Few artists wield the pen of writing, and skill in musical delivery that Chris Rice does. His ability to take the listener on a journey of vibrant emotions and thoughts is simply unprecedented among musicians in the CCM genre. On the way home last night from an open house, I turned on his album Short Term Memories. My wife and I listened through popular favorites such as Deep Enough to Dream and Smellin’ Coffee, and these were good as they always are. But then we got to Mama Prays. I’d heard this song before, but never before did it have the impact on me that it did last night. It starts like this:
“My memories of my brothers and me
Make me marvel at the way the years went by
Here we are, how’d we ever get this far?
I wonder how, and I wonder why”
So this is a new emotion for me. I recently moved out on my own right before getting married, and have been in my own place for just over a year now. I’ve wondered the same things he sings about here. These lyrics got my attention, but this was only the beginning. He continues:
“Then I recall what these boys often saw
When we would stop to look at mom and daddy’s door
They’d bow their heads while they knelt beside their bed
And we could hear them lift our names before the Lord”
So now I’m really “awake” if you will, and listening intently. Why? Because I experienced this myself growing up. My parents were faithful in praying for us, and I’m confident this shaped our path in a positive direction in a way that nothing else could. One such example I recall was every New Years Eve as we’d wait for midnight to come. My parents would call us each individually to pray with them over our lives and goals for the coming year. This was simply incredible, and I didn’t realize until later the impact this would have on my thinking. Driving home last night, memories such as this one came to my mind, but Chris wasn’t done yet. He moves into the chorus:
“Mama prayed and Jesus stood beside us
Daddy prayed and the devil had to run
God looked down, and his angels guarded through the harder days
‘Cause mama prayed and daddy prayed”
Wow. Unbelievable. This hit me right in the heart, and I broke down weeping. So many emotions running over me of the love that my parents had, and the example they set so clearly of the love that God has for His children. A verse in Romans comes to mind that I read recently, explaining that the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. – Romans 8:26 (KJV)
Perhaps for my parents, these prayers were more than just words. It’s a state of the heart. It’s, well, almost groanings which cannot be uttered. Perhaps it’s a feeling in the spirit, an emotion that’s so powerful, words are inadequate to define it. My parents made similar intercessions on my behalf, and modeled this love in a way that I didn’t deserve.
Thank you, Chris Rice, for painting a picture with your music so vivid, and bringing back sweet memories of a not-to-distant past. You’ve been a blessing in my life over the last year, and you don’t even know me. I’m looking forward to your next album. In the mean time, I’m purposing to pray earnestly, and often for my children as well. I want Jesus to stand beside them, and I want the devil to have to run. May the Lord’s will be done in all these things.