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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

By Shannon Woodland and Scott Ross
The 700 Club He’s at it again. The man known as “Smitty” to millions the world over has released another winner. Michael W. Smith’s 17th album, Healing Rain, debuted at No.11 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. After two successful decades in the music business, and numerous Dove and Grammy awards, you’d think Smitty would be pretty impressed with himself. Think again.

Scott Ross recently visited Michael to learn more about the songwriter's heart.

SCOTT ROSS: How do you live worship?

MICHAEL W. SMITH: I think it all comes down to relationships -- how I treat my wife, how I treat my kids, how I treat the guys at the grocery store, all aspects of every day, what I'm involved in. For some reason, we've attached this worship phrase to all of that, but we forgot about the second greatest commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself. That's an act of worship. I continue to remind people it's bigger than just singing 'Open the Eyes of My Heart.'

ROSS: I understand that the president of the United States asked you to write a song?

SMITH: He did.

ROSS: Mr. Smith, I’d like you to write a song?

SMITH: Well, it’s so funny because he calls me 'W'. When he sees me, he says, 'There’s the real W.' We kind of kid around with that. It was six weeks after 9/11, and we were sitting in the Oval Office with him and we were talking about what went down.

ROSS: OK, wait a minute. This goes flying by. I have to stop. We were sitting in the Oval Office together?


ROSS: Where are you from?

SMITH: I’m a little runt from West Virginia.

ROSS: Here I am, Mr. President and me sitting in the Oval Office. That’s pretty heady stuff.

Michael W. Smith and  George W. Bush SMITH: I can’t explain it. I have no idea why I got picked. I know I’m in his life for more than shooting the breeze.

ROSS: As a friend, a confidant?

SMITH: Yeah, I pray with him, I pray over him, I send him from time to time encouraging e-mails.

ROSS: So you’re walking in some pretty big shoes?

SMITH: I guess I am.

ROSS (reporting): It’s been 22 years since Smitty hit the music scene with his first album. So what’s in the works for him now? Believe it or not, it’s something that’s been in his blood for years.

SMITH: This fall I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm starring in a film, an independent film.

ROSS: You're doing acting?

SMITH: I'm going to act. It's been in my blood for years, but I only said I'd do something if the script were redemptive, so I'm shooting what's called The Second Chance, acting in the film.

ROSS (reporting): Smitty’s done it all. So what’s the bottom line for this man who has the ear of the president of the United States?

SMITH: I’ve been there and done all that, sold millions of records, and that doesn’t bring you peace. It doesn’t bring you peace. In terms of my headspace and me spiritually, I’m probably in a better place than I ever have been. I’m on the journey like everybody, but I’m focused. I know where my strength comes from, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Michael W. Smith.

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