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Book showcases Loretta Lynn’s faith and unreleased music


With the possible exception of football, the Churches of Christ have contributed a larger number of their most notable celebrities to the world of country music than any other pursuit. Yet even in this crowded field, which includes luminaries like Dolly Parton and Randy Travis, Loretta Lynn stood out for the magnitude of her career and the force of her personality.

Loretta Lynn and Kim McLean. “A Song and a Prayer: 30 Devotions Inspired by My FavoriteSongs” Worthy Books. 2023. 208 pages. $24.00.

Loretta Lynn and Kim McLean. “A Song and a Prayer: 30 Devotions Inspired by My Favorite Songs” Worthy Books. 2023. 208 pages. $24.00.

The late singer of hits like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and the Conway Twitty duet “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” had, not long before her death in October 2022, worked with Nashville-area pastor and musician Kim McLean to create a set of devotional readings “inspired,” as the book’s subtitle indicates, “by my favorite songs.”

The entries in “A Song and a Prayer: 30 Devotions Inspired by My Favorite Songs” follow a consistent format, making the volume readily accessible and easy to use as the basis for a solo, family or group daily devotional practice. Each chapter includes a selection from Scripture, a brief (roughly two pages long) devotional thought, a prayer and the song lyrics that inspired the day’s message.

McLean notes in the introduction that “a sad country song is its own kind of prayer,” and a number of the selections do fall into that category. But there is more variety here than one might expect.

Sixteen of the songs come from Lynn’s back catalog, while eight originated with the songwriting sessions that helped lead to the book’s creation. Five of the other six entries spotlight classic hymns, and one takes as its subject the Lord’s Prayer.

Loretta Lynn discusses her decision to be baptized in her 1976 autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which became the basis for an Oscar-winning film.

Loretta Lynn discusses her decision to be baptized in her 1976 autobiography “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” which became the basis for an Oscar-winning film.

A few key themes run through the month’s worth of devotionals — the presence of God during times of difficulty and the importance of prayer among them — though the thoughts range across many different topics, including patriotism and country music culture.

The book as a whole is credited to both women, but Lynn’s voice is the more apparent in the devotional messages themselves. She speaks in several places of her friendships and collaborations with other country musicians, as well as of her nearly 50-year marriage to Oliver “Doo” Lynn.


Related: Loretta Lynn ‘was serious about her faith and a devout member of the church’


“Me and Doo got married young and we both had so much to learn about life, ourselves, and each other,” Lynn reminisces in a devotional on Ephesians 5:28. “Marriage is about serving one another. It’s about love and respect for each other.”

Some songs lend themselves to spiritual insights more readily than others, and there are several Lynn fan favorites that did not make the cut — the itinerary does not include a trip to “Fist City,” for instance.

Most of the songs co-written by Lynn and McLean were previously unreleased — 10 of them are included in McLean’s recent album also called “A Song and a Prayer,” which came out Aug. 25 — meaning that readers will not have any prior connection to a number of the featured tracks.

Still, Christians looking for spiritual encouragement, country music fans eager for a final word from one of the all-time greats, and members of Churches of Christ with an interest in their fellowship’s pop culture connections will enjoy the book and benefit from its wisdom.

JOHN YOUNG is an associate professor in the Turner School of Theology at Amridge University and runs the “Church of Christ Celebrities” blog.

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Filed under: A Song and a Prayer Christian musicians Church of Christ celebrities country music devotionals Features Kim McLean Loretta Lynn National Reviews Top Stories

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