Week of Prayer: “Don’t Hang Up Your Harp”

Pastor David Solomon Hall begins Week of Prayer on Tuesday.

After delivering 11 sermons in nine days in Australia, Pastor David Solomon Hall arrived at Andrews Academy this morning to present the annual Fall Week of Prayer. Although this week was supposed to be his vacation time, he said that he could think of “no better way to spend it than with you,” the students of AA.

And Hall should know: He taught religion at AA for several years before taking a job as youth director for the Nevada-Utah Conference a few years ago.

His talk for today, entitled “Don’t Hang Up Your Harp,” focused on Psalm 137:1-4:
1By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?

 

Hall related personal experiences from his life that were filled with sorrow, pain, and despair – times when he, like the Jews, had little reason to be joyful.

After being being diagnosed with an incurable heart disease, undergoing a successful operation to fix his heart, and then enduring subsequent complications, Hall was informed that his nephew had died “under dubious circumstances.”

His family and friends turned to him for hope and comfort. “What do you say when there’s no rhyme or reason to life?” Hall asked the student body. “What do you say when YOU have the questions about life itself and people look to you?”

“It was one of those days when life made no sense,” Hall said. He then asked the students, “Have you ever had one of those days when you feel so all alone?”

“If you’ve ever felt all alone, then you’ll know how those in scripture felt.” And like the Jews who were taunted by their captors, so the devil taunts us when everything falls apart.

“Bad stuff bubbles up and there’s nobody to talk to and you don’t know what to do,” Hall said. “That’s when the devil appears and asks ‘Where was your God when this happened or that thing happened?’ The devil torments us.”

That torment, Hall urged, is not a reason to “hang up our harps,” but a reason to “sing” because through all of those challenges the “Lord has planted you and is growing you; you’re going to come back better and bigger and stronger,” he said. “How can I NOT sing the Lord’s song?!”

Hall described a time during his illness when he was at his lowest, confined to bed, unable to move, and convinced that he’d had enough of life. At that moment, he says, God replied, “I am right beside you.”

In one of many moments of levity – and in his characteristic fashion – Hall revealed his affinity for Susan Lucci and the soap opera “All My Children.” After several years as an Emmy nominee, Lucci had every reason to abandon the hope that she would win. When Lucci finally did win, the host announced “The streak is over, Susan Lucci!”

“If you say, ‘Jesus, I’m going to try you again,'” Hall said, “you will hear Jesus himself pull out the card and say your name. Give Jesus one more try.”

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