~ A Perfect Heart ~
By Lindsay Terry From the book Stories Behind 50 Southern Gospel Favorites Volume 1
The Little Lake Song
With my whole heart have I sought thee:
O let me not wander from Thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart,
That I might not sin against Thee.
What a thrill for Dony and Reba Rambo-McGuire! They arrived at a large gathering in Zimbabwe, Africa, where thousands of happy Christians sang one of their beautiful songs, first in their native language and then in charming, heavily accented English. Reba reports, “I was so moved that I was reduced to an emotional basket case for a few moments.” That song, “A Perfect Heart,” was born several years before on Center Hill Lake, near Nashville, Tennessee…
The story behind “A Perfect Heart” begins when friends invited the McGuires to vacation with them on their houseboat on a lake near Nashville. They had determined to work diligently on their songwriting during that time, and they did so. They prayed earnestly that the Lord would do something special through them that week. At the end of the week they had completed a number of songs and done some work on a musical. Reba tells the story.
“On the very last morning we were to be on the boat, Dony got up very early to try to catch a catfish for breakfast. He’s an early riser. I was so full of faith in his fishing ability that I proceeded to the kitchen and started to cook bacon and eggs.
“The sun was peeking over the hills and a mist was rising from the water. It was a glorious morning. I looked out of a small porthole and caught a glimpse of Dony with a strange look on his face. Some people come down with a cold, while Dony comes down with a song! I couldn’t explain it, but I knew something good was about to happen. I turned off the burners where I was cooking and removed the food. I gathered our songwriting materials and sat down to wait for him to come in.
“When he came in a few minutes later, he sat down before a small electric piano and began to play. As he played what the Lord was giving to him, I began to write lyrics as they were being given to me. That kind of inspiration had only occurred a few times in our short songwriting career together. It was as if God was saying, ‘You’ve been faithful in your praying and studying for a week, now I’m going to give you something just because I have the power to do so.’ I wrote as fast as I could write while Dony continued to play. We both completed the whole composition and have never changed a word or the musical setting.
“It became our ‘little lake song.’ We used it for a time around our offices as a devotional song and sang it at a few small churches. One day Bill Gaither came by our offices and heard us singing it during one of our devotional periods. He asked where we got it. We told him it was our ‘lake song.’ He expressed such a keen interest in it that Dony made a tape of it for him. That started it on its way.”
And so, several years later, halfway around the world in Zimbabwe, the McGuires heard their “little lake song” being sung by the great host of Africans gathered there.
Morning sun light of creation
Grassy fields of velvet floor
Silver clouds a shimmering curtain
He’s designed a perfect world
I’m amazed at His talents
I stand in awe of one so great
Now my soul begins to sing out
To the source from which it came
Bless the Lord who reigns with beauty
Bless the Lord who reigns with wisdom and with power
Bless the Lord who reigns my life with so much love
He can make a perfect heart
Praise the Lord who reigns in beauty
Praise the Lord who reigns with wisdom and with power
Praise the Lord who reigns my life with so much love
He can make a perfect heart
Lyrics and Music by Reba Rambo-McGuire & Dony McGuire
Copyright 1980 Bud John Songs Inc/ASCAP, Makanume Music/ASCAP, Ooh’s And Ah’s Music/ASCAP
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