Prayer is so important to me. I want friends that pray, I look for a guy that prays, and I love how much my family prays. I believe in a God that answers prayers.
Last summer, in 2013, I met a wonderful lady who was an author and a pastor at her church in California. We met her and attended her service on the beach. I was in awe of the service and the authenticity of the songs and the stories shared that day. Her voice was so convincing when she spoke. The story she told about how she came to know God was so inspiring I could’ve listened to it over and over.
Needless to say, I really respected this lady and looked up to her immensely. Then I heard her talk about this book she wrote called, “The Burning Heart Contract”. If you have not read this book, go buy it now and you’ll see how inspiring this woman is with her words.
She challenged me and many others to take this 30-day challenge. The challenge was to pray for an hour everyday and see how God transforms you over that 30-day period. An hour was a stretch for me while we were traveling for NTS camps that summer, but I wanted what she had. I wanted to pray like that.
So I, probably the youngest one accepting this challenge at 16 years old, committed to an hour of prayer everyday for the rest of my summer. That was the month of August, sunny and scorching. My family and I were in California for our last camp and for family vacation when camp was all over.
Those few weeks changed my life. My Bible became my close friend as I had my time alone with God and throughout my day. The words effected my prayers and how I viewed each day. Prayer became an easy conversation that I was privileged to have with the Lord for an hour of my day. I talked to Him but most importantly, He talked to me. I listened for a change.
God spoke so clearly to me about my youth group that summer and a change that was needed. I saw a need for something new and exciting for high schoolers at my church. We had a great program at church, but God was speaking to me about something else. There was a fire burning in my heart for this idea to start something, and it didn’t die. I was anxious and ready to go home during camp just so I could tell everyone what God was speaking to me about. But I couldn’t leave, so I prayed and prayed and prayed some more.
Prayer is so powerful because we are speaking to the God of the universe. Max Lucado’s quote is so true because its not about the words we say, but the God who hears it.
For me that summer, it wasn’t about my words at all. It was about listening. The time I had everyday set aside for prayer was for hearing what God wanted to do and speak through me when I got back home. The time I had everyday set aside for prayer equipped me for what I needed to do when I got back home. And let me tell you, I needed that because going home is not like summer camp where you’re surrounded by Christians encouraging you all day. Going home is always a journey, but being home is also a journey.
Time alone with God drew me closer to Him. When you grow closer to someone, you become more like them. I notice that after I hang with some of my good friends that I start talking like them and saying things that they said. It happens to all of us!
What if you worked on getting closer to Jesus and becoming more like Him? Saying the things that He would say and doing things that He would do… That takes prayer. That takes hours in His word; reading and studying and listening. We can’t just open up our Bibles once a week to read Jeremiah 29:11 or John 3:16. We know those verses. There is so much more to discover and so much more God wants to show you through His word and through prayer.
Be encouraged and go talk to God. He wants to listen. But you must remember, He also wants to speak to you. Will you be willing to listen?