HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?                                                           written in 1956

The Story

In Southern Gospel music circles, Mosie Lister (1921-2015) was a legend. A Baptist minister, he was best known for writing the Gospel songs “Where No One Stands Alone”, “Till the Storm Passes By”, “Then I Met the Master” and “How Long Has It Been?”

Mosie was born into a musical family in Georgia, but he disappointed his family when it appeared he was tone-deaf. They instructed him in the violin, and he gradually learned to distinguish pitches. But, he wanted to do more than just tell the difference between pitches; he wanted to write songs.

Mosie came to fame as he worked with – and sang with – southern gospel quartets… arranging, writing, singing, and producing.

Mosie was concerned about so many people who had drifted away from the Lord. Once upon a time, they had told God they loved Him… but they hadn’t given God much thought in recent years. He thought about writing a song asking the question: “How long since you really prayed?”

He later said, “All of a sudden I realized this was what I needed to say. I just started writing as fast as I could.” In 10 minutes he had it finished. Within 5 more years, more than a million copies of this song in sheet music had been sold.

George Beverly Shea, Billy Graham’s soloist, often closed his concerts by singing this song.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – answer the questions it asks.

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
and told Him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed?
How long since you stayed on your knees till the light shone through?

How long has it been since your mind felt at ease?
How long since your heart knew no burden?
Can you call Him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?

How long has it been since you knelt by your bed
and prayed to the Lord up in Heaven?
How long since you knew that He’d answer you
and would keep you the long night through?

How long has it been since you woke with the dawn
and felt this day is worth living?
Can you call Him your friend?
How long has it been since you knew that He cared for you?

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