As a child, prayer was more like a burden than anything else. I didn’t get much out of it. It was a chore and I was afraid that if I didn’t pray I wouldn’t go to Heaven. That didn’t stop me from skipping prayer most days. I prayed the same prayer every time. It was as if I played a recording and as long as I did I was fine. I wasn’t fine. Prayer did nothing for me but it kept me in a net of guilt and mental manipulation. I was a fish in a sea of confusion and prayer caught me. This lasted for years until the Lord caught me in His net of love and I was set free. I was released from all the shame, the guilt and the mental trauma. Prayer became a relief. It became a place of peace, a place of bliss, a place of worship. I got closer to God and He got closer to me. He was never far but when I accepted Him into my heart and I confessed that I was nothing without Him, my prayer life changed completely.
Jesus became my religion so to speak. He opened my eyes to His love that had no limits and to His power of forgiveness. I learned about the cross. I learned about redemption and above all I learned about His love. I wanted to spend time with Him all the time. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with someone who loves them unconditionally? I was determined to set time aside for Him even though I knew He was always there. I loved how Jesus took the time to isolate Himself and to pray every day. I did the same thing. Prayer became my place of isolation that led to association. I was associated with God. I knew I was part of His family and as a child of God I wanted to talk to my Father and listen to Him as often as I could.
My prayer ritual didn’t feel like a mundane ritual. It was a lifestyle. It was my way of living and it was how I loved to style my life. Prayer was my daily love letter to God read from the heart. God has this amazing love letter to us, His Word and I enjoyed replying to it. My love letter always started with praise. When you love someone you like telling them how wonderful they are. Jesus was becoming my favorite Person and I made it a point to let Him know that. Praise and worship at the start of my prayers made a big impact on how I prayed. They allowed me to flow with the Holy Spirit. I had heard of flowing with the Spirit and I didn’t know what it meant until praise was part of my daily celebration. I saw prayer as a celebration and not as a somber ceremony like it used to be. Jesus died and rose again and every day I celebrated His resurrection.
The Lord inhabits our praises and when we praise He shows up. I had amazing experiences during praise time. The most noticeable ones were the strong peace and the joy that invaded my soul and that captured my spirit. The Holy Spirit ignited something in me that had never happened to me before. It happened day after day and I got deeper into this wonderful place of adoration until I felt at home and I had this constant connection with the Lord. I have continued to pray with the help of the Holy Spirit. I rely on Him and I depend on Him. Praise is still the gateway that gets me into prayer. I still flow with the Spirit. I am more of a listener now and I take notes of God’s goodness, of His love, of the hope He gives and His peace and love. Prayer is my favorite part of the day and I pray that it is yours as well! There is tremendous power when we pray and that power will change your day every day!
Suggested reading: Psalm 107: 28-30; Mark 9:29; Ephesians 6:18; 1 John 5:14