Terry Posthumus

Singer | Songwriter | Advocate | Activist

The story behind..."Pray"

...And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own…

I have always loved listening to music as I fall asleep. As a wee lad, I used to place my request with MOMM FM to play, “In The Garden” by Ernie Tennessee Ford. There was something about that song and that baritone voice that would set my soul at ease. Or, perhaps it was the notion that I was never alone. Even as a young lad it was comforting to know that I could walk and talk with God...and that He would walk with me and talk with me.

Talking. Hearing. Being heard.

Communication is so important, isn’t it?

Competent communication tends to produce great things while the poor kind is usually causal where disasters are concerned. Having someone to talk to can heal a world of hurt. Juxtapose that against isolation which can make even the most stable and secure tower of a person come crashing down. Lucidity is the result of effective dialog and consternation is the fruit of inept chatter. Encouragement to forge ahead and disheartening critique can emanate from the same lips. There are so many ways that communication effects and affects. It is little wonder that in chapter 3 of his letter, James called the tongue, “scary”. He said, “You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done.” Yikes!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to talk. There have been times that I have used my tongue for great good and I am ashamed to tell you that there have been occasions when I have “spoken careless and wrongly placed words.” I would like to tell you that these wanton words were just a part of my dark and sordid past. However, I can assure you that I have gone into situations with the intent of being the peaceful patron only to find that I have, “ruined people's worlds, turned harmony into chaos, thrown mud on a reputation and sent the whole world up in smoke...smoke right from the pit of hell.” Note: I am quoting James here...chapter 3...verse 6…The Message...

Oh, but I want to be a good listener, for I have been listened to. By faith, I know that the very creator of this universe...the One who formed me in my mother’s womb...the One who is in all, through all and over all...hears me when I call. (Thanks Tommy Walker!) Honestly, I am working on it. One day, with a lot of help from the One who formed my entire being (including my “bouche”), I will bear the moniker, Terry Posthumus - Active Listener.

Which, brings me to the point of this rumination and off of this tangent.

Now...where was I? Ah yes, “In The Garden.” Walking. Talking. Ernie Tennessee Ford...

We are all influenced in one way or another. You and I have many things that have shaped who we are and what we have become to this point in our lives.

For me, one of those things is the music that I listened to as a child. For instance, I love songs that tell stories. The reason is quite simple. You see, I listened to my mother’s music during my childhood. Songs like, “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” by Arlo Guthrie and, “The Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash were formative to my preference for this kind of ballad.

“In the Garden” has also had a deep impact on me. In this case, lyrically. In fact, this great old hymn inspired a couple of the key lines from my song, “Pray.” Thinking about it, “Pray” is a response to “In the Garden” that came through the years.

I can still remember writing the song. It all came in a flurry. Sometimes songs come like that. The verses poured out of me and then the first half of the chorus. However, I got stuck there.  The whole thing just bogged down and there seemed to be no place to go with it. It’s not that I had painted myself into a corner or committed to an idea too early without vetting it properly. I simply lost momentum because I had no idea what to write next.

And then, I heard it…

”And He walks with Me.
And He talks with Me.
And He tells me I am His own…”

The new idea bubbled up like a fresh spring. No...bubbled is the wrong word. Something from deep inside my soul...a “ghost of a melody” transformed into burst of creativity and I knew what I had to write in order to finish the song. Suddenly, and from a completely unexpected place, the song had a purpose, a theme and a title.

“I will walk with You.
I will talk with You.
Spend my time with You,
As I pray.”

Pray - Terry Posthumus