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The Crown of Music: God used music, prayers of departed senior saint who suffered from dementia

TULSA—When Cynthia Briscoe, member of Tulsa, South Tulsa, takes time to think of her father Stan Brassfield, who died at 92 years of age in July 2017 after battling dementia, she thinks of at least two things: his singing and his prayers.

The Lord used both to bless Cynthia, her family and many other friends and acquaintances during his life and since his passing.

“Dad was saved when he was 13. In school he got good grades, but he got a D in public speaking,” Cynthia said. “That is why it’s so surprising and amazing that God would use his singing through the years.”

Stan was a CPA by profession and always active in church. She recalled, “A minister of music (in Texas) first encouraged him in using his beautiful tenor voice in quartets years ago. He sang his first solo at First Baptist Austin (Texas), after marrying my mother (Jane), he then performed many other solos in church at First Baptist Tulsa, which was their church for more than 60 years.”

Cynthia Briscoe, left, stands with her father Stan Brassfield, along with Stan’s son Kirk Brassfield and Kirk’s wife Debbie. Stan’s prolific music and prayers prior to his passing away became an inspiration to many.
Photo: Provided

Stan joined Tulsa, South Tulsa around the same time as Cynthia and her husband Bill, who have five children and 11 grandchildren. Stan’s wife died in 2009, and as Cynthia shared, “Dad lived life independently at Inverness Village (in Tulsa) until his 90th birthday. He led hymns in worship services in two different areas and sometimes three for a number of years. At the suggestion of his lady friend, we made a CD of Dad, singing 17 favorite hymns and anthems (when he was) close to the age of 90. He also loved to exercise and was often heard singing his favorite song, ‘The Holy City,’ while taking long early morning walks.”

As time went by, health issues mounted, including dementia, which caused Stan to be moved to the Memory Support unit at Inverness. “His dementia started challenging him during about the last four years of his life,” Cynthia said. “His memory loss and confusion accelerated more over the next two years. He led hymns in two of the services a few more months until he broke his wrist and had an increase in balance issues. In October 2016, Dad was hospitalized for a full week with pneumonia.”

Cynthia described her father’s return home after his hospital visit. “He was disoriented,” she remembered, “even challenged to locate the arms of the wheelchair to push off of when standing. I suggested that he pray.  His prayer surprised me greatly. In the midst of his confusion and exhaustion, he praised God for His knowledge, power and strength. Then he asked God to expand his knowledge, help him to put God first and walk with Him in all his ways.”

A copious notes taker, Cynthia decided to start audio recording his prayers on her phone.

“Help us remember that You are the almighty, all powerful, everlasting God,” her father prayed. “Your are the One that reigns over heaven and earth. Help us always remember we are Your people and You have all power and fulfill all the services we need. God stands by to help us!”

“Truly God answered his prayer for expanded knowledge, and it was imparted through his prayers,” she said. “Over the next nine months, his conversation with God became much richer than his conversation with man as he entered a new dimension in his prayer life.

“As my dad was accelerating into greater disorientation, with confusion, especially those last nine months, that the physical and mental deteriorated, the spiritual renewal came. I felt like the dementia would lift as he entered into a higher plane when he communed with God, like Jesus praying in John 17. I think God was taking my dad into the heavenly plane.”

Cynthia and her children and family continue to be blessed by the music recordings and prayer notes left behind. Since his passing, the Briscoes have compiled a CD of Stan’s music, sending them to family and friends, along with some of his written prayers. Cynthia believes the prayers of her dad have been a blessing to the family and friends and others.

Cynthia believes the Bible promise that God’s strength is made perfect and shown best through weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

“God made Dad stronger in prayer and through music,” she said. “I believe God can do that with anyone with any kind of disability or whatever they are going through.”

Though only recordings of his music and prayers remain on earth, Cynthia believes her father’s legacy lives on. Further, she believes Stan is now part of the heavenly choir.

“One of my prayers was that God would allow him to keep singing until he was called to the ‘heavenly choir.’ I believe the Lord answered my prayers.”

By God’s grace, Stan and anyone who puts their faith and trust in Christ can know firsthand the joy of salvation, and receive a “heavenly crown of music.”

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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