I used to be that person who would pray for things that I wanted. I used it as my last resort and would feel the disappointment when things did not follow through. I would become upset, frustrated and quick to give up prayer. When people requested prayers, I would say it but forget to do it. I prayed with my family during dinner but majority of the time when it came to really praying, it wasn’t that true connection with Him. It was always to receive than give. We started going to South Bay Church in July 2016. As soon as we stepped into the building, we fell in love. During our first service, I broke down crying because my spiritual being was uplifted again and God was back in my life and most importantly in our lives. For the past years, He was missing. I was raised in a Catholic home before I married my husband, who became a Christian at the time we were dating. He also was raised Catholic but with his life of events, he never had faith.It was something he never felt deeply until his baptism in 2011. As a Catholic then, I didn’t understand why he had to get baptized because I had thought once you’re baptized, you’re baptized. But I supported him fully and it was a beautiful thing to witness. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. He was a new person then and you can see and feel it. A part of me said “I want that”. His strong faith in God was an inspiration to me and how his story shaped him to be who he is now.
During our years together, we actually struggled with our faith. God was there but we weren’t spiritually feeding ourselves with Him. Although, our kids both got baptized in a Catholic church, we just didn’t live up to our purpose as parents to solidify our faith and be examples to our children. Honestly, I was so set in my ways that since I was raised a Catholic, my children had to. We were trying to do two practices of faith in one home. I was afraid, because of how my family would react if I was practicing something else other than being a Catholic. This fear drove me to step away from God completely. When it came to the holidays and if invited, that was when we would attend church. We tried different churches and a part of me wasn’t spiritually there. The struggles of that fell through and for almost a year and half we didn’t attend church at all. We stopped praying. We stopped reading. We made excuses. We lost our spirit of faith. We lost our connection with God. I would tell my husband, we need to go to church again. It was a spark in our hearts but we were only saying it and not taking action to do it. One night I prayed to God to guide us in seeking Him again. The next day my sister came home in great spirits and told us, “Hey I found a church nearby home. You should come with me one day”. That very moment, I knew He answered my prayers. Our lives changed tremendously when we found our church for our family. This connection was not only within our family but it was within me. I started to feel this relationship with God and my vision became so clear. On December 11, 2016 I found what my husband had. I got baptized, again. But this baptism was for me and this reconnection that I had with God.I put my fear aside of being judged and did it for my family. Mainly, because deep down we needed Him. I needed Him.
He has allowed me to find new connections. He has brought a spiritual being in my children, that my son Landon looks forward to going to church every Sunday. He has allowed me to feel the power of prayer, and it wasn’t how I used to pray but praying to give it ALL to Him. Taking the time to talk to God in all things happening in my life. Thanking him for our blessings and for this reconnection I had. It was allowing me to seek Him in all things and speak into my heart.
Our church is currently in a 21 days pray first series, instead of praying at the end of the day we would start our day with a prayer and live it throughout. It’s amazing how God works and with this project as my word spoken, this whole week my husband and I have been living through prayer. We had lost our dad, (my father in law) due to cancer last week and it’s been so hard. I have both my parents, so I can’t imagine how he is feeling right now but we have been staying so strong through prayer. The day that our dad passed, we walked outside in the rain and sat down on a bench. I looked into his eyes and said, “let me pray for us”. As some may know, my husband leads best in prayer and God spoke to me to do it for him. Our foreheads touching, our hands intertwine, eyes closed... I began to pray. I prayed for healing, strength and the good times we had with dad. And thank God for welcoming him into His kingdom. My father in law had feared he wouldn’t make it to Heaven for all his sins he has done, but what I have learned during this time is that, once you surrender to God, He has you in His arms. He just waits for you to speak to Him. Before his passing, he was in so much pain that we barely saw a smile on his face, it was the day he passed that his face had this peaceful smile and that clearly showed us God was with Him.
During our prayer, we felt His power. During this process of “Pray First”, I stopped feeling disappointment when my prayers weren’t answer. It helped me realize that He was blessing me with other things and His plans were in the works. It wasn’t about what I wanted but knowing that if we trust Him, He will guide us in His path. He will allow us to find healing in hard times. He will bless us with peace. He will bless us fully. It was clear to know when I needed Him, that “Prayer is a personalized invitation", of knowing that I have an "immediate connection with the creator of the universe", no matter what (Pastor Andy Wood).
Take a moment to pray for all that you are holding. He will bless you, let Him speak to your heart. This song below, has moved me to start this blog to hang on His every word.
Song of Worship: Say The Word Published by Hillsong Music | Written by Joel Houston | Youtube by Air1 | Performed by United.