Country Throwback: George Jones Pays Tribute to His Mom with ‘If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again’

by Joe Rutland

It might be hard to see country music singer-songwriter George Jones as a lover of gospel music. But his heart, and his mother’s, was there.

Jones learned how to play the guitar while attending church with his mother, Clara. It set him up for success later on in life when he turned to play country songs.

Success and heartache are all part of Jones’ life story. He filled his life with alcohol, drugs, women, and everything that was taking him down a dark road.

In his later years, “The Possum,” as George Jones was nicknamed, turns his musical eyes back to gospel. His mother’s presence in his life, now only by memory for him, led him to sing non-country songs.

George Jones Puts Together ‘The Gospel Collection’

It was 2003 and Jones set down some religious-themed songs into an LP, “The Gospel Collection.” One of the songs on there was “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again,” a song recorded by many others including Loretta Lynn.

The song was written in the 1920s by John Whitfield “Whit” Vaughan. Its lyrics are rather simple, an ode to a person wanting to hear their mother pray one more time.

“How sweet and happy seem those days in which I dream
When memory recalls them now and then
And with what rapture sweet my weary heart would beat
If I could hear my mother pray again.

If I could hear my mother pray again
If I could hear her tender voice as then
How glad I would be it would mean so much to me
If I could hear my mother pray again”

When George Jones sings it, though, there’s a depth to it. He adds additional lyrics to the song as well. Jones truly loved his mother, who was a devout Christian woman and played the piano every Sunday at church.

It’s this love that comes through when Jones sings this song.

Jones Resurrects Broken Career In The 1980s

While George Jones had built up a successful music career in the 1960s and mid-1970s, he was hitting the skids. The guy from Southeast Texas got too caught up in the fast life. He was not dependable anymore, missing concerts, and earning the nickname “No Show Jones.”

In 1980, though, things began to change in his musical career. He had a hit in “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which spent a lot of time at the top of the country charts. That song, along with earlier hits like “The Race Is On,” resurrected Jones’s career and set himself back up for success.

Concert engagements and TV appearances started happening again for George Jones. It ultimately led him to get clean and sober, plus reconnect with his love for gospel music.

His mother would be proud of Jones’ road to redemption.

H/T: Country Rebel