BISHOP T.D. JAKES & THE POTTER'S HOUSE MASS CHOIR: "A Wing and A Prayer"
A wing and a prayer. It’s an old expression, but in these times when troubles, anxiety and uncertainty seem to be the common currency of a restless, unsettled world, it’s a saying that’s more relevant than ever. And on their third release, the unfailingly uplifting and inspiring A Wing And A Prayer, Bishop T.D. Jakes & the Potter’s House Mass Choir deliver 11 powerful songs of hope in the face of adversity.
A classical grandeur carries the timeless message of Richard Smallwood’s His Mercy Endureth” while “It’s Already Done” rides atop a joyful modern gospel/R&B groove. “These two songs,” says Bishop Jakes, “help lift us as we recognize that God’s mercy and grace enable us to make it through the testing times in life.”
A smooth-flowing choir backs a majestic lead vocal by Tommye Young-West on A Path In The Sea.” “I was particularly blessed by this song,” says the Bishop, “because God has brought me through the storm like Peter walking on water and surviving strong winds. I know that He has a path through things that seem insurmountable.”
The soaring, dramatic My Life Is Available To You showcases the gifts of renowned worship leader and recording artist, Darwin Hobbs, while “Send Me To The Nations,” a kicking, celebratory offering of oneself in God’s service, features one of gospel’s newest and brightest stars, Israel Houghton, of the group Israel & New Breed.
“The message of both these songs touches me in a very special way, the Bishop says. I believe that God has empowered us to reach the world in a way that is new and exciting.”
Recorded live in December, 2002, at the Potter’s House, the 155-voice choir drawn from Bishop Jakes’ 29,000-member congregation in Dallas, Texas—towers behind the production of hit-maker Kevin Bond and the church’s Director of Music & Fine Arts, Steve Lawrence, who also is the choir’s conductor and vocal arranger.
“So many people are stressed about so many things at this moment in time finances, jobs, families, war,” says Lawrence. “This album is a reminder that God is in control of every situation that anybody could be dealing with right now. I really hope this CD brings people closer to a perpetual state of peace with themselves, and with God, and to know ultimately that everything we’re dealing with now is just a test—not to destroy us, but to bring us to a place of intimacy and maturity in our walk with God.”
Thomas Dexter Jakes was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia. The son of hard-working parents, he nonetheless grew up in relative poverty as kidney disease drained both his father’s life and the family’s financial resources when Jakes was only 10 years old. Nicknamed “Bible Boy,” from the constant presence of the Holy Book in his hands, Jakes sought solace and answers for his hardships in that Word, all the while taking odd-jobs—selling homegrown vegetables, redeeming empty bottles, even selling Avon products door-to-door—to help his teacher-mother provide for the family.
He began his ministry at age 22, with his young bride Serita, founding the Greater Emmanuel Temple of Faith, a storefront church in Montgomery, W.Va., with an original membership of ten people. As Jakes continued to take whatever daywork he could find to keep his family afloat—including a stint digging ditches—the church flourished slowly but surely over the ensuing 13 years, expanding to larger and larger buildings and a congregation of over 1000. During those years, among all the emotional and spiritual needs brought before him for pastoral counseling, Jakes time and again heard the plaintive confessions of women suffering abuse and mistreatment, many of whom were also struggling under the evils of self-hatred and substance abuse.
Responding to the hurt he witnessed all around him, Jakes in 1992 delivered the first in what became a series of powerful Sunday School lessons aimed specifically at hurting women and titled Woman, Thou Art Loosed! Feeling fully content and blessed to see just the handful of lives the Lord was touching through his teachings, Jakes had not the slightest inkling that he had set into motion a sequence of events that would reach untold millions around the world with a profound, real-life vision of the desire of Christ to not only heal, but to prosper His people. The impact and anointing of Jakes’ “Sunday School lessons” quickly spread far beyond his rural West Virginia home, and it wasn’t long before requests for the Bishop to give a condensed, seminar version of the teaching in other cities, and soon other states as well. The next year, the Jakes—using the money they had saved for the down-payment on their first home—took the bold step of personally printing and distributing WTAL, written in book form by the
Bishop (a venture that to date has yielded astonishing international sales of over two million copies).
Jakes recognition among the masses quickly exploded as he ended 1993 with the advent of a weekly show on cable television’s nationally broadcast Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN), which soon grew even further as 1994 ushered in another weekly program by Jakes on the mainstream, cable giant, Black Entertainment Network (BET). By 1995, the demand for Jakes’ WTAL seminars had grown so great that he held regional meeting across America, regularly packing ten-to-twenty-thousand-seat arenas.
But the phenomenon was not about to reach its zenith. In fact, the overwhelming embrace of Jakes’ book—now translated into five languages—his seminars and TV broadcasts, led him and Serita, in 1996, to move his family, as well as 50 other faithful families, from West Virginia to Dallas, where his numerous ministries only continue to flourish.
The new CD’s closing, title cut a rollicking, straight-up slice of Sunday-morning, stand-up-and-clap Gospel—clearly sums up a lot of where Bishop T.D. Jakes has come from, as well as much of what is on his mind and heart these days. “When you hear this song, and the entire album, you’ll know what our mothers and fathers meant when they said they made it on `A Wing and A Prayer,’” he concludes. “It hasn't been easy, but it certainly has been worth it to see what God will do when we believe. I think people will spread wings and fly when they hear the anointing on this CD. I have played it over and over again.... and you know what? ...I made it.”
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