Praying, and Singing, with Angels

A memorable moment when an angel chimed in on a church service

Posted in , Mar 4, 2016

Praying with an angel.

One Sunday morning some months ago, I had the privilege of preaching in a Salvation Army church in Rapid City, South Dakota. A sweet spirit of worship and camaraderie filled the small chapel where we gathered with a few new friends and a number of even newer friends.

My sermon was followed by a beautiful prayer service, and as we prayed and sang together, I was deeply moved by the Holy Spirit’s presence. At one point, the sound of a cornet or trumpet, softly and tenderly played from somewhere behind me, joining the piano accompaniment to our singing. It was a heavenly moment.

Moments later, after the worship service ended and some of us gathered in the vestibule, talking, I asked my wife and our friends who had added the lovely cornet accompaniment to the prayer service. A half dozen puzzled expressions looked back at me.

“Cornet?” someone finally said.

“Yes,” I answered. “Someone was softly playing somewhere behind me.”

They looked at each other, perhaps to see if anyone else was in on the joke. 

“There was no cornet,” someone said.

“Oh, come on,” I said. I looked to my wife for confirmation. “You heard it, didn’t you?”

She smiled and shook her head.

I couldn’t believe it. I was sure I had heard it, harmonizing perfectly with the melodious singing and piano accompaniment. But no one else had heard it. I wished there was a way to rewind to that moment and turn up the volume so I could prove my point, but the worship service had not been recorded. 

That experience has stayed with me, though months have passed since then. It was truly a transcendent prayer experience for me, and I was initially so disappointed that no one else had heard what I had. I was sure I hadn’t imagined it. I thought maybe my hearing needed to be checked. But there is another possibility.

In several instances, the Bible associates angels with the sound of a trumpet (Matthew 24:31, Revelation 9:13, 11:15, etc.) though the biblical writers probably had in mind a shofar, a ram’s horn. What I heard that morning was a crisp tone of a skilled trumpeter, like Miles Davis or Wynton Marsalis. It didn’t sound like a ram’s horn at all, but it did sound angelic.

I can’t totally discount the possibility that—for a reason I can’t guess and may never discover—I was praying that morning with an angel. It was certainly a wonderful period of communion with God and, since I fully believe there are times and places when the “veil” that usually separates the physical and spiritual dimensions is momentarily pulled aside, however briefly, I will entertain that possibility . . . and be more open to a repeat performance if and when it comes.

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