Reba McEntire believes in the “power of prayer.”
“Every time I watch the news, I’m just waiting for a story with a happy ending. Unfortunately you don’t see those stories very often. I find myself praying for peace, and a better outcome for the world.”
This plea turned into a prayer, and that prayer turned into a song.
“The idea to write the song ‘Pray For Peace’ came to me last year as I was walking on our place in Gallatin, Tn.,” McEntire posted on Facebook. “For days I’d sing, ‘Pray for Peace,’ over and over. It wasn’t until several months later did the other parts start to fall in place. Some, not until we got into the studio to record it.”
McEntire asked people from all over the world to submit videos of themselves, wherever they are, praying for peace. Short clips of these videos were featured in her new music video, which McEntire released online at reba.com.
“I feel this song is a gift from God. I have never worked on a song as long as this one.”
And yet, it’s uncertain of whether or not the song will be featured on a future album, or released on the radio.
“No record label knew what to do with it,” posted friend Ronnie Dunn on his Facebook page. According to Rolling Stone, Dunn worked with McEntire in the studio and “provided background vocals alongside a choir of singers.”
“It went from a bass drum, fiddle and singers to guest artist singing with me, adding more instruments and even a choir and a bagpipe!” McEntire said.
It’s an incredibly powerful, straightforward and simple song that repeats those three words, “Pray for Peace,” for almost two minutes before any other words are sung. And it’s exactly the kind of message that should be saturating the radio and going viral online.
I was lucky to open for Reba McEntire back in 2004 at the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah, with fellow Utah performers (including David Archuleta). She has always been someone I feel has represented good values and strong beliefs. She isn’t afraid of sharing her faith. And she is one heck of a good singer, songwriter, actress and entertainer as her 30-year career has proven. (And she can also sing the world’s fastest version of “Happy Birthday,” as my husband and I witnessed at a concert of hers when a fan screamed it was her birthday.)
I believe McEntire’s new song is inspired.
One of our dear neighbors recently lost their precious baby girl. She was 4 months old. Everyone has commented on how strong the parents are, how amazing they have been and how well they have coped.
And then I read a post the mother wrote online, how she can’t sleep. How she misses her daughter so much. How she cries and screams and asks why, as every parent who has lost a child does, from the deepest, most tender parts of their soul.
We have been praying for them. We pray for our nation’s leaders; for our local leaders, especially our Grandpa Gary. We pray for our friends. We pray for our teachers. We pray for our LDS missionaries, our cousins in the military, our aunts and uncles who maybe would rather we didn’t. I pray every night for my own children, my parents, my siblings and my husband. I pray for safety, for more love, for understanding.
I add my voice to McEntire’s and say I also strongly believe in the incredible power of prayer and the miracles it can bring. I believe it because I’ve seen it.
I believe in McEntire’s song, which she calls an act “of perseverance, prayer, hope, fellowship and mostly love.”
I am praying for and hoping for many things right now, but whatever the outcome, I pray for peace.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.