawing, and dropped them into the circular cage with a large crank on it that was used to select the winners.
Four different people were picked out of the audience at random from the people in the store that evening who didn't have tickets in the cage; they did this by covering their eyes each time and facing the audience, so the drawing was completely fair and above board.
My experience that night left me with no doubt in my mind that the Law of Probability means nothing when the Lord of glory has a harvest on His mind.
One of my tickets was drawn for the top prize; with the equity I had in it, plus my organ at home which would could be traded back, plus a small one time payment that could be furnished by my family, I managed to obtain that very step-up instrument (photo) I needed to progress further.
But you haven't heard the rest; my other ticket was drawn for one of the 3 albums!! ... the poor store manager was really embarrassed at this development because it made the contest look "fixed," which was certainly not the case [!!].
Something besides the Law of Probability was obviously at work that night to lead to these results, and it left me with no doubt in my mind that we have to be very careful what we pray for, whenever we use this powerful "prayer of faith."
But, that wasn't the end of it ...
There was more to come ...
(con't in Part II)