Gospel singer Lillie Knauls has been a part of the Assemblies of
God for more than 30 years. She has ministered in song at five General
Councils and will be part of the 2000 Celebration in Indianapolis
in August. Single at age 61, Lillie often speaks to groups about
the "gift of singleness." She recently spoke with Ashli
OConnell, assistant editor of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Evangel: Tell me about your religious background.
Knauls: My mom told me the first place I ever went in life
was church. I was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit at a very
young age. I joined the Assemblies of God more than 30 years ago
because it was so similar in doctrine to the church I grew up in.
I am pleased that, under the leadership of Brother Thomas Trask,
the Assemblies of God is redigging the wells of revival and rekindling
the fires of early Pentecost.
Evangel: When were you called to music ministry?
In the 1960s, I was working at the telephone company and singing
with a choir in the San Francisco Bay Area the Edwin Hawkins
Singers. We recorded an album that ended up No. 1 on the Billboard
charts for many weeks "Oh, Happy Day." Shortly
after that God called me to full-time music ministry. I hung up
on Ma Bell and have been traveling the world full-time for the past
24 years as a "musicianary."
During my farewell luncheon at the telephone company, God gave
me Matthew 6:26 as a promise that He would take care of me, and
He has done that.
Evangel: How do you maintain your personal relationship with
God as you travel the world?
Knauls: I spend time each day in prayer and continually
meditate on His Word as I listen to teaching and praise tapes and
ask the Holy Spirit to direct my steps. For He indeed has a plan
for my life according to Jeremiah 29:11.
Evangel: Did you always feel God called you to be single?
Knauls: No. I was engaged once, but began to feel the relationship
was not Gods will. I broke it off and started dating again.
After a while, I asked God to please give me my husband if it was
His will for me to be married. And if He wanted me to be single,
I asked Him to give me the gift of singleness. As time went by,
I felt it was Gods plan for me to have a season of singleness.
I have a very happy life.
Evangel: Is there anything youd like to say to our single
Knauls: One of the main challenges of living the single
life was the difficulty of letting my life be a witness for God
while coping with my human emotions such as loneliness, frustration
and anxiety. However, this has been conquered. I am now single and
satisfied. I challenge all singles to concentrate on the happiness
available right where they are. Please do not put off being happy
while waiting for that mate. Happiness is a gift from God himself
to both singles and married. First Corinthians 7:7 says that to
some He gives the gift of being happily single and to others the
gift of being married.
Evangel: How can the church better minister to singles?
Knauls: By not letting them be an isolated group. Especially
on holidays, singles should be included in family settings. I always
Evangel: What will be your involvement in the 2000 Celebration?
Knauls: I am so excited that I have been invited to participate
in the drama, The Touch Felt Round the World. Its the
story about the Azusa Street Revival in 1906-09. There was a Mrs.
Mattie Cummings who was an 8-year-old at the time she was healed
of deafness as the power of God moved mightily in that revival.
She told a friend of mine she remembered three songs that were sung
again and again "The Comforter Has Come," "Oh,
How I Love Jesus" and "Praise Him, Praise Him." I
will be singing "The Comforter
" along with a combined
choir and orchestra at the 2000 Celebration.