When did I first utter a prayer to God? To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I kinda suppose it likely was as a child during a time of fear, such as with a thunder storm, but I really am not sure, yet I do remember often offering the “canned” prayer that I was taught, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Some people make fun of that prayer, but even as a child I related to it, and I offered it from my heart to God. But I am sure that by the time I was in my middle teens prayer began to be a regular thing. But that was only after the Holy One had for years been at work in me convincing me of certain things about Himself, myself, about eternal reward, and eternal judgment. At the age of fourteen I had become convinced that I was a sinner, and that my just penalty for being a sinner was eternal damnation. However, I also became convinced that God was love, and that because of His love for me (And for all men) Messiah had come into the world, and then ultimately became the payment (The LAMB OF GOD who was the sacrificial payment) for my sins. And that if I would simply humble myself crying out to Him for forgiveness and renewal that He would come to me, and forgive me, and make me new.
So, that is what I did, and true to form our Lord performed for me according to His promises. He caused me to be born again. I became a Christian. In fact, I became a completely new creation in Yeshua. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I cannot truly say that when I got saved I all of the sudden felt some great something, for I did not. There was no certain sense of the presence of God, and I cannot say that emotionally, or in any other way that I felt any different than before I made a public declaration of faith, but this I can say. Years later, thinking back on those early days as a Christian I remember that I really did believe, for those that had led me to make a public profession of faith told me that faith did not necessarily have feelings, and that irrespective of feelings God was to be trusted, and I must admit that this made sense to me. For I could perceive a good man being trustworthy, so why should I not be able to trust God in that same manner? I now believe that my ability to believe was proof in itself that God was with me, and in fact was in me. For it was the grace of God that enabled me to believe, and to continue my confession of Yeshua. (Who I then only knew by the name of Jesus)
It was this same grace which would continue to excite an effort in me to pray. I did not consciously decide to consider praying. Rather the grace of God by the Holy Spirit was at work in me convicting me, inviting me to seek Him in prayer. Yes, I did choose to pray, but only after the Holy Spirit incited me to pray. As a point of fact, the word enticed might even be a more actuate word to describe the Holy Spirit’s working in me in respect to prayer. I suppose prayer for me from the beginning, was kinda like breathing. I have breathed all my life, and obviously without breathing I could not have continued to live until this very day. Prayer has been like that, for the Holy Spirit caused me to recognize quite early on that without prayer I could not successfully live without offending Him, let alone thrive as a Christian. I prayed to stay alive. I prayed to survive. I prayed to overcome, to become, to have, and to possess, rather than to lose out, and even die.
I will honestly confess; I recognize that even today I pray for every much the same reasons. For I desire for both myself, and others whom I might interceded for, that they, as well as myself might live, overcome, and be full, and glorify God in our lives.
Beloved, we need all to recognize that the conviction of the Holy Spirit is the grace of God at work in our lives.
When I was sixteen years old my cousins who had been living in Colorado moved to Alaska. They began to witness to me of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I will admit that I cannot exactly explain what happened in me, but their testimony sparked a fire of desire in me that burned hotter and hotter, and did much to sponsor prayer in me. For the more I read certain books pertaining to the Holy Spirit’s baptism, and the testimony of the Scripture, the more my heart cried out to God.
It was during that period of time that when I came home from school I would do my chores and retreat out the door into and through the woods to an abandoned homestead field where there was a small knoll. It was on this knoll that I would stand daily with uplifted hands, thanking and praising God, and petitioning Him for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and other things.
And, true to form, the Holy One did answer my petitioning. It was February 4th, 1974, I was seventeen years old at the time. He did baptize me in the Holy Spirit, and with that experience I received the gift of a prayer language. IE, that of speaking in tongues, and I suppose that I can honestly say there have been very few days since then that I have not used this language to address the Holy One.
Way, Way, Way To Many Times Distracted
I am ashamed, and very sorry to say that this is the great bulk of most of my prayer testimony. Perhaps many will read this article hoping to hear of some great victory statement. Well, you will hear of some victory, but only mixed with a lot of distraction. (failure) Am I saying that through the years I have not prayed. NO, for I have prayed, but I have never successfully been able to surrender myself by faith to maintain an on-going prayer effort equal to what I felt I was called to do.
Even after I experience a rhema from God at the age of 36, which involved Isaiah 62:6-7, which was a super emphatic anointing of the Scripture instructing me in part, to pray. And I remember that rhema from God being very emphatic. None the less, I spent many years basically distracted by the cares of life, personal desires, personal wounds, etc, and did not give myself to the consistent application of prayer as I believe He was calling me to do. Actually I have experience four major rhemas from God, but I cannot say that ever did anything to merit even one of them, or that I have ever been wholly surrendered to fulfil them.
Yet, In Recent Months There Has Been A Greater Surrender To The Grace Of God
Lately, I find myself far more attentive to surrendering to the grace of God, and that has worked to sponsor prayer in me. Why? I think because He has been able to convince me that it is the only sensible thing to do:
- for I far more than ever in my life see the futility of natural life
- the reality that only what is done in Messiah will mean anything in the next life
- the reality that my life passes, so if I am ever going to get with it, and more fully fulfil God’s calling for my life, then it better be now
- the reality that our nation is being demoralized and destroyed right before our eyes, and except God intervene all hope for America as “one nation under God” will forever be gone
- the reality that millions will die outside of Messiah if they are not reached.
Somehow lately the grace of God has been able to convince me of these things more than ever before in my life, and that has caused a surrender to the grace of God, unto consistent, intelligent, earnest, and thoughtful prayer.
Let us surrender to the grace of God unto the fulfillment of the Biblical exhortation:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)
An American Watchman,
Gregory A DeHart