On Sundays, there are two services in the prayer room while in another part of our facility, there is someone playing an instrument and worshipping in prayer to keep the “fire burning.” You see, the International House of Prayer Atlanta has been active since February 11, 2006 and since that day the worship and prayer has not stopped. Their vision is, “on earth as it is in heaven,” prayer and worship the Lord our God unceasingly and so this has been going on 24/7/365 for eleven years. More than it being a feat or goal to accomplish, I see the hearts of people here; hearts that genuinely and deeply love Jesus and want to worship and glorify Him and see His face shine upon them and all the earth. It is from the foundation these deep relationships with God provide, that they are now a missions base for the local community as well as among unreached people groups internationally. If you care to check it out, there is a live stream of the prayer room on YouTube, search: International House of Prayer Atlanta live stream. Whatever is happening here at any time of day or night, it can be listened to on this link:
During the first Sunday evening “Encounter” service, I was struck at a heart level how wonderful the musical community is around here. There is always worship music of some kind being played live in the prayer room. People who are on fire for the Lord and using their God gifted musical talents to bless Him and everyone who walks in these doors. The music fills this place like no place I’ve been before and it’s just beautiful. At this very moment, I am sitting in the prayer room and there are two young women playing keys alongside each other while harmonizing their worship and prayers. It is so lovely; I have chills down my neck. As the music of that Encounter service struck my heart, I felt the Lord speak to me that it is time to reweave music back into my life in a much fuller expression than it has been in recent years. This is one reason among many why He has brought me to this place.
Music was a significant part of my life from a young age. I learned how to read music and play the classical violin at four or five years old I think and in high school I planned to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music education at a competitive music program in upstate New York. Somehow, over the years my music got all wrapped up in my relationship with my father. He was the musical parent and I assume where I got my abilities from. Anyway, when I was elementary age I remember playing violin as my dad accompanied me on his guitar. It didn’t happen often. In fact, I think I only remember doing it a few times but they are steadfast in my memory. During my freshman year of high school, my dad passed away suddenly and I played a solo during his funeral which for a long time tainted one of my favorite hymns, Amazing Grace. The last time I saw and had any interactions with him was the Thanksgiving before his death when he taught me how to play a few chords on the guitar. Soon after this, I started teaching myself to play the piano and continued to practice the guitar on occasion.
When senior year came around and I was trying to study music in college, I had a lesson and an audition scheduled. I never made it past the lesson… The instructor immediately told me that I was not good enough to get into the program and so there was no point in trying to audition the following day. I did not complete the rest of my visit there nor did I pursue music education after that. His words cut deep to my numbed wounds from losing my father and the music that was so closely connected with him and the last time I had seen him. You see, as the years went on I started to believe the lie that dad didn’t love me enough to stay alive for me, that somehow I wasn’t good enough for him and I wasn’t good enough for the career in music I had once wanted to pursue. I think I could count on less than ten fingers the number of times I’ve picked up my violin since graduating from high school. That wound added to the already present wound and stayed numb and sensitive to the touch.
Thankfully, I went to college in a musical environment and I continued to be involved in other ways for a time. I sang in choir a couple of semesters but never stretched myself to audition for the “good” choir and just stuck with the lower level one. I also played in orchestra and had a blast, playing the viola. I learned a whole new instrument and played it all four years though I never had one of my own. I kept up with learning piano and guitar on my own but there was always a wound underneath that kept me from pushing myself. After college, music basically disappeared from my life apart from singing on worship teams or choirs where I was not the center of attention.
At some point in the last couple of years, I felt the Lord nudging me back into playing my violin and really investing myself back in music again. I sang a couple short solos in a church musical of sorts. I played violin in a quartet once for Christmas. I attempted to have a friend teach me some more chords on the guitar while I taught her to play the violin. But that, while so fun, didn’t last long.
And now here I am, in the most musical environment I’ve been in yet and God didn’t waste any time in tapping my shoulder to get involved. I told some people around me that God was nudging me and they have graciously kept me accountable. I tried out for vocals, my first try out since my epic fail in high school and got approved for fire burning, what I had referred to before. There is a wonderful girl in Task school with me who is my age and has a masters in music. She plays violin, keys, and sings and has agreed to give me violin lessons so I can learn improv for playing on sets with the different worship teams here!!! I really feel a level of freedom, healing, and the breaking of strongholds in my heart. It is so wonderful! I am so thankful for what God has done to reweave this talent He has given me back into the forefront of my life. Praise God and rejoice with me with each step forward I take.