Born to Sing

Nancy's first choir
Nancy's first choir


OD HAD A DEFINITE plan for my life. He placed a song in my heart when He formed me in my mother’s womb. Along with His Word, music is the vehicle God has used to teach and guide me—training me for my life as an evangelist.

At age 18, I received a call from Evangelist Kenny Foreman asking me if I would be able to play the organ for the new church he had just started in Kansas City, Missouri. I had played the Hammond organ in one of Brother Foreman’s evangelistic meetings in Kansas City, Kansas.

His call came while I was on a trip to California with my friend Margie and her husband, Dale, to hear the famous Sky Pilot Choir and Doris Akers in Los Angeles. I had never heard a choir like this one. It was so inspiring and anointed.

When we arrived at the church on Sunday morning, the choir entered from the back of the auditorium and proceeded down every aisle, singing, “It’s a Highway to Heaven.” I was overwhelmed and began to weep as they marched forward. At that moment, God gave me an impartation, a birthing of a new gift into my spirit that I had never had before.

I knew when I left that day that I had to have my own choir sometime, somewhere. When I returned to Kansas City, I returned the call to Kenny Foreman and told him I would help them in the new church. So at age 19, in 1957, I started a choir at Calvary Temple with 28 members. Out of that number, only four or five could really sing, so I appointed three or four of them to be the leaders and teach the parts to the choir. Since I could sing every part, I would sing the tenor notes to the men (full volume). God was so faithful to protect my voice.

My First Piano

The church was just starting and could only pay me $50 per week, but I was elated beyond words. Just a few weeks later, I learned what it was to have a monthly bill of $50 coming out of my salary every month to pay for a new piano. This was the first instrument I owned.

Nancy at the Hammond organ
Nancy at the Hammond organ

Those were difficult years. Mom and Dad had divorced, and Dad had to pay $75 per month for child support. Mom’s health was not good, yet she was holding down a job at The Gospel Tract Society in Kansas City. We had to pay apartment rent, utilities, phone bill, food, clothing, and incidentals for Mom and me out of this $75 and what little Mom and I earned.

Mom and I were living by faith, believing God would take care of us—and He did. Miracle after miracle happened, revealing to me that when the dream I had of ministering through music matched the dream God had for me, I could depend on the assurance of His companionship along the way. Like the psalmist David said, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps. 37:25 NIV).

Compassion for Others

During my early years, the Lord gave me a gift of compassion for hurting people, not knowing where that compassion would lead me in the years to come. When the Holy Spirit placed someone on my heart, I would weep uncontrollably. One time in choir rehearsal, the prayer time turned into a prayer meeting. I was weeping for my choir and for souls.

While groaning in the Spirit, my mother came up to me, put her hand on my shoulder, and said, “Nancy, you cannot continue to cry like that. Please stop.” My eyes were swollen and my face was blood-red, but I could not stop. Falling to my knees, I groaned for souls. One of my members, Abel De Peralta, came over and placed his hand on my back as I continued to pray for my choir with such travail.

That type of petitioning worship was not rare for our church, nor our choir. The choir began to grow. They loved God so much and were not inhibited to praise Him with a loud voice, or weep, or shout in the aisles. We had “runners” too. The blessings I experienced created a foundation I have never turned from. I have high expectations of blessings and miracles when we come into His presence and the precious Holy Spirit begins to direct the services.

An Unusual Outpouring of the Spirit

One Sunday night our choir had been in the prayer room since 4:45 p.m. praying for the service when God’s glory came down. I left that upstairs room and came into the sanctuary at 5:45 to start the preservice music, as we always did. When I left upstairs, six-foot-tall guys were lying on their backs on the floor crying out to God, laughing in the Spirit, and speaking in tongues as the Spirit flowed.

I sat down at the organ and started the music. I looked to the back aisle and motioned to Brother Hirsch (the head usher) to have the choir get ready to march into the church, singing their regular song. He went upstairs and came back down, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “They are still out in the Spirit. What shall I do?”

“Go get them!” I said, but again, he came back saying they were all over the floor crying out to God.

I repeated, “Go get them now! Pastor Foreman wants to start on time.”

The next thing I saw was Brother Hirsch and others carrying in choir members and standing them against the wall in the back of the sanctuary. Those young people were swaying, falling on their knees, and laughing in the Spirit in the back of the church. What a sight!

Nancy with her Might Warriors group
Nancy with her Mighty Warriors group

The pastor looked at me and pointed to his watch with that certain look that said, Get the choir up here so we can start the service. But things were out of my control. That choir was in the Spirit. As I started playing “Victory in Jesus,” as I always did, I saw something happen I had never seen before.

The Woman in the Third Row

While the congregation started singing, the choir members were against the back wall. They had their hands raised and they were weeping. As they started down the aisles, passing each row, everyone on that row would stand up and start shouting praises to God. When the choir got to the third row of the church, a woman jumped to her feet and shouted, “Pastor, I’m healed! I’m healed!”

Pastor Foreman looked at me and came off the platform to see what had happened to the woman. The choir was still shouting in all the aisles. He tried to get things under control, but to no avail. Then he walked over to the woman, and with a voice loud enough to be heard above the noise of the praising choir, he asked, “What happened to you?”

“Oh, Pastor, look at my dress,” she exclaimed as she pulled out her dress so we could see it was very large on her stomach area. She explained she had a large, inoperable tumor that had swollen her stomach to the point that she had to increase her dress size by four sizes. She was told this tumor would take her life. When the choir reached her aisle, something popped loudly in her stomach, and her dress drooped and fell limply on her now flat stomach. Every pain had gone and she was healed instantly. No hand was laid on her body—only the divine hands of the risen Nazarene. Hallelujah!

The Lighthouse Mission

Until I started working at Calvary Temple, Mom and I would help every Friday and Saturday night at The Lighthouse Mission. On Sunday afternoon, I sang on their radio program. I would also help with the mission’s street meeting in the inner city.

Occasionally a drunk person would come to the mission, walk to the piano where I was playing, and say, “Hey, baby, could you sing ‘My Wild Irish Rose’ for me?”

“No, but I will sing you something more meaningful,” and I would start playing and singing “Amazing Grace.”

During this time, I saw a lot of demonic deliverances. Inebriated men would come crying to the altars and be sober within minutes. They became newborn when Jesus became their Lord and Savior—just like He did for me at 6 years old.

Remembering my 6-year-old heart crying to God in the altar, asking Him to save my daddy, brings back memories of how God gave me compassion for others in my early years, not knowing where that compassion would lead me in years to come. Only He knew the people He would reach through my music.

Nancy Harmon is a beloved songwriter, evangelist, mentor, and television personality. This article is taken from her Pathway Press book, Born to Sing.

From November, 2015