“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Prayer should be something we do daily. It should be this thing we constantly do to try and find a relationship with God. Personally, one prayer changed my whole life. It wasn’t thought about or rehearsed, it wasn’t sought after or even vaguely asked for, it just happened. Then, like a blast of wind, it knocked me down and changed my life.
One day, as I stood at my kitchen sink, I complained to a woman on the phone about my husband and life, then she asked me, “Can I pray with you?” I rolled my eyes as I said yes. I continued to wash dishes; that’s how very little I cared about what she was about to do. I gave zero $*!#s about what was going on. “God?“ I thought. “Where’s he been?” However, I didn’t want to be rude so I indulged her.
But no matter how loud the dishes may have been, she got a few sentences in and my knees buckled as I fell to the floor. Tears began just pouring out of my eyes as I tried to compose myself. Patrice kept going. She rebuked the enemy from my home, and I almost felt the door slam. I was overtaken. I was overwhelmed. I was thirsty. I said amen and she explained that the feelings I felt were The Holy Spirit….whoever that was.
I was raised to believe that God was vengeful and mean. He stole things from people and delighted in torturing human beings. So even when I did hear about God here and there as a child, it never really sounded appealing. It all sounded hard and exclusive and–frankly–not my cup of tea. By the time I got to high school, I was a full blown atheist. I’ve used my mouth to say very mean things about God, which is why I think it’s been so important to use my very same words to praise him and use his grace as glory and not honor.
At one point, I probably could have written chapters about how there was no God and no meaning to life. This is not that book. I’ve toggled back and forth with whether or not I’ve wanted to throw Jesus in every word and put myself in the category of “Christian writer,” but I think I’d much rather give the glory to God who gave me this talent with words to begin with. I feel like I’m circling.
Prayer has become very dear to me, as I literally went from a non-believer for 30 years to an adult who has a growing thirst for God. It was so abrupt and sudden, I almost couldn’t take it. On that same day I prayed with Patrice, I called my husband and told him what was going on and how we had to go to church that weekend. Her church. My husband was raised Catholic, and we had attended a mass here and there, but I honestly didn’t like it. My mom had always referenced Catholicism as being the religion that shunned her and her immigrant mother in the 1950s in their podunk town in Ohio. The media certainly never spoke positively of the Catholic Church, and I just didn’t understand it, really. Why are we standing? Why are we kneeling? Am I supposed to memorize all these prayers? What’s with the statues? Okay and we’re kneeling again… You get the picture.
I had little experience with God and only a bad opinion of Catholics. When I told my husband I wanted to go to Patrice’s church he was very receptive, but he asked me one favor: “Babe, can we try St. Gregory one more time? I’ll go to any church you want after this, but just one more time?” Now I was rolling my eyes at him. Obviously I needed to go to HER church. They apparently hand out the Holy Spirit there, and I want more of that, I think?! But because we are married, and technically that means we are one, I said okay….one more time.
That Sunday at St. Gregory was the same as praying with Patrice, but also much different. The priest leading the mass that day was Fr. Michael “Happy” Hoyer. Guys, he had a mic, and was walking back and forth and down off the stage area. He was engaging, and every word was breathtaking. He looked right at me once while he spoke. I’ll never forget it.
That Sunday, he spoke about RCIA, which is the Right to Christian Initiation. It’s the class you take to become Catholic. It’s where you learn about God to see if this is even something you want–a test drive, if you will. I wanted IN! The very next day I called the director of RCIA, Patricia. Is that crazy, or what? Patrice was over here making me fall down while we prayed, and Patricia was going to teach me all the God stuff.
The rest, as they say, is history. I was baptized at the Easter Vigil and became Catholic. From Atheist to Theist. Shortly after that, I began writing emails to women who I knew believed in God. From the emails sparked a great desire in me to spread God’s word, growing deeper and deeper into my faith, which has led here, right now. I’ve been writing for over five years. It began as an email to 40+ women, and now I am an actual published writer! Soon, I’ll finish my first book. I know–no–I FEEL like God has great plans for me, for my story. I intend to follow his light wherever it may lead. This future would never have been if God hadn’t left the 99 to find me at that kitchen sink.
Reality Changing Observations:
1. Have you found Jesus later in life? How did that change your life?
2. Where were you in life when you felt God for the first time?
3. How and when do you pray? What is your prayer life like?