The Bridge of Prayer
The first time I met Pelle, who would later become my husband, was in his homeland of Sweden sometime in the early 70′s. I’d been invited to sing at a large summer Bible conference called “Nyhems Veckan.” It’s held at an idyllic little spot in the center of the country which gets invaded annually by thousands of Christians, young and old. They come from near and far for a week of camp meeting-style services that last all day and a good bit of the night. The nearby hotels are filled with folks that bring their Bibles, plenty of soda and candy (!) and stay out late having church in a large tent or hall. Some die-hard festival attendants actually bring their camping equipment to set up on site for the week in the lovely open fields. You can just imagine the sense of fellowship, camaraderie and the sweet presence of the Lord that’s there– given all these “Skandihoovians” that are hardcore about loving Jesus!!
Some Norwegian pastors from Oslo had accompanied me by train because I was only fifteen years old. As the Swedish pastors were scheduling the times when I would be singing, I realized: I need a pianist! Before long the host leadership introduced me to a young man named Pelle, who played a “mean” piano and quickly translated several of the songs from my American repertoire into Swedish for me. Besides being a handsome Viking, I was clearly drawn to Pelle’s devotion to Christ, his great musical talent and ability to communicate. Since I’d grown up speaking Norwegian at home, attempting to sing in Swedish was indeed a challenge, but not entirely impossible. Norwegian and Swedish are similar languages, where certain words are identical and others, totally different. The Swedes were more than forgiving of my butchering their language and, in spite of my quirky dialect, I trust the message got through.
Among scores of impressions, there was one very noticeable thing I observed of the conference participants there. Whenever people would say goodbye to one another, they’d usually say with a wave, “Vi mots paa bonens bro!” Translated, it means, “We will meet on the bridge of prayer!” That moved me so much! Prayer was an actual meeting place on a very real level in their lives. I could just see with my mind’s eye this Monet-like bridge, or a Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the massive Golden Gate Bridge– and folks were praying. Point “A” was connected to point “B”– on that bridge. . . the bridge of prayer.
Matthew 18 from The Message translation tells us what Jesus had to say about prayer at one point. “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in Heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” How’s that for an invitation to prayer?! How’s that for an invitation to “meet on the bridge”? We have Christ’s word that His Father will “go into action” and that He will meet us– when we pray.
And why don’t I pray more, with this kind of guarantee? Why are the weekly prayer meetings in most of our churches the least frequented by the local body of believers? And yet, the Lord Himself is the only One that’s committed to showing up every time we pray. Aren’t we missing something vitally important by diminishing the true value of prayer?
A few years ago I was still thinking about the “Bridge of Prayer” that the Swedes used so readily. That rendezvous place, if you will, where we as Christians meet one another– and the Lord Himself. So I asked my husband Pelle, who has written many of the songs I’ve sung through the years, if he’d write one on this “Bridge of Prayer” theme. At the time he was in the middle of other music projects– so he responded with, “I think you need to write that song, Evie.” Easy for him to say. I had not written a song before. I’d only done a few translations of lyrics, which is completely different. He and our children kept encouraging me to write the song myself.
Before too long, and of course with the Lord’s help, I wrote the song. And I will be the first to say that it’s not a great song. But it is a great message. And I can’t ever take any credit for that! We even recorded it. In fact, you can see and hear the video of it on our homepage here at the website. Our son Kris was game enough to do the arrangement and play most of the instruments. Our daughter Jenny is on the recording as back-up vocals with her Dad, who is also on keys. You might say, it’s a family endeavor! And it’s our joy to share it with you.
As I say goodbye, I say: I’ll meet you on the Bridge of Prayer, my friend. By the way– that’s a lot more meaningful than saying, “See you later alligator!” which we in the great state of Florida are known to utter occasionally!