David’s calling was very unique. He was one of the greatest warriors who every lived and at the same time, one of the greatest musicians and singers. The two really don’t go together as far as outward observance is concerned. But yet, the Lord called David into both areas of service. We might say that the “Sweet Singer of Israel” acquitted himself admirably so. It was to David that The Lord gave direction as it regarded music and singing in the work of God. As far as we know, David originated the first choirs. He wrote over 75 songs (Psalms). In fact, the foundation of all music and singing, as it regards the worship of God, originated with David, at least as far as a human being is concerned. We know from what The Lord gave to David that music and singing constitute the highest form of worship and praise there is. We know this because The Holy Spirit delegated the greatest amount of space in The Bible to music and singing. I speak of the great book of Psalms. These 150 Psalms were written by The Holy Spirit and given to David and others. It is the longest book in the Bible.

The Barometer of the Church

One can say that as the music goes in a church, so goes its spirituality or lack thereof. Such can be called a barometer of our worship. Many times, at Family Worship Center, the singers will begin to sing a particular song, and the Spirit of God will fall over the audience. Hundreds of people will begin to worship the Lord, with, at times, the preacher being unable to preach. But yet, a message has been given in the words of a song. The message ministers to people, and it is intended by The Holy Spirit to minister. So, whenever something like this happens, and somebody says that there was no preaching, that’s not correct. There was preaching in the form of the song, in the words which touched the hearts of the people. Music that’s anointed by The Holy Spirit serves perhaps as the greatest encouragement given by The Lord. If every believer will stop and think, there have been times when The Lord used a song to encourage, to inspire, to tender faith, etc.

A Personal Experience

This little experience that I will relate could be multiplied many many times over because The Lord has used songs in my own life and heart countless times to encourage me when I needed it the most. This is just one of those times. Under the direction of The Holy Spirit, we had just begun the SonLife Radio Network. At that time, we had, at most, three or four stations. We were having terrible problems with our largest station, with it going off the air almost every day. There was no radio engineer in that particular city where the station was located. Therefore, we would have to send one all the way from Baton Rouge. It was quite expensive, especially considering that we didn’t have any money. On the particular morning in question, I was on the air with our morning program, “A Study in the Word.” As soon as the program ended, the man who worked closest with me in radio said, “Brother Swaggart, Atlanta, Texas is off the air again.” I knew we would have to send an engineer all the way to that city, a distance of several hundreds of miles, to get the station back on the air. This was the seventh or eighth time it had malfunctioned. I left the studio that morning very heavy hearted. Due to the fact of having no money and not knowing how we would pay the engineer, I was somewhat discouraged.

Jesus is the One

I left the studio and drove up to McDonald’s to get something for breakfast. My car radio was on the Baton Rouge station. As I pulled up to the speaker to give the order, a song began to come forth, “Jesus is the One. Yes, He’s the only One. Let Him have His way until the day is done. When He speaks to you, know the dark clouds will have to go just because He loves you so.” In the intervening years, I had sung that old song half a thousand times. In fact, I played the piano for my mother to sing that song when I was but a young boy. Needless to say, The Lord used it that morning in a most beautiful way. All of a sudden, as the car filled with the words of that song, the presence of God filled the interior of the car and filled my heart. Let me quickly state this, there is absolutely nothing like the presence of God. I have never drunk alcohol, I’ve never taken any drugs, and I don’t know what that does. However, I do know that the presence of God is such that there is absolutely nothing in the world like it. That, I believe and know. Satan may try to imitate it, but that’s the best he can do. As I sat there behind the wheel of the car with tears rolling down my face and the presence of God filling my soul, all of a sudden, I knew that The Lord was telling this discouraged preacher, “All is well. I will take care of everything.” And that He did. As I dictate these notes regarding radio, the ministry owns 78 radio stations scattered all over the nation. As well, we operate the SonLife Broadcasting Network, which is televising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are now televising in well over 100 million homes around the world, with 65 million of those homes in the USA and some 14 million in the United Kingdom. As well, by satellite, we cover much of the world. In a moment’s time, the consternation was gone, the care was gone, and the anxiety was gone because of The Lord using a song as He has done countless times.

