A “Catch” That is Changing Lives

The story behind the song “Lord, God Almighty” by Bernard Millard

It’s said a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, it certainly has lived up to the adage.

Just ask Pastor Bernard Millard, the lead pastor of our sister church in Chemnitz, Germany.

A few years ago, a good friend gave Pastor Bernard a picture of a church in the southwestern part of England.  The picture was special because it reminded him of when he and his wife, Ulrike, had traveled to this church and they were so happy to get the picture as a photo from a friend. But that wasn’t the only reason it was special.

As it turns out, God had a plan to speak a message through that picture – a message He wants Bernard to keep passing on.   The picture, which shows light shining directly down on an old church in the foreground middle and a group of Irish-Scottish monks walking toward it on the top, or what Bernard calls, “the heavenly level” of the picture, depicts how the monks were personally bringing the gospel back to Europe at that time. 

“That picture inspired me,” remembers Bernard.  “There is a lot of darkness, but every place they carried out their mission, there are little flames of light.  That brought me to write this song, “Herr Der Heerscharen” (Lord, God Almighty), which is really a prayer that God will bring the heralds of love and truth to surround us and fill our area.”

“I take it as a prayer when I visit special places and when I feel I want to pray over this area this special prayer.” Bernard shares.  “I know that we don’t have enough power of our own to bring the gospel, healing, or salvation.   It’s a prayer that God will bring His heavenly army and do a mighty work in that place.”

When asked to describe how he sees God “bring light and let it shine in our darkness” as the song says, Bernard responds, “In my mind, I don’t see it as angel armies alone who are doing the work, it is also through the mobilizing of the people of God, men and women like you and me. There are so many ways God uses us to bring His light. We can give words of encouragement and comfort to people.  We can pray over the sick and needy.  And in our region where radical social and political groups are trying to make claim to a certain city with their beliefs that are not in line with Christ, we stand up and pray, inviting the presence of Jesus to come and fill that space with His love, hope and healing.”

Over the last few years, Bernard has had opportunity to sing this song in different countries.  He says, “While singing in Czech Republic and Russia, I could see that it
brought healing to people from nations that were historically hurt and wounded by Germany so deeply.”

Bernard recognizes that it’s a privilege to be chosen as a messenger of God’s word and it’s through no power of his own. How God chooses to use us and the words He gives us is beyond our understanding.

“I’m not a creator of songs,” he continues.  “I say, I “catch” them.  Most times, they come very fast and I have to quickly grab my guitar and write them down.”

“It is powerful to me to sing this song.  It’s a time to connect to God and with His presence. The way people respond is so encouraging to me.  So many people have shared with me how it has been meaningful to them,and to acknowledge that there is more than simply words – something happens. The Holy Spirit comes and changes people through the music. “

“This is a prayer, and when I’m singing it for others, sometimes I can see how God is answering it right there in that place.  It’s like throwing a stone into a calm sea.  We never know how many ripples will impact others with the news of Christ.”

*Note: Song begins in German, but transitions to English. 

Blog post by Kirsten Poggenklass

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