The first time I encountered Audrey Assad‘s prayer through music, I was stunned silent. It was during an August sunset, and she was only a guest appearance during Matt Maher‘s charity concert. Before this point, she was only an unknown backup vocalist… but when she started singing her Restless… nobody wanted her to be merely a backup anymore.
Yesterday night I had the chance to see Audrey again on her final tour. So much of it felt like a reunion of sorts, but I also noticed and appreciated the beautiful and subtle ways she has changed since 2010’s experience.
She was not center stage this time — not even close! She put herself off to the side, and made sure icons and masterpieces of the Faith were our focus. The artwork would appear distorted at first, and only gradually become recognizable as we prayed with Audrey through song.
And she didn’t just sing, but she led us in prayer. She moved away from the mic and would let us take over — hinting to us that our voice is beautiful too. We needed to pray while she hushed.
And hushed… and hushed until she backed away from stage, unknown to us. She left us praying and praising Christ at the end, herself decreased to the point of absence, Himself increased to the point of sole presence.
It was clear she wanted to remind us that we were gathered there for Jesus — not for anyone else, not for her. Even after the whole show, she was nowhere to be found, because she wanted us to find Christ instead.
And I think a lot of us did find Him.
As my brother seminarians and I drove home after, we prayed and praised God the whole way. I really don’t think the other fans were doing anything different either as they went home that night.
Thank you, Audrey [and Bellarive!] — may Mary keep you and your beloveds close to her Son’s Sacred Heart always.
Lastly, check out this post for how to move to Audrey’s You Speak… yes, you read right: move. As in dance. With me.