In Times Like These: How We Pray

In Times Like These: How We Pray

By Norm Freeman on Jul 07, 2007 at 12:00 AM in The News

A professional musician (Norm Freeman) explains why Carnegie Hall is a fine place to pray.

In Times Like These: How We Pray

I grew up un-churched. My parents did not speak much about God. The three of us never prayed before meals. My religious education amounted to sitting in front of the TV with my father while he watched the occasional Billy Graham crusade. At some point dad decided he was going to take me to Sunday school at a church no one else in the family ever attended, nor had any intention of attending. His rationale, “going to church as a boy didn’t do him any harm,” wasn’t a compelling vision of faith. I refused the invitation.

For some reason though I was drawn to prayer -- sometimes waiting for lights out to kneel at bedside, other times hiding under the covers so no one would see me. I had my share of fears and prayer helped. Praying felt better than not praying. I believed it worked, maybe not right away, but eventually God would make happen what I thought was right.

This seemed fine until fifth grade when my grandpa Freeman needed by-pass surgery. Even after days of lengthy prayer, my Grandfather died. God wasn’t listening. I was devastated and decided to stop talking to God. Why waste your time talking to someone who doesn’t listen? It was years before I returned to formal prayer.

It was about this time I poured myself into playing the drums. There was plenty happening in the practice room. I could spend hours immersed in the care and practice of my instrument. Preparing for lessons and playing along with recordings opened the doors to a new world, fueling my imagination while inspiring me through legendary performances that lodged in my ears and found a home deep inside of me.

Music opened the door marked “potential.” The experience was remarkable. My world got bigger. I seemed to stand a little taller, sometimes noticing how the long taken for granted act of breathing swelled my chest with an enthusiasm for new and exciting possibilities.