Satan and Music

It is quite possible that before the fall of lucifer, he was in charge of the music of Heaven. The Scripture says of him, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created” (Ezekiel 28:13). “The workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes” has to do with music. There is every indication that Lucifer’s leadership had something to do with the worship of God. As well, he is called “…O Lucifer, son of the morning …” (Isaiah 14:12). When the earth was originally created, the Scripture says, “…the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4-7). So, if the idiom, “son of the morning” can be linked to the “morning stars”, these passages tell us that lucifer, before his fall, was greatly used in leading the worship of God, which had to do with music and singing. This is the reason that satan has done everything within his power to corrupt the music of the world and as well, to corrupt the music of the church above all. Regrettably and sadly, he has been very successful.


Some of the music that is rendered in churches presently has its origin in the power of darkness. In other words, these particular churches, and many, if not most, fall into this category, are literally worshiping the devil. Let me explain. A lot of these rap artists and others claim to be Christian and appear in churches etc., they are quick to say that their inspiration comes from rock and rap groups, who openly promote in their songs murder, incest, idolatry, fornication, homosexuality, and about every filth that one could begin to imagine. And yet, these so-called Christian groups are quick to state that their inspiration comes from these individuals, which, in effect, means that it comes from satan. Understanding that, how in the world could preachers advocate such in their churches, promoting such to the young people and to their people as a whole? The well from which the water is drawn speaks volumes. One cannot get his inspiration from the devil and then, all of a sudden, it is from God. No! It doesn’t change. And now I am told that in some churches, they are leaving off all pretense and singing songs which are of the world without changing the words. Yes, satan has been very successful at perverting the music of the church. Nevertheless, music and singing which are anointed by The Holy Spirit, as little as it is, still blesses individuals and lifts them up above the shadows and plants their feet on higher ground.

David’s Music

The Scripture says, “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul (meaning that The Lord allowed the evil spirit come upon the king), that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (1 Samuel 16:23). When we read this verse, we are actually reading the very first mention of God’s use of music for worship, for refreshing, and for healing. In fact, music is one of the greatest healing agents on the earth and is derived from the 23rd verse, “so Saul was refreshed, and was well.” However, for such to be, it has to be music that is ordained by The Lord and, thereby, sanctified by The Spirit. When I was eight years of age, I asked The Lord to give me the talent to play the piano. I promised Him that I would not use it in the world but always for his glory. Even though I was only eight years of age, still, The Lord heard my prayer and answered accordingly. Yes, I had to learn, and I didn’t learn overnight, but what talent I have, The Lord gave to me. As well, The Lord has helped us to touch the world though our music, for which we give Him all the praise and all the glory. As well as the talent to play the piano, The Lord gave me that for which I really did not ask, and that is an understanding of music as to what is desired by The Holy Spirit. As its music goes out all over the world, over radio, television, and the internet, Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge is noted for the moving and operation of The Holy Spirit in the songs that we tender to the people. I believe I can say without fear of contradiction that the music and the singing of our evangelistic efforts is just as important as every other aspect of this ministry. How many letters and emails have we received from individuals who have been blessed, stirred, encouraged, and yes, even healed by the power of God when one of the songs was playing over the radio, television, or the internet. I emphasize again, it must be music that is touched by The Lord, which means it is anointed by The Holy Spirit. To be sure, The Lord is not going to anoint music where the words carry no meaning whatsoever and most of the time, are unscriptural. The Lord will anoint that alone which is Scriptural, and which glorifies Himself. We learn from David playing for Saul that evil spirits could not stay to cause their destruction and hurt as long as David was playing the great songs of glory, no doubt Psalms, which The Lord had given him. With some of the music that’s going out of many of these churches presently, instead of it driving away evil spirits, it is having the opposite affect. It’s calling evil spirits on the scene, which cause untold problems for those who are unfortunate enough to be in the presence of such evil. Yes, music and singing constitutes a barometer of what the church actually is or isn’t. If the music is anointed by The Holy Spirit, that shows deep spirituality, otherwise, it shows the opposite. As stated, David wrote over 75 Psalms, i.e., songs. Actually, they were written by The Holy Spirit and given to David and others. Of all that he wrote, in my estimation, the 23rd Psalm is at least one of if not the greatest.

Psalm 23

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want (even though this beautiful psalm applied to David and to all believers as well, more than all, it applied to Christ. Only one voice sang this Psalm in perfect tune; it was the voice of Jesus. When walking through the dark valley of His earthly life, Jehovah was Christ’s shepherd. There is no suggestion of sin in the Psalm. Its great theme is not so much what Jehovah gives or does as What or Who He is. And yet, at the same time, as Christ presents Himself as the Sheep, He is also presented as the Great Shepherd of His people, for He was raised from the dead in order to be such [Hebrews 13:20]).

