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Single and satisfied

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 O’Connell, 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?

Knauls: 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 God’s 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 God’s plan for me to have a season of singleness. I have a very happy life.

Evangel: Is there anything you’d like to say to our single readers?

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 have been.

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. It’s 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.


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