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How praying has changed my life – by John P.

I began my journey with God in 1978 and have always strived to walk closely with Him.  I have zealously read and memorized the Bible, searching for answers to my weaknesses so I could serve God more effectively.  I have read the New Testament completely through in 19 translations, memorized and quoted the book of James, memorized over a 1000 other verses, listened to thousands of sermons in my car on my iPod, was enrolled in a correspondence Bible school for 2 years, travelled many hundreds of miles to conferences so I could be changed, spent many hours with Christian counselors, been prayed over for inner healing and deliverance, read countless books, was a Sunday School teacher, a worship leader at a church (and I can’t even sing!), and more,  in order to become a better Christian.

I did grow and change but I always felt like I was still falling short – that I still wasn’t good enough.  Then, in the spring of 2010 I made a commitment to step up my Bible reading and to also pray for at least 10 minutes straight every day.  I developed a plan called The 360 Challenge to motivate and keep me progressing. Of course, the reason for this daily spiritual discipline was to change me into a better Christian.  At the time I didn’t realize that my secret goal was to become a good enough boy that my Heavenly Father would accept.

As I dutifully prayed every day (and journaled about half of the time) I began to enjoy spending time with God!  Yes, it was something I still I “had” to do every day because of this commitment I had made but there was something more intimate about spending time with Him than just reading His Word or hearing sermons.  I began to hear the beating of His Heart.  I began to become more aware of how much He really loves me, not because of my character but because of His.

I have been attending the prayer times at Grace on Monday nights and that has been a tremendous blessing to me.  Praying with these godly men and women is a real privilege and joy.  On December 13 I lost my job.  I was devastated and wanted to go into a coma to escape the pain. Being a Monday, I went to the prayer walk at Grace.  I got there late and there was only one person there.  I told him what had happened and he put his arm around me and prayed for me from his heart.  Many people will lift up a short prayer for someone in need but this dear brother prayed for me for the next 45 minutes!  Not long after he started praying for me another man came in, and not really knowing what was going on, he sat down behind me, laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed his heart out for the next 30 minutes.  The details of what happened that night during this prayer time would take too long to put here but suffice it to say I truly encountered Jesus and was completely blown away by the demonstration of His love through these men.

I have been on this 32+ year journey of trying to be accepted by God.  The journey is over.  I am accepted.