Media And Mourning: Somebody Said A Prayer

front-gravesLiving here in Nashville, Tennessee, one is surrounded by many different forms of music, all finding some degree of nerve center here. Country music is a medium of storytelling, in many cases, one of the most powerful music media for the telling of tales that exists. From Johnny Cash to Taylor Swift, the delivery of “they’re telling my story” parables in music has had a rising following and deepening impact on societies around the world.

Whether you’re a country music fan or not, watch the following video from the famed Billy Ray Cyrus, the father of Miley Cyrus (whose home church we’ve visited while living here). Note the mixture of media to tell a story – from the childlike faith to move mountains embodied only in the film portion, to the bottle of pills one never sees sung in the lyrics. I’ve cried every single time I see this.

It speaks to the timeless theme of mourning, death, and hope reborn. Responses to grief – hopelessness, lingering sadness, despair and courage to go on – all are encased in a simple story told in mixed media.

The best moment of all, for me, is when the youngest child kneels down to pray – and flashes of his father teaching him to pray grace the scene.

As a Dad who has worked all my life to teach my children to pray, I break down at this point every time. The writers, directors, producers, cinematographers and artist have me here, everytime. They could almost deliver any truth (or falsehood) to me at this point, and I would at the very least be vulnerable to it.

Would you not show this to someone who needs hope, and believes in the power of prayer?

Join the storytellers, songwriters, film makers, and media painters. There is a glorious Story of Hope to be told – in a thousand ways.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.