Green Pastures

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (any other voice that is followed will lead only to barren pastures): he leadeth me beside the still waters (the 23rd Psalm makes it abundantly clear that the church is not the savior, neither is religious hierarchy the savior, neither are rules and regulations the savior; only The Lord is the Savior. We can follow Him, or we can follow other things. We cannot follow both).


“He restoreth my soul (when the sheep skinned their foreheads foraging for grass, the shepherd would pour oil over the wounds): he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake (at times, the lamb will leave the pointed path, even doing so several times, being retrieved each time by the shepherd. But if the lamb leaves too many times, the shepherd, upon retrieving it from the rocky crevices, will take his staff and break one of the legs. The shepherd then carefully “sets the leg” and then lays the lamb on his shoulders, close to his heart. He carries the lamb until the wound is healed. That is a symbol of chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11).


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil (the powers of darkness constituting powerful attacks by satan): for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (the ideal position for the “lamb” is to allow the shepherd to fight for him. In fact, the only fight we are told to fight is the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). What a comfort it is to know that the “rod” and the “staff” are constantly beating back the powers of darkness on our behalf).

The Anointing

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies (and these “enemies” cannot touch this “prepared table”): thou anointest my head with oil (a type of The Holy Spirit. At times the sheep will skin its forehead foraging for grass. The shepherd then pours oil over the wound, which acts as a healing agent); my cup runneth over (a figure of speech that refers to abundance).

Goodness and Mercy

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (“goodness” gives us green pastures and still waters; “mercy” retrieves us when we foolishly leave the “paths of righteousness”): and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (as long as The Lord is our Shepherd, we can expect all of this “all the days of our lives”) (Psalm 23:1-6).

My Lord is Able

Every afternoon, when coming from the office, I spend a little time with The Lord in prayer. As I was thanking Him for the many blessings that He is giving us and continues to do so, something came to my mind that had transpired over 50 years ago. Going back to that time, once again, I was in prayer. If I remember correctly, it was 1957. Francis and I were just beginning an evangelistic work. Donny was either three or four years old. At that time, we lived in a little backwater town in northeast Louisiana by the name of Wisner. My dad had built the church in that community some years before, so this was our home at the time. I was trying to get started in evangelistic work, which I felt The Lord had called us to do. To be sure, it was not easy. As I went to prayer that afternoon, I was discouraged to say the least. I was seeking The Lord as it regarded the particulars of what I believed He had called me to do and that He would open doors. At a particular given point in my supplication before The Lord, The Lord, of course, knowing my thoughts, brought to my mind a little chorus that we had just learned a few weeks earlier. I began to quote it, and the Spirit of God covered me, in fact, so much that I remember it unto this hour. The words of the song are:

My Lord is able, He is able,

I know, I know that He is able.

I know My Lord is able

To carry me through.

My Lord is able, He is able,

I know, I know that He is able.

I know My Lord is able

To carry me through.

He has healed the brokenhearted,

Made the blind to see,

Healed the sick and raised the dead,

And walked upon the sea.

My Lord is able, He is able,

I know, I know that He is able.

I know My Lord is able

To carry me through.

As I sat there on the floor those many years ago, with tears rolling down my face, I knew that The Lord was telling me that, irrespective as to the way things looked, He was able to do whatever was needed. Bringing it back up to the present, as I was praying yesterday afternoon, all of those thoughts came to mind. I was wondering as to how we could get started, and now, by the grace of God, we are touching the world through television 24 hours a day, radio in the same vein, and the internet. I can surely say from long years of experience that The Lord is able. As well, He used a song to make Himself real to me and to let me know beyond a shadow of a doubt what He is able to do. We must give credit to David, the “Sweet Singer of Israel,” for him allowing The Lord to use him in the realm of music. Because of that, untold millions have been blessed so abundantly, for which we give The Lord all the praise and all the glory.

Rejoice, The Lord is King,

Your Lord and King adore.

Rejoice, give thanks and sing

And triumph ever more.

Jesus, the Savior reigns,

The God of truth and love.

When He had purged our stains,

He took His seat above.

His kingdom cannot fail,

He rules over earth and heaven.

The keys of death and hell

Are to our Jesus given

Rejoice in glorious hope,

Our Lord the judge shall come

And take His servants up

To their eternal